RENTON, Wash. (AP) — Marshawn Lynch famously said during Super Bowl week that he was “all about that action, boss.”
His action on Friday was defiance. The Super Bowl champion Seattle Seahawks opened training camp and Lynch chose to stay away because of his current contract situation.
Beast Mode’s status: absent and unhappy.
“Everybody is calling him, but it’s a business at the end of the day,” Seattle defensive end Michael Bennett said. “… So all you can do is support him. You want him to be here, but as a player you understand the business side too.”
Lynch’s absence was expected after former teammate Michael Robinson said Thursday night on NFL Network that Lynch would not show for the opening day of camp.
Seattle coach Pete Carroll said he was disappointed Lynch was not present, while reiterating the team wants him there and intends on him being an integral part of their plans for this season.
But the message was clear that Seattle put a plan in place before Lynch was signed to a four-year contract in 2012 and the Seahawks management is not inclined to stray from those plans.
“We’ve had a substantial plan working for us for years now and Marshawn was a big part of this plan. Just a couple of years back we made a big statement and made a big effort for him and we wish that he was with us now,” Carroll said.
“But this is a tremendous opportunity for the guys getting their shot. Robert Turbin and Christine Michael they’re ready to go and really fired up about this opportunity and are going to try and take full advantage of it.”
Friday’s result was building throughout the offseason with Lynch staying away from organized team activities and rumors that he would skip June’s mandatory minicamp in protest of his contract structure.
Lynch showed up for the minicamp in June to avoid a hefty fine. But he finally decided to make a stand with the start of training camp.
Lynch can make up to $5.5 million this season in base pay and roster bonuses. It’s the third year of a four-year contract and he’s scheduled to make $5.5 million in base salary in 2015. He now faces fines of $30,000 for each day of camp he misses. Carroll said he’s remained in contact with Lynch throughout the offseason.
“I’m hoping that he will be back with us,” Carroll said.
Lynch has been the workhorse for Seattle’s offense since his arrival via trade during the 2010 season. Lynch has 1,066 carries for 4,624 yards and 41 touchdowns in the regular season since joining the Seahawks.
He brought a physical style that helped define a young team early in Carroll’s tenure.
“The attitude that he brought these past few years has been significant. When we were trying to make a mark that we were a physical, tough football team he stood right at the front of that and was a big part of it,” Carroll said.
“But I think we have accomplished that now and that is our mentality and makeup. We’re grateful that he was part of that and would like to get him back into it.”
In Lynch’s place, Turbin and Michael took most of the reps at running back Friday. Turbin is entering his third season, while Michael barely saw the field last year as a rookie as he struggled with the transition between college and the NFL.
“We all wish he was here,” Michael said. “He’s a great leader. We learn a lot from him. He’ll be back soon.”