Is Lynch taking contract frustrations out on media — and teammates?
Marshawn Lynch ran for 124 yards on 24 carries in Kansas City on Sunday, but it was his actions at halftime — and words after the game — that are sure to leave the longest-lasting impression with the Seahawks' front office and fans.
And if all reports are accurate, with his teammates, too.
According to multiple reports, when the Seahawks went to the locker room at halftime, trailing the Chiefs 14-13, their All-Pro running back remained on the field and never joined them, instead meeting up with them on the sideline as the third quarter was about to begin.
Immediately after the game, a 24-20 Chiefs victory, Lynch pulled a similar disappearing act with the media and refused to talk with reporters.
And hours after the game came multiple reports as to why the eccentric Lynch would take such measures.
• Former Lynch teammate and current NFL Network analyst Michael Robinson said that he spoke with Lynch after the game, and Beast Mode said his legs were so sore he could not walk and that is why he chose to stay put on the sideline at halftime. "He told me he couldn't walk," Robinson told NFL.com's Michael Silver.
• ProFootballTalk reported before Sunday's game that Lynch could be fined $100,000 if he did not speak to the media following the game in Kansas City. Lynch was fined $50,000 late last season for not speaking with the media but, according to the PFT report, that fine was lifted by the NFL — but with the caveat that a subsequent failure to speak with the media would mean the reinstatement of that fine, plus another $50,000 fine for the second refusal.
• ESPN reported that indeed Lynch quickly dressed, put on his backpack and left the locker room after Sunday’s game without speaking to reporters waiting at his locker. He reportedly did not speak with the media following the Week 10 victory over the Giants, either.
• Silver wrapped the evening up with an explanation — and potential escape clause for those $50,000 fines for Lynch — as he spoke with the running back on the phone while the Seahawks sat on the team bus outside Arrowhead Stadium. It is unclear whether the interview would constitute speaking with the media with respect to the potential fines.
According to Silver, recent rumors that the team will let Lynch go after the season have played a role in Lynch's "deteriorating relationship with Seattle coach Pete Carroll, as Lynch partially blames him for the existence of such stories and for the possibility that his Seahawks tenure might end after the 2014 season." So after the game, Lynch reportedly told Silver:
"Do I think I'll be gone after this season? I don't know, man. The Seahawks, their front office gets in the media; they talk a lot. I don't talk too much. I just play the game. If they have something going on, I don't know about it."
"Pete [Carroll is] my head coach. Well, I mean, you know, he's really not in my position meetings. . . . It ain't like we get to chop it up like that."
"Is this a championship team? Yeah, yeah, we've got the heart of a champion. When you've got players like Richard Sherman, Earl Thomas, Kam Chancellor — you're about to make me name the whole damn roster — and there's some young guys whose names a lot of people don't know who bring a lot of fight. I always look at the best of our team. So . . . hell yeah. I would have to be a fool to say no."
Lynch, 28, has 813 yards rushing (third-most in the NFL), an NFL-best nine rushing touchdowns and 12 total TDs (tied for first in the league). The Seahawks, however, are only 6-4 after Sunday's loss, three games behind Arizona in the NFC West and a game out of a playoff spot.