By: Ethan Tyrrell, KCOU Sports
Barry Sanders’ retirement will always be one of the most bizarre occurrences in NFL history. Arguable the greatest to ever play his position, Sanders opted to call it quits after just his tenth season. Sanders gave few details why he chose to end his career, but it was believed, and Sanders later acknowledged, that the mediocrity of the Lions franchise was a key reason.
Fast forward a few decades and we are in a similar situation with superstar running back Marshawn Lynch. Coming off of a season that made him a household name, it was expected that Lynch would sign a new deal with the Seattle Seahawks. This has yet to happen, and the NFC Champion Seahawks may be faced with a reality they’d rather not face, the 28-year-old Lynch may retire. After just seven seasons, it seems baffling that Lynch would want to hang up his pads, but this may happen.
There is one key difference between Sanders’ retirement and the choice Lynch is faced with, health. Despite being three years older at the time of retirement, Sanders was still in peak physical condition. Lynch has been battling back injuries. It wasn’t obvious by his work on the field; Lynch still powers through his opponents with relative ease, but he was apparently hurting last season.
Of course, any speculation on his condition or his decision is just that, speculation. What makes Marshawn Lynch one of the most intriguing characters in sports is his silence around the media. Out of any star player in the NFL, he’s the one we know the least about. Friends and teammates of his have said that they are unsure about whether he will continue playing. But is there really any way to know if they actually know the whole story?
If Lynch does decide to come back, it will be to an enormous paycheck. The Seahawks want to keep Marshawn Lynch around. He was debatably the most important piece to their near Super Bowl repeat. It had previously been reported that Seattle offered Lynch a contract that would pay him $10 million for the 2015. A new contract could make Lynch a record-setting amount of money.
No one knows where Marshawn Lynch is going to be next season. Maybe he’ll return to Seattle, or maybe he’ll wear a completely different team’s uniform. Or maybe, he won’t even be in the league. If Lynch were to retire, it would likely come with an amount of questions equal to when Barry Sanders wrapped his career up, but, much like Sanders, we would likely get few answers from the ever-mysterious Marshawn Lynch.