NFL.com’s Tom Telissero reports that the Oakland Raiders placed Lynch on IR due to a groin injury. The 32-year-old was originally slated to miss 4-6 weeks with the injury. However, the team later found that the groin injury stems from a core muscle.
Considering how Lynch has already retired once in his career, it’s very possible that he won’t come back after suffering what could be a season-ending injury.
There’s a Possibility that Lynch Returns in Late December
Again, odds are that Marshawn Lynch has played his last game. However, this isn’t completely decided at this point.
Being put on IR means that he must sit a minimum of eight weeks. Therefore, Lynch could technically return on December 24 for the Raiders’ last home game of the season.
Obviously there’s no reason for him to come back from a competitive standpoint. Oakland is currently 1-5 and looking to trade key pieces of their team for draft picks and/or young players. But he may have incentive to return from a personal standpoint.
Lynch is an Oakland native who was excited to come out of retirement in order to play for his hometown team. Furthermore, it’s possible that this may be the Raiders’ last game in Oakland.
Their lease with the Coliseum is up after the season. The Raiders haven’t announced where they’re going to play in 2019 before moving to Las Vegas in 2020. Assuming Lynch heals up quickly, he can play in this final home game and also be available for a Week 17 matchup against the Kansas City Chiefs.
Could Lynch Continue Playing Beyond 2018?
No matter if Lynch does or doesn’t return in late December, this will assuredly be his final season in Oakland. He sat out the 2016 campaign after retiring as a Seattle Seahawk. And he only signed with the Raiders in order to play in Oakland. With the hometown aspect no longer in play, it’s highly likely that Lynch will move on.
But this isn’t saying that he’s guaranteed to retire at the end of the season. If Lynch still feels like playing football, he could sign as a free agent somewhere else.
He’s shown that he still has something left in the tank, rushing for 376 yards on 90 carries – good for a 4.2 yards per carry average. He’s also the best running back on Oakland’s roster.
Assuming Lynch wants to continue playing, then it’s likely he can find a backup role on another team. This is especially the case regarding a contender who wants an experienced running back for depth.
Assuming he does retire, though, then he’ll go out with five Pro Bowl appearances, a Super Bowl victory, and more than 10,000 rushing yards.
Who Will Fill Oakland’s No. 1 Running Back Slot?
Doug Martin is poised to take over duties as the starting running back. Martin, who had several good seasons in Tampa Bay, will take over early downs with Lynch injured.
Jalen Richard will also play a big role out of the backfield. Richard has done a fine job as a receiving back, tallying 31 catches for 253 yards. DeAndre Washington may also see some snaps as the season progresses.
By and large, this Oakland team is simply looking to get through the season and acquire young talent through the draft and otherwise. But they still need somebody to fill all of their positions until then, including running back. Look for this role to be filled by a committee, headed by Martin.