Seahawks general manager John Schneider, who hasn't spoken directly with Marshawn Lynch since his retirement, met with reporters Wednesday at the NFL combine.
INDIANAPOLIS — Marshawn Lynch won’t physically be a part of the Seahawks in 2016.
The team he leaves behind, though, will forever bear his imprint, general manager John Schneider said Wednesday at the NFL combine. Schneider’s comments were his first since Lynch retired this month — and the first official confirmation from the team that Lynch has indeed hung it up.
Schneider said he hasn’t spoken with Lynch about his decision but added that he had been in contact with Lynch’s agent, Doug Hendrickson, and knew that an announcement was coming. Lynch signaled his retirement during the Super Bowl when he tweeted a photo of cleats hanging over a wire and a peace symbol.
Schneider joked that it was “a good throw” to get the cleats up there.
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“The guy’s never been a spotlight guy; it’s never been just about him, especially with his teammates,’’ Schneider said. “So I think the way he went out is indicative of the type of player and the type of guy he is — peace symbol and his cleats hanging on a wire.’’
The timing of Lynch’s announcement will help the team prepare for life without him, Schneider said.
But Schneider hopes much of what Lynch brought to the Seahawks will remain.
“When you talk about when we got here (in 2010) it was all about establishing this toughness, this bully mentality with our acquisition, and he really helped us do that — on the defensive side of the ball, too — it wasn’t just about how he ran the football,” Schneider said.
That mentality helped carry the Seahawks to a Super Bowl victory following the 2013 season and another appearance in the game after the 2014 season.
Schneider, though, is confident the Seahawks can continue on a similar path without Lynch.
The Seahawks undoubtedly will do it in a different manner, though, with an offense that figures to be centered more around quarterback Russell Wilson. He threw 24 of his team-record 34 passes in the final eight games of the season with Lynch sidelined because of an abdominal injury.
“Very excited,’’ Schneider said of Wilson’s play down the stretch. “His eyes and his feet were on fire. … He was in that flow of just slowing everything down.’’
A repeat of that performance, or even a step forward, might be easier with the return of a healthy Jimmy Graham at tight end.
Graham suffered a patellar-tendon injury against Pittsburgh on Nov. 29, and Schneider said it’s too soon to say for sure when Graham will be back.
“It’s too early to tell,’’ Schneider said. “It was a very significant injury.’’
But so far so good with Graham’s recovery, Schneider said.
“Jimmy is doing great,’’ Schneider said. “He’s down in Miami working with some people down there, and he’s doing great. He’s got a great attitude about it. Obviously it was a devastating injury for us at the time, but he’s a great guy, got a great attitude about it, and he’s ready to get after it.’’
Schneider sounded more confident that Lynch’s successor at running back, Thomas Rawls, will be back for the beginning of the season after suffering a broken left ankle Dec. 13 at Baltimore.
Asked if there was any concern that Rawls won’t be ready for the start of the season, Schneider said: “Not at this point. He’s doing a great job. He’s working his tail off, and he had a great mentor in Marshawn Lynch to watch and learn from and how the guy attacked the football field. I know he is attacking his rehab just like Marshawn would if he was in that situation.’’
Schneider, though, said Rawls can’t be expected yet to step into Lynch’s shoes despite being one of the top rookies in the NFL in 2015 with 830 yards.
“He definitely has the talent to do it, but we are going get a couple of people in there to compete with him, and he’s recovering from a significant injury as well. … He’s a fun kid and a real talented guy. I just can’t tell you that right now. We’d all go to Vegas if I could tell you that.’’
Regardless of how some of the personnel situations shake out, though, Schneider said the expectations for the Seahawks will remain the same.
“If you watched our last game against Carolina, it really, truly was a microcosm of our season,’’ he said. “We started slow, came on like gangbusters and just didn’t have enough to finish. But (we are) really excited about our young, strong core of players and then trying to keep as many of our unrestricted players as we can and then trying to have a great draft.”