This time, Marshawn Lynch apparently means it.
Lynch, who threatened to hold out during Seattle’s minicamp in June but then showed up anyway, is expected to be absent when the Seahawks begin training camp today at the Virginia Mason Athletic Center in Renton.
The news was revealed by former Seahawks fullback Michael Robinson, one of Lynch’s closest friends who is now retired and working for the NFL Network.
Robinson said on the air that Lynch had just called him and told him that “he will be holding out from training camp this year with the Seahawks.”
Now, as then, the issue is his contract.
Lynch has two years remaining on a four-year deal worth up to $31 million he signed in 2012. He is due a base salary of $5 million this year and a $500,000 roster bonus, and a prorated signing bonus of $1.5 million. Next season he is due to earn $5.5 million in base salary with a $2 million roster bonus and a prorated signing bonus of $1.5 million.
There is much speculation, though, that the team will cut Lynch before next season.
He turned 28 in April, an age when many running backs begin to see a decline, and Seattle has prepared for a future without him, grooming 2013 second-round pick Christine Michael to take over at tailback, with third-year player Robert Turbin also in the mix.
One of Lynch’s main goals in holding out is apparently to get more money up front in case he is released after this season.
Robinson, asked what Lynch hopes to get by holding out, said, “I really think he just wants his position in the organization and how they view him, he just wants that recalibrated a little bit.”
It’s thought, though, that the team has no desire to give Lynch a new contract, or even a slight alteration, not wanting to set the precedent of rewarding holdouts.
Also, Lynch’s contract remains the fifth-highest for an NFL running back, which the team thinks is fair compensation.
Lynch is at risk of being fined $30,000 per day and after five days he could partially forfeit a $6 million signing bonus.
Lynch has led the Seahawks in rushing the last three years, including 1,257 yards last season when Seattle won its first Super Bowl, and has been the focus of the offense since being acquired from Buffalo via trade early in the 2010 season.
After he threatened to hold out for minicamp, Robinson – in comments to some Seattle-area reporters – said Lynch, who sat out minicamp with what the team said was a sore ankle, wanted to be rewarded for what he has meant to the team.
“You take Marshawn Lynch off the team last year, do we win the Super Bowl? I think all of us know the answer to that,” Robinson said. “He just wants to be paid like it. He knows he has a short window left. Nobody says anything when teams cut a guy at this juncture, though. I’m all in for players getting their dollars, man, because you have a short life.”
Asked then if Lynch considers his age a factor, Robinson said: “I don’t think it’s a factor for him. I think it’s a factor for them (the Seahawks) because 30 is this magic number.’’
The team had no comment on Lynch Thursday.
In June, Seattle coach Pete Carroll played down a possible Lynch holdout and said he expected him to again be the “bell cow” of the offense.
Carroll also said then he didn’t expect Lynch to get much action in the preseason.
“You won’t see him get the ball a lot in the preseason,” Carroll said. “We will work all the way to the opening day and see if we can get him right there for then, and that’s what’s most important.”
When that work begins, though, now is in question.
The Seahawks Thursday signed undrafted free-agent wide receiver Morrell Presley, who began his career at UCLA and finished it at NCAA Division II California University of Pennsylvania. He tried out for the team during the rookie minicamp. … The Seahawks also waived OL Jared Smith, with an injured designation, as well as undrafted free-agent tight end Chase Dixon. Smith was a seventh-round pick out of New Hampshire in 2013 who was initially cut and signed to the practice squad, and then placed on Injured Reserve with a knee injury. …Seattle reportedly then agreed to terms with two other players to get to the roster limit of 90. The agent for guard C.J. Davis reported he had agreed to terms. Davis played in seven games for the Panthers in 2010 and seven more for Denver in 2012. Also, Seattle was reported by FOX Sports to have signed receiver David Gilreath, who played in three games for the Steelers in 2012.