The story of Marshawn Lynch's 2016 season took another interesting turn over the weekend. The Seattle Seahawks running back remains a mystery to fans and coaches alike after he was not active against the Minnesota Vikings for the Wild Card playoff game and did not even make the trip as he continues to heal from mid-season surgery. Head coach Pete Carroll admitted he has no idea where the running back stands as his tenure with the team could be coming to an end.
According to Carroll via Rich Cimini of ESPN.com, Lynch benched himself for the Wild Card game after he reportedly "didn't feel like he had it." Lynch has been out since November after undergoing abdominal surgery. He has been trying to come back from the injury as his trainer stressed the running back was looking healthy and improved. The Seahawks were hopeful to get Lynch on the field, but were surprised when he took himself out again.
"We finished practice [on Friday], and I went right to you guys, to talk to the media, just going on what I had seen," Carroll said, via ESPN.com. "But when he went back to his locker and sat down, he just didn't feel it. He didn't feel like he could go, and that's it. He just didn't feel like he had it. There wasn't enough time to build the confidence that he needed to come in and do something."
Carroll could not even offer speculation as to whether or not Lynch would play against the Carolina Panthers in the divisional game this weekend. If he cannot play, Christine Michael will once again be the workhorse running back. He put up 70 yards on 25 carries against the Vikings as Carroll told the media that he had a lot of confidence in the running back should Lynch not play.
The bigger question is where this leaves Lynch with the franchise. The running back is set to earn $9 million in 2016 with a cap charge of $11.5 million after the contract standoff last offseason. According to Mike Florio of ProFootballTalk.com, the chances Lynch comes back are slim to none. Thomas Rawls proved that he can replace the running back despite the season-ending injury and he is only due to make $525,000 in 2016. The Seahawks could easily go out and sign someone for cheaper than what Lynch has been.
For now, the Seahawks are moving forward as if Lynch will not play this weekend. The team benefitted from the improved play of Russell Wilson against the Vikings, but still has a long ways to go to be able to hold off the Panthers. The defense looked better, but the offense remained a little lackluster. Doug Baldwin and Tyler Lockett one again stepped up in a big way, but will it be enough to beat the Panthers? According to Carroll, they just need more magic from Wilson.
"We've seen so often just the magic that comes out of him sometimes," Carroll said, via the Minneapolis Star Tribune. "He had a number of plays today where he was in trouble and he got away and did some good things. We almost made some big plays and we didn't. But that was one that we capitalized on. It's a rare play, but he does stuff like that and we kind of have come to count on it, and it's been a factor for us. Just in that little sequence of the football drive, there's some real magic in there."