Marshawn Lynch looked at making Tampa Bay’s running back room even deeper when he talked with Tom Brady and the Buccaneers organization about joining them last year.
Lynch, 35, went on ESPN’s Sports Nation on Friday and opened up those conversations about his consideration of returning to football in 2020 after a brief return to Seattle in the 2019 season. He played in the Seahawks’ last regular season game and two playoffs games.
“I was specifically speaking to Tom Brady and the Bucs. That’s who I was talking to,” Lynch said.
Lynch didn’t share how far the talks with the Bucs progressed. He already retired and unretired twice. Besides his most recent return in 2019, he retired in 2016 from the Seahawks but then played for the then-Oakland Raiders in 2017 and 2018.
Whether or not Lynch will come back a third time remains doubtful. He told TV show host Conan O’Brien in December 2020 that he considered it.
“Yeah, if the situation is right, it could happen,” Lynch said. “I’ve been asked questions by a couple teams here recently. Like, ‘are you ready?'”
“I’m ready if you all are Super Bowl ready'” Lynch said on how he would reply. “That’s what it would take for me to come out, to come and play again. It would have to be a guaranteed Super Bowl game for me.”
Lynch didn’t sound as confident in returning when talking on Sports Nation four months later.
“I think that time has passed me,” Lynch said.
Lynch ran for 10,413 yards and 85 touchdowns in his career. He helped the Seahawks win Super Bowl XLVIII and nearly beat Brady and the New England Patriots in Super Bowl XLIX.
Bucs Already Deep in the Backfield
Tampa already had depth at running back with Ronald Jones II, Leonard Fournette, LeSean McCoy, and Ke’Shawn Vaughn. Jones came close to a 1,000-yard season, and Fournette emerged in the playoffs. McCoy and Vaughn played limited roles last season.
Jones and Fournette tallied 289 carries in 2020. It dropped off to 26 carries for Vaughn and 10 for McCoy, who dealt with injuries last season.
Lynch would have given the Bucs more power in the running game and a potential boost in the passing game. He caught two passes for 25 yards in a 2019 Seahawks playoff game.
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Close Call for Brady
Brady knows well how dangerous Lynch can be at playoff time. Lynch rushed for 102 yards and a touchdown for the Seahawks against the New Patriots in Super Bowl XLIX.
Following a Brady touchdown pass to put the Patriots ahead 28-24 with 2:02 left in the game, the Seahawks marched back downfield. Lynch got that drive going with a 31-yard reception, his only one of the game. Two plays later, Seahawks wide receiver Jermaine Kearse placed his team near the goal line with a juggling catch on his back. Brady looked on in disbelief.
Lynch nearly scored on first-and-goal, getting the ball inside the 1-yard line. Instead of giving the ball to Lynch on second-and-goal, Wilson threw a pass that got picked off by Patriots defensive back Malcolm Butler.
After winning his fourth Super Bowl MVP, Brady gave Butler the pickup truck that goes to the game’s MVP.