Amid reports that some teammates are jealous of quarterback Russell Wilson and that the Seahawks are ready to part ways with Marshawn Lynch, coach Pete Carroll and Wilson declared Sunday after they beat Carolina that the team is not distracted.
“The things that have been said have been said on the outside. We have no problem. No problem,” Carroll said. “Whatever the conversation is, that’s the job of the media to try to figure stuff out. That’s not what’s going on here. I have no problem. It was not a distraction at all. Our guys don’t care about what’s being said.”
In the wake of the Percy Harvin trade and Mike Freeman’s incendiary report on Wilson, the latest revelation is that the Hawks’ relationship with Lynch has reached a breaking point, with the team finally tired of the running back’s antics and Lynch apparently so upset with the team that he is talking about quitting again.
Seattle might even have tried to trade Lynch by Tuesday’s deadline if fullback Derrick Coleman had not suffered a broken foot last week, ESPN’s Chris Mortensen reported. With Coleman out, though, the Hawks have to use No. 2 tailback Robert Turbin as their fullback.
The Seahawks’ brass has always known Lynch was a time bomb that could go off at any moment, but Carroll and general manager John Schneider had been willing to put up with his idiosyncrasies because he embodied the smashmouth identity they wanted on offense.
Lynch was never going to finish the four-year contract he signed in 2012, a reality that prompted him to hold out for more money when training camp started this year. The Hawks adjusted his contract, moving money ahead from 2015, but they didn’t give him the big raise he was seeking.
By all accounts, Lynch is still upset with the franchise for not paying him more money and for the way the team is using him. Not that he was ever much of a talker anyway, but Lynch apparently does not speak to Carroll or Schneider anymore.
The Hawks have put up with Lynch’s whimsical behavior ever since they acquired him in 2010, but the final straw appears to be Lynch’s role in undermining Wilson and, thus, team morale.
Lynch was displeased with the trade of Percy Harvin and apparently has become even more prickly in the past week.
Freeman’s report that some teammates consider Wilson “not black enough” and too close to the front office seemed to point directly to Lynch — the running back from the ghetto who can’t get the team to pay him more but sees the quarterback getting all of the love.
At a private party last week, Lynch apparently was calling Wilson “whitewashed” and ripping the franchise while talking about quitting, a source relayed to us. That jibes with the media reports that have emerged over the past week.
Lynch’s apparent attitude doesn’t seem to have affected his effort on the field, though. His dropped touchdown pass aside, he carried the ball 14 times for 62 yards, including a 25-yard gain, in the Hawks’ 13-9 win at Carolina on Sunday.
Lynch had just over half the team’s 26 carries, with Christine Michael running four times for 12 yards and Turbin rushing twice for 10 yards and catching three passes for 32 yards. Wilson ran six times for 35 yards.
On Monday, coach Pete Carroll told 710 ESPN, “He gives us everything he’s got when he’s out there. … He’s been great with the players. He’s interacted all year long, He’s been upbeat and really pointed in performing well. … That’s just a sign that he’s a real pro.”
After the game, Wilson addressed Freeman’s report, saying, “In terms of ‘me not black enough’ thing, I don’t even know what that means. I believe that I am an educated young male that is not perfect, that tries to do things right, that just tries to lead and tries to help others and tries to win games for this football team. And that’s all I focus on. …
“I think, for us, there are no distractions at all,” Wilson said. “I think it was people trying to find ways to knock us down. … We are probably the closest we’ve ever been.”
Well, with the likely exclusion of Lynch, but what else is new?