Marshawn Lynch hung ‘em up tonight during the Super Bowl.
Though the team had yet to get official confirmation as of late Sunday, the Seahawks took that tweet as word their star running back was annoucing his retirement in his own, characteristically unique way.
Team owner Paul Allen gave the Seahawks’ most official word of the night when he tweeted at 10:11 p.m. Seattle time: “@Seahawks Thank you @MoneyLynch for a great career as a Seahawk. So many memorable runs and quakes! #BeastMode !”
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Teammates, including Seattle’s Pro Bowl cornerback back and its quarterback, also gave their electronic, very-2016 goodbyes:
The man that marches in his own path had been expected to retire this offseason. Then he tweeted those kicks hanging during Sunday’s Super Bowl 50. Plenty noticed: his message got hundreds of thousands of retweets and likes within hours.
“@MoneyLynch for President” is what left tackle Russell Okung tweeted.
The team’s official Twitter account then acknowledged the apparent goodbye after the game:
Officially, the team hasn’t been notified either way as of Sunday night of Lynch’s plans. Then again, it never has been.
Suffice to say as of late Sunday the Seahawks were taking Lynch’s tweet to mean he is indeed retiring -- though for a player to officially retire he needs to submit paperwork ending his career to the league office.
So apparently ends a decade in the league and Lynch’s 5 1/2-year run in Seattle, during which he was the foundation for the most successful string of seasons in franchise history. That included the Seahawks’ only Super Bowl championship.
Lynch was named to five Pro Bowl teams -- in 2008 while with Buffalo then four times while he was with the Seahawks. He was an All-Pro in 2012 when he romped for a career-high 1,590 yards with 11 rushing touchdowns. From 2011 into the 2015 season, his first injury-filled one of his career, Lynch was the NFL’s leader in rushing yards and touchdowns.
On Jan. 22, Seahawks general manager John Schneider said of Lynch on Seattle radio station 710-AM, the team’s flagship station: “I’m under the impression he’s leaning towards retirement.”
The team had been hoping to know before the league’s annual scouting combine that begins Feb. 23 in Indianapolis whether Lynch will retire. The combine is a week of meetings with agents of prospective prospects and free agents, and the Seahawks will likely be in the market for a new runner behind heir Thomas Rawls with Lynch not returning next season.
Lynch floated the possibility of retirement during each of the previous two offseasons. That resulted in him getting $1.5 million in future money up front in 2014 to end his weeklong holdout from training camp, and getting an additional $5 million for 2015 in a two-year contract extension last March. That deal runs through the 2017 season, but the next two years involve no guaranteed money.
No one around the team believed Lynch would fulfill those two seasons. He signed that extension to get the $5 million more for this past season, upping his total pay, including his signing bonus, to $12 million for 2015.
He had surgery on Nov. 25 for an abdominal issue. While he was hurt, Rawls romped. Rawls became the first undrafted rookie in league history to rush for at least 160 yards in two games in his rookie season, establishing himself as the replacement for Lynch the Seahawks previously lacked.
Rawls broke his ankle and tore ligaments on Dec. 13 in a win at Baltimore, but said last month the day after Seattle’s season-ending playoff loss at Carolina he will be ready for the start of next season.
Lynch returned from two months out to play in that game Jan. 17. He gained just 20 yards on six carries as the Panthers raced to a 31-0 lead and took him out of Seattle’s game plan. Those six carries and 20 yards will apparently be his final ones with the Seahawks and in the sport.
Lynch had been scheduled for a base salary of $9 million, not guaranteed for next season, with a cap charge of $11.5 million in 2016. He and the Seahawks assuredly were not going realize those numbers.
Whether he officially retires or the team releases him, Lynch’s cap charge will be $5 million for 2016, a savings of $6.5 million that the team can use on other players.
If Lynch does more than tweet a pair of spikes hanging from a wire and actually submits retirement paperwork with the league, he would be subject to paying back the remaining proration on his $7.5 million signing bonus from that extension last March, a sum of $5 million. But the Seahawks wouldn’t have to collect that -- and likely wouldn’t. They have made special financial agreements with him before, such as when they waived the fines that the league’s collective bargaining agreement entitled the team to collect after Lynch held out during the first week of 2014’s training camp.