San Francisco

All Signs Point to Lynch Becoming a Raider

Former Seahawks' excited tweet is latest signal that "Beast Mode" will be part of Raiders' attack in 2017

On Thursday night, former Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch – known as a man of few words, at least with the media – went to Twitter to post a short message:

“I’m Thankful!!!!! Yes Lawd!!!”

Lynch didn’t elaborate, but the message seemed clear enough: Lynch is coming out of retirement and he, the Seahawks and Raiders are getting close to a deal that will allow Lynch to play for his hometown team after a year away from the NFL.

Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network reported earlier Thursday that Lynch and his representatives had received permission from the Seahawks to negotiate a new deal with the Raiders that would pave the way for Oakland to acquire his rights from Seattle, which still technically has him under contract.

There’s no timetable for any announcement of a deal, but it certainly looks more likely now that Lynch, the power-running, tackle-breaking “Beast Mode” who led the Seahawks rushing attack for so many years, is about ready to step into the Raiders backfield for the 2017 season after a year in retirement.

Lynch would be the power back the Raiders need and would be a nice complement to smaller, quicker second-year backs DeAndre Washington and Jalen Richard.

Not known, of course, is how good Lynch will be after a year away from training and at the age of 31, a time when most good running backs are over the hill.

But as Kenneth Arthur of Rolling Stone wrote Friday morning, there’s reason to believe Lynch could still be a force for Oakland this season. Lynch, after all, had his own style in his prime. He ran for no fewer than 1,200 yards from 2011 through 2014 and scored 12, 11, 12 and 13 touchdowns over those four seasons.

And, the way he powered into would-be tacklers and kept his legs churning, resulted in a battering-ram force that made him tough to contain. Even after sitting out all of 2016 and most of 2015 with injury, Arthur notes that Lynch has 66 more broken tackles than any other player in the NFL since 2013.

He also compares Lynch to former 49ers great Frank Gore, in that Gore has defied the odds by continuing to be productive past 30 yet has more than 800 more career carries than Lynch. Gore, who will turn 34 in May, rushed for 1,025 yards this past season for the Colts and 967 in 2015, his first season in Indianapolis. He had four consecutive seasons of 1,000-plus yards to end his tenure in San Francisco.

Lynch, notes Arthur, also will be working behind a Raiders offensive line in 2017 that is one of the best in the NFL.

The Raiders still need to make many improvements on defense to be a serious contender for the Super Bowl this season. But adding Lynch – if he’s healthy, in shape and determined to produce for Oakland – could be a huge boost for the Raiders.

Wrote Arthur: “The Raiders have the quarterback, receivers and the offensive line. Now they finally have the back.”

It’s not yet official, of course, but judging by Lynch’s tweet, it soon will be.

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