RENTON – The first reaction when Marshawn Lynch and Robert Turbin saw each other in the Seattle locker room this week was to laugh at the seeming absurdity of it all.
“A big smile on my face, a big smile on his, like ‘how did this happen again?’ ’’ Turbin said. “How are we in the backfield again together?’’
If the fact that Lynch would ever find his way back to Seattle seemed really unlikely, the return of Turbin — a backup for Lynch and situational tailback for the Seahawks from 2012-14 — didn’t have much better odds.
Before this week, Turbin, 30, had not been on a NFL roster since the end of the 2018 season, which he finished on Injured Reserve with the Colts after dislocating his shoulder.
He returned to Sacramento and began working out hoping for anybody to give him a shot in 2019 but said the only workout he got was with the nearby Raiders in March until the Seahawks came calling two weeks ago.
There were times Turbin was thinking he might to accept that maybe his career was over.
“It’s tough,’’ he said. “It was really tough. Last year I was injured in week six. I dislocated my shoulder and I was in a tough spot mentally at that time. Probably tougher than any other time in my life because I just didn’t know what was going to happen next. I understood where I was at in my career. You don’t do anything but get older in this league. So, there was a lot of unknowns going into this year.’’
But he said he decided he could give it the full 17 weeks to stay in shape in case something developed.
Something finally did last week when the Seahawks began exploring options in the wake of the season-ending injury to Rashaad Penny against the Rams on Dec. 8.
Turbin was called to Seattle for a workout prior to the game against the Cardinals, and said he did so with full optimism that he might be asked to stay.
“I packed my bags when I came here for the workout with the intentions of not going back home,’’ Turbin said. “When I did go back home, I didn’t unpack. I actually left my bags packed in my car, in the trunk of my car. I said, ‘somehow, someway, hopefully we’ll get back there.’ Then, the next week came, and here I am. I felt really good about the workout. They just needed other needs at the time. Here I am now.”
The phone rang again following the loss to the Cardinals and the season-ending injuries to Chris Carson and C.J. Prosise.
“That Sunday night we knew there was a chance,’’ Turbin said. “I knew there was a chance I was going to sign, and Marshawn’s name was kind of floating around real late at night there on a Sunday, that he may have an opportunity to sign there as well.”
Lynch is the obvious headliner of the two.
But Turbin could fill a key role Sunday, too. He may be asked to take some of the special team snaps Prosise played as well as maybe getting some snaps in what was his usual role with the Seahawks the first time around as a two-minute, third-down back.
Turbin, a fourth-round pick in the famous 2012 draft, was Seattle’s third-leading rusher in each of the 2012, 2013 and 2014 seasons before being waived prior to the 2015 season, a year when Thomas Rawls emerged in camp — Turbin also suffered an ankle injury in the preseason that contributed to his departure .
During his Seattle tenure he also became known as one of the best friends of Russell Wilson after the two struck up an immediate close relationship when they were paired as roommates as rookies.
“Turb and I are best friends,’’ Wilson said Thursday. “He was in my wedding. A guy that I’ve been super close to ever since day one…. Every day, we’ve always supported each other. Our roads have been slightly different, but they’ve been the same. We’ve always supported each other and always been together, even when we’re apart. He’s one of my best friends in the world. A guy who works extremely hard. A guy who’s ready to play, excited to play. He’s a guy who’s tough as nails.”
Turbin, who has also been with Dallas and Cleveland since he was waived by Seattle, said he was just hoping for a chance with any team. But that he landed back in Seattle, he said, is “a dream come true.’’
“It’s obviously really cool,’’ he said. “Marshawn and I laughed about it earlier today. It’s like ‘man, we picked a heck of a week to come back didn’t we, with the NFC West championship on the line for the team.’ I couldn’t think of a better opportunity.’’