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Seattle Seahawks GM on Marshawn Lynch retirement: 'It was a helluva throw'

By Derek Harper, The Sports Xchange   |   Feb. 25, 2016 at 1:49 AM

INDIANAPOLIS -- Yes, John Schneider has seen the picture of the cleats hanging on a line. No, the Seattle Seahawks general manager has not talked to running back Marshawn Lynch since the end of the season.

But yes, Lynch has indicated to the Seahawks that he plans to retire after nine NFL seasons.

"No, it was a helluva throw though," Schneider said when asked at the NFL Combine on Wednesday if he has spoken to Lynch personally. "Kind of like Jared Allen's retirement. That was pretty sweet."

Allen, who finished last season with the Carolina Panthers, announced his retirement with a picture of the defensive end riding horseback into the sunset.

As is typical of Lynch, others have been doing the talking for him. And his agent confirmed Lynch's intentions in the days after Super Bowl 50.

Undrafted rookie Thomas Rawls actually led the Seahawks in rushing with 830 yards and four touchdowns while averaging 5.6 yards per attempt. He took over the job while Lynch was recovering from back surgery, only to suffer a season-ending broken ankle. The Seahawks would appear to have a plug-and-play replacement for Lynch, although Schneider did call Rawls' injury "significant."

"Every year we're going to be pounding it hard. Obviously running back is no different," Schneider said. "We kind of attack it like everything's from scratch.

"(Rawls) definitely has the talent to do it, but we're going to get a couple of guys in there to compete with him. I'll go to Vegas I guess if I could tell you (if Rawls is going to replace Lynch)."

Schneider also said tight end Jimmy Graham continues to recover from his season-ending knee injury and is currently training in Miami.

"He's doing great, he has a great attitude about it," Schneider said. "He's a great guy, he has a great attitude about it. It's too early to tell (when he will return to the field), it was a very significant injury."

Since the end of the season, the Seahawks' front office has conducted free agent meetings followed by draft meetings as it prepares for what will be a very busy offseason.

Among the Seahawks' key free agents are left tackle Russell Okung, right guard J.R. Sweezy, defensive tackles Brandon Mebane and Ahtyba Rubin, pass rusher Bruce Irvin and cornerback Jeremy Lane. They also figure to have contract situations to resolved with defensive lineman Michael Bennett and strong safety Kam Chancellor.

Okung is expected to command too much money on the open market for the Seahawks to match. That will further deplete an offensive line that was an issue much of last season. Seattle opened the year with a former defensive lineman, Drew Nowak, starting at center next to Sweezy, another d-line convert. Garry Gilliam, a former tight end, spent the year at right tackle after Justin Britt was kicked inside to left guard -- where he was again inconsistent.

Schneider was one of numerous coaches and general managers to chime in on the difficulty in evaluating offensive line prospects because of the proliferation of spread offenses in college and even high school. That means when they get to the NFL many have never played with their hand on the ground, and need to be taught some basic fundamentals.

So the Seahawks keep an open mind when searching high and low -- and on offense and defense -- for players for offensive line coach Tom Cable to mold.

"In terms of our philosophy, we're going to keep attacking it the same way we always have," Schneider said. "Whether or not we convert guys, for us that really just depends on what the draft looks like.

"That cohesion and being able to play together, more so than the pure talent of a guy. For me, it's finding that right combination."

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