Beast Mode could be returning to the Bay Area. The Oakland Raiders are "strongly considering acquiring retired running back Marshawn Lynch, either through trade or by his release," according to ESPN's Adam Schefter and Josina Anderson, citing league sources.
The Raiders are still searching for a feature back after Latavius Murray left for the Minnesota Vikings in free agency; Lynch would certainly be an intriguing option. In addition to being a league-wide fan favourite, he was an outstanding football player over his 10-year career.
With over 9,000 career rushing yards and 83 touchdowns, Lynch would certainly bring a veteran presence to a young backfield in Oakland. The real question here is...can he still play?
In his final season with the Seattle Seahawks in 2015, Lynch fought injuries and subpar line play en route to one of his worst career seasons, averaging a mere 3.8 yards per carry to go with 417 rushing yards and 3 touchdowns.
If Oakland is able to acquire him however, would be entering a much more appealing situation. Pro Football Focus ranked the Raiders' offensive line fourth best in the league last year. The offseason acquisition of Kelechi Osemele took the team's line to a new level, which is one reason that Lynch could conceivably be anxious to waive his retirement to join the team.
Another reason is that Lynch might want to play for his hometown team, especially now that they're actually in annual playoff contention. He attended Oakland Technical High School, played college ball for the Cal Bears, and rumors have long been swirling in league circles about his desire to play for the Raiders.
Of course, it being the NFL's notorious "rumor season" right now, this story could be much ado about nothing. Lynch has repeatedly denied that he has any intention of returning to football since retirement and the stars would have to truly align for him to consider a return to the bruising, battering lifestyle of the NFL.