News broke late last night that Marshawn ‘Beast Mode’ Lynch, one of the hardest-nosed running backs in the game, had been downgraded to ‘out’ for this Sunday’s Wild Card game against the Minnesota Vikings. Most surprisingly, it was Lynch himself, rather than the team, who decided he’d be unable to play on Sunday. Lynch, who hasn’t played since developing a hernia in mid-November, was considered especially important to the team given that their game against the Vikings looks to be the coldest NFL playoffs game in over thirty years. So with that in mind, we debate this question: was Marshawn right to declare himself ‘out’?
I know my limits, so does Marshawn.
by Nathan Hards
Marshawn Lynch has declared himself unfit for playing in this weekend’s playoff game against the Vikings. In what has to be the worst turnaround in news this season for Seahawks fans, Lynch has seemingly left them high and dry at the last minute. I’m going to go over why he’s not only right to do that, but other players should take note. Running backs are sledgehammers. If your wide receivers are precision tools for delivering results, and refining work, running backs are what you use when you need to start all over again. 3rd and 4? Send the RB through the gap to get the ten. Start over with a new set. Sledgehammers are hard wearing and incredibly powerful, but if you damage the wrong part, they can’t function. Expecting a running back to play at anything less than 100% is unrealistic. Is it your body? No, and you don’t know what he’s feeling? How many hernias have you recovered from inside if a season? You know what happens if you train with a Hernia? It doesn’t get better, it gets worse. Lynch knows his body, and he knows his limits. If he has pulled himself out, it’s most likely because he has aggravated his injury, and could setback his recovery. What would you rather? Play Lynch, re-injure him and lose him for the rest of the season? Rest him, and get him for the important games later in the playoffs? The NFL encourages players to push themselves to breaking point, simply by existing in its current form. A lot of players could learn from this. Just take a look at Romo and the Cowboys. Bring a player back to save the season, before he is fully recovered. Now they’re looking at their next QB, and Romo is looking at the end of his career. I’ve seen players take knocks, keep playing, and end their careers. Lynch is making the smart move of making sure his engine is properly sealed before he starts the engine. What do you do if you notice something is wrong after fixing your car? Turn it over and hope for the best, or make sure it’s fixed properly? Nobody can realistically challenge Lynch’s decision, as it’s in the best interests of the team, and the best interest of the fans. More importantly than that, it’s in his best interest. I mean, it’s not like he’s Johnny Manziel. Besides, I doubt Marshawn could pull off a blonde wig.
Ruling yourself out two days early will raise a lot of eyebrows
by Gur Samuel
No-one can know how Marshawn Lynch is feeling. Yes, the general recovery time to return to sports from a hernia is around four weeks, but there’ll always be exceptions, and Lynch may be one. Yet, this whole self-declaring of his status is just surrounded by unusual circumstances. As we touched upon yesterday, Lynch was fully on-track to play against the Vikings, being a full participation in practice with no setback. Pete Carroll even declared on Friday morning that Lynch would play. So what changed? The most suspicious thing here is the timing. Take a look at this tweet by ESPN’s Ed Werder: https://twitter.com/Edwerderespn/status/685810556020719617 So, full participation in practice, no reported set back, then out of nowhere, a “sudden” decision by Lynch not to get on the team bus. Why did Lynch suddenly decide not to go? The biggest issue in my eyes is that refusal to fly to Minnesota, and that, if anything, is why I think Lynch was absolutely wrong to declare himself out – or rather, to do so when he did. Simply put, someone who wants to be there for his team will wait until the last possible moment to declare himself ‘out’, or at least leave the decision up to the team’s training staff. If he had fears that he wouldn’t be able to play, he could have informed the coaches, giving them enough to scheme a gameplan in case he wouldn’t be able to play – but if, come gameday, Lynch felt able to go, then it’d be an added bonus to the Seahawks. By ruling himself out, he gave the team no possibility of having Lynch available, two days before that decision ultimately had to be made. Even if he were unable to go, Lynch is one of the stars of this team, and his presence on the sideline to help rally and support his teammates would no doubt have been welcome. Instead, the team will have a very visible absence on their sideline, media attention they don’t necessarily need, and a coaching staff and roster who must, at the very least, have a lot of confusion over Lynch’s decision. Any time a player makes a decision not to play alongside his teammates unnecessarily early, eyebrows will be raised. By not even allowing for the possibility of being available to the team two days later, Lynch’s actions on Friday will be sure to garner scrutiny for the rest of Seattle’s postseason campaign, and potentially longer.