PHOENIX – Odds of Marshawn Lynch playing Saturday's exhibition opener at Arizona are slim, more likely none. On the off chance he does play, it'll be a quick cameo.
Established veteran running backs rarely play in the preseason, if at all. The injury risk is too great, the reward from live game reps too small. Those guys are used sparingly or put on the shelf completely until it matters most.
Lynch, however, is a unique case. His resume suggests he stay on ice. After spending last year away from the game, maybe a few carries over four exhibitions wouldn't hurt. Maybe.
Lynch's practice activity has been limited since the offseason program, with but a few training camp carries each day. He has shown great burst, balance and power when preparing for regular season.
"He's doing a great job working wisely," head coach Jack Del Rio said. "We're bringing him along. We've been smart about it the whole offseason. He's doing the things we're asking him to do. He's fully committed. I like the way he's progressing."
The primary goal is getting enough work to hit the regular season running, while minimizing Lynch's injury risk in games that don't count.
"We like the way he's working," head coach Jack Del Rio said after Thursday's practice. "I'm not that concerned about seeing a lot of Marshawn in Week 1 of the preseason. I'll just be honest with you on that."