Marshawn Lynch turned 31 years old on April 22. That's an old man in running back years, typically an age when even quality rushers see a stark production downturn.
It may be fair to wonder how Lynch will fare in his 30s, especially after taking a year away from football.
General manager Reggie McKenzie expects vintage Lynch to don silver and black. Prior to a 2015 season hindered by an abdominal injury that required surgery, Lynch was awesome. He produced with a rare combination of power and elusiveness, with an ability to score and break tackles better than anyone else.
The Raiders would love to work with that Lynch. The local fan base would love that and the ability to cheer someone who represents the Raiders' present in Oakland, not their Las Vegas future.
"We think he has more than enough left to be a highly productive running back in this league," McKenzie said Wednesday night on SiriusXM NFL radio. "Even back to his latter couple years when he was playing. We think he'll be highly productive. We're excited to have him, and he's really excited to be here playing for the Oakland Raiders."
Lynch had at least 1,200 yards and 11 touchdown per year from 2011-2014, and was as physical as anyone in the league.
McKenzie is thrilled to have him on the roster, especially running behind an excellent offensive line. He hoped for a union since Lynch first showed interest, and remained patient during a long acquisition process.
"Once there was word he may come out of retirement and Oakland was a place to land, I was really excited," McKenzie said. "When that thing took off, we stayed in pursuit and I'm happy that it all worked out."