ALAMEDA -- Quarterback Derek Carr is quite the recruiter. He generally meets those considering a Raiders tenure when they visit the team facility, especially offensive players looking to join the attack.
That was certainly the case on April 5, when Marshawn Lynch came to see what the Raiders are all about. The Oakland Tech grad and Cal alum is strongly considering a return to professional football after leaving the game a year, and would like to do so representing his hometown team.
The Seattle Seahawks own his rights but have given the Raiders permission to speak with him, with the end goal of Lynch becoming a Raiders with a reworked contract and a trade.
There’s optimism those things will occur, but Lynch officially remains retired at this point. That hasn’t kept Raiders fans from dreaming. Players are doing some of that, too.
“Marshawn is one of the best running backs I’ve played against in my short career so far,” Raiders edge rusher Khalil Mack said Monday, the start of the team’s offseason program. “He’s one hell of a player. It would be a great treat to have him on the dark side. That said, we’re focused on the now. We can’t really control what happens with that. Right now, we’re in the grind.”
Mack played against Lynch in 2015, a 30-24 loss to the Seahawks where he had 143 yard total offense and two touchdowns. Mack met Lynch at his absolute best, during a season when he averaged 4.7 yards per carry and led the league with 17 total touchdowns.
The reigning NFL Defensive Player of the Year came away impressed by Lynch’s raw physicality as a runner, and would like to play with him on the same side this time around.
“I think he’s the most physical guy I’ve played against,” Mack said. “We played him in the regular season my second year I believe, and he ran power right at me. I knew then he was one of the most physical guys I’ve played against in terms of running backs.
“Just knowing the type of player he is, he would be a good addition for us.”
Carr tried to sway Lynch into signing as a Raider, something player and team are still considering. There’s a long process involved in such a transaction, but it’s one the Raiders hope to complete in coming days.
“I was here talking to him when he was here,” Carr said. “He’s one heck of a football player. I hope to play with him, but I’m focused on the guys who are here today. Do I hope he gets here? Of course. Who wouldn’t want Marshawn Lynch? We have good running backs, but anyone would be open to adding a good player. You always need more.”
The Raiders have an expensive, hulking offensive line ranked among the best in football. Left guard Kelechi Osemele has tweeted about how he would love Lynch in his backfield. Center and team captain Rodney Hudson feels the same way.
“Great player. Ran for a lot of yards and a lot of touchdowns in the league,” Hudson said. “He’s a great player, but I guess it’s up to other people to figure out if he’s coming or not.”