Lynch, 33, has done this once before. After he finished the 2015 season with the Seattle Seahawks, the team he’d been with for five seasons, he announced that he was retiring. Lynch didn’t play in 2016.
But one season is as long as that lasted. After the Oakland Raiders announced their move to Las Vegas, Lynch — an Oakland native — was inspired to return to football. In fact, he specifically wanted to play for the Raiders, telling USA Today that he wanted kids in Oakland to see a homegrown star play for the hometown team before they moved. The Seahawks still had his rights, but traded Lynch to the Raiders.
Lynch’s final two seasons in football — if this retirement actually sticks, that is — only added to his legacy. In 2017 he surpassed the 10,000 yard mark in rushing, becoming just the 31st player in NFL history to do it. His 2018 season was shaping up to be great — in Week 4 he reached 100 yards in a game for the 34th time in his career — until he injured his groin in October and had to sit out the rest of the season.
Marshawn Lynch through the years
Marshawn Lynch through the years
INGLEWOOD, CA - SEPTEMBER 02: NFL player Marshawn Lynch attends The Ultimate Fan Experience, Call Of Duty XP 2016 presented by Activision at The Forum on September 2, 2016 in Inglewood, California. (Photo by Randy Shropshire/Getty Images for Activision)
Nov 15, 2015; Seattle, WA, USA; Seattle Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch (24) rushes against the Arizona Cardinals during the fourth quarter at CenturyLink Field. Arizona defeated Seattle, 39-32. Mandatory Credit: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports
SEATTLE, WA - DECEMBER 04: Former Seattle Seahawk running back Marshawn Lynch speaks to players during a game against the Carolina Panthers at CenturyLink Field on December 4, 2016 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)
Seattle Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch wears a mask during warm-ups befire the start of the NFL Super Bowl XLIX football game against the New England Patriots in Glendale, Arizona, February 1, 2015. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson (UNITED STATES - Tags: SPORT FOOTBALL)
Jan 28, 2015; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Seattle Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch with reporters during the Seattle Seahawks press conference at Arizona Grand. Mandatory Credit: Peter Casey-USA TODAY Sports
Seattle Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch stands on sideline at their NFL Super Bowl XLVIII football practice in East Rutherford, New Jersey, January 30, 2014. The Seahawks will play against the Denver Broncos on February 2. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton (UNITED STATES - Tags: SPORT FOOTBALL)
Seattle Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch (C) walks off the field at the MetLife Stadium during their NFL Super Bowl XLVIII walk- through in East Rutherford, New Jersey February 1, 2014. The Seahawks will play against the Denver Broncos in the game on February 2. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton (UNITED STATES - Tags: SPORT FOOTBALL)
Seattle Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch keeps a low profile during Media Day for Super Bowl XLVIII at the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey January 28, 2014. The Seahawks will go to the gridiron for their Super Bowl showdown against the Denver Broncos on February 2. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri (UNITED STATES - Tags: SPORT FOOTBALL)
Jan 19, 2014; Seattle, WA, USA; Seattle Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch (24) lands in the end zone to score a touchdown in the third quarter of the 2013 NFC Championship football game against the San Francisco 49ers at CenturyLink Field. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports
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Most players don’t get to do what Lynch did. He had a great career with Buffalo and Seattle, but got to spend two seasons playing for his hometown team before they left for a new city. If this is indeed Lynch’s final retirement (retiring and un-retiring is all the rage these days), he got to go out the way he wanted to.