RENTON, Wash. — So much for concern that running back Marshawn Lynch would be absent from the Seattle Seahawks’ minicamp.
Shortly after the first day of minicamp began for the Super Bowl champions on Tuesday, Lynch strolled from the Seahawks locker room with his No. 24 jersey pulled over a hooded sweatshirt. Lynch was just a spectator, spending most of his day chomping on sunflower seeds and chatting with teammates.
But he was in attendance, avoiding the potential of being fined nearly $70,000 for skipping the mandatory team workouts.
“We expected him to be here and he was here,” Seattle coach Pete Carroll said.
Reports surfaced last week that Lynch might consider not attending the practices in hopes of getting a higher salary for the 2014 season. Lynch signed a four-year contract before the 2012 season. He is scheduled to make $5 million in base salary this season plus per-game roster bonuses.
Carroll declined to discuss any conversations with Lynch about his contract.
“There is nothing in our conversations about that, the business side of it that we’ll talk about,” Carroll said. “There is no reason to. We haven’t talked about other guys in that regard so we’re not doing that now.”
Lynch was not available to speak as he sat out the practice with a sore ankle, according to Carroll. Lynch had not been present for Seattle’s organized team activities and because of a sore ankle, Carroll said it would be unlikely his running back would be on the field during minicamp.
Seattle’s plan is to make sure Lynch is healthy for the season opener against Green Bay on Sept. 4, which will be a very light load of carries during training camp and the preseason.
Even though the Seahawks staff at various times during the offseason has expressed getting more carries for reserves Robert Turbin and Christine Michael, Carroll reiterated that Seattle’s run game begins with Lynch.
Lynch has rushed for at least 1,200 yards in each of the past three regular seasons. He’s gotten at least 285 carries in each of those three seasons and last season during Seattle’s title run finished the year with 366 carries combined between the regular season and playoffs. That was the fourth-most combined carries for any running back since 2009.
“We have rested him a lot in the offseason. He takes a big pounding during the year. It takes him a long time to get his body back to where he doesn’t feel the rigors of the season that’s past,” Carroll said. “In this case it’s unique but he is a unique player and he has a unique role on our football team, so we have to do what we have to do to take care of him.”
Lynch could have faced significant fines if he decided not to attend minicamp, but he has shown previously he does not enjoy losing money through fines. Last season, Lynch begrudgingly began speaking to the media during the playoffs in an effort to avoid hefty fines from the league. That included memorable sessions during Super Bowl week where he answered questions for about 20 combined minutes during three days of league-mandated media availability.
“Marshawn has really been the guy for us and we love everything about the way he plays and what he brings to this team. He’s never taken a step backward at any time for us in all the years he’s been here,” Carroll said. “From the day we went after him and got him we had sights on him becoming the player that he has become and he has never disappointed us. Hopefully he’ll be really healthy and ready to go at the season start and if we have accomplished that with this offseason that will be very successful for him and for our team.”
NotesLB Bruce Irvin, who had hip surgery in early June, was the only player not in attendance. … Rookie WR Paul Richardson was a full participant after being limited in recent offseason workouts with a sore shoulder. … Veteran DT Kevin Williams was a full participant one day after signing his contract with the Seahawks after spending his entire career with Minnesota.
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