One of the big question marks for the Oakland Raiders this offseason has been whether running back Marshawn Lynch will return to the team in 2019, or whether he would choose retirement for a second time. With the 2019 NFL Draft set to start on Thursday, it appears as though a decision has been reached by Lynch.
After two seasons playing for his hometown Oakland Raiders, Marshawn Lynch is not planning to play football again, league sources tell ESPN.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) April 24, 2019
Now, with the three-day draft kicking off Thursday night in Nashville, the Raiders have one more potential need to address: running back.
Lynch, of course, famously retired the first time during Super Bowl 50 during the waning minutes of the Denver Broncos over the Carolina Panthers. The retirement announcement was quintessential Lynch, short on words, but full of meaning.
After not playing the 2016 season, Lynch decided to return to the NFL after it was announced that his hometown Raiders would move to Las Vegas. With the Raiders Lynch rushed for 1,267 yards and two touchdowns, with his final on field appearance coming in the defeat to his previous team, the Seattle Seahawks, in London last October.
If this is indeed Lynch truly calling it a career, he will retire having amassed 10,379 rushing yards with the Buffalo Bills, Seahawks and Raiders. He made the Pro Bowl five times and a first team All Pro selection in 2012. His rushing total is good for the 29th most all time in NFL history, and he is among the 31 members of the 10,000 yard rushing club.
With Lynch reportedly set to not play again, Jon Gruden and Mike Mayock will now need to address the running back position for the Raiders, either through the draft or through the free agents remaining on the market. With eight picks in the draft, including four in the first 35, the Raiders have the ammunition to address the position through the draft should they so wish. However, there are also a handful of names remaining on the free agent market, should the team wish to go that route.
In any case, best of luck to Lynch in his post-football days, and a hearty thanks for all that he did on the field during his career.