Instead of exploring the possibility of extending his career with another team, Lynch has decided he'll retire after nine years in the NFL. Lynch tweeted a photo of hanging cleats Sunday night during Super Bowl 50:
Shawn Lynch @MoneyLynch
✌🏿 https://t.co/wesip4IhOR2016-2-8 02:46:44
Ian Rapoport of NFL Network confirmed the photo was Lynch's retirement announcement and said the 29-year-old ball-carrier has informed the Seahawks of his decision.
On Monday, Doug Hendrickson, Lynch's agent, confirmed to Tim Booth of the Associated Press that Lynch "intends to retire."
The Seahawks thanked Lynch for his contributions to the team:
Seattle Seahawks @Seahawks
#ThankYouBeastMode https://t.co/kD4CvizhGT2016-2-8 04:37:15
Russell Wilson and Richard Sherman voiced support of their teammate:
Russell Wilson @DangeRussWilson
Honor playing with one of the best running backs of all time! Going to miss sharing the backfield with you 24... #BeastMode @MoneyLynch2016-2-8 04:55:09
Richard Sherman @RSherman_25
Salute to my guy @MoneyLynch ... It was an honor sharing the field with you.2016-2-8 02:55:39
The fact that he turns 30 in April suggests Lynch may have a bit more left in the tank before he truly starts to decline. He did have to undergo surgery on a sports hernia in November and was banged up throughout 2015, though, as the wear and tear of his physical running style began taking a toll.
Lynch has often been the subject of controversy for spurning the media, but teammates have publicly applauded his work ethic and how he performs on the gridiron. Seattle built its offensive identity around Lynch for years, helping Wilson progress at a steady rate with a great rushing attack to complement him.
As a Seahawk, Lynch strung together four straight seasons of over 1,000 yards on the ground following the midseason trade in 2010 that sent him over from Buffalo.
Delisa Lynch @MommaLynch24
When one door closes God opens another one even better thank you Jesus!!!!! https://t.co/QwB7CYUorT2016-2-8 04:32:39
"Beast Mode" is one of the best ball-carriers in recent memory—a rare power runner with a blend of acceleration, toughness and lateral quickness that helped him remain among the game's most prolific skill players.
With two years still remaining on his contract, per Spotrac, Lynch could always have a change of heart and decide to return to the gridiron in 2016.
He may want to avoid the rigors of training camp and part ways with Seattle on good terms. The team was reportedly asking him to take a significant pay cut to return, per Bleacher Report's Jason Cole.
As it currently stands, Lynch racked up 9,112 yards rushing and 74 touchdowns on the ground in his career across nine seasons along with 1,979 yards and nine more scores on 252 receptions. He was originally a member of the Buffalo Bills as the 12th overall pick in the 2007 NFL draft, but he had his most memorable years with the Seahawks.
Replacing someone as special as Lynch is no small task for Seattle, but there's reason for the organization to still have high hopes despite losing one of its franchise cornerstones.
In Lynch's nine-game absence this past season, Wilson played the best football of his life, pulling the Seahawks out of an early funk to make the playoffs. Rookie running back Thomas Rawls also performed well, rushing for 830 yards in 13 games while averaging 5.6 yards per tote as Lynch's primary replacement.
Player-safety issues have become increasingly prominent in recent years. With a number of excellent seasons under his belt and a Lombardi Trophy in tow, it's unlikely Lynch will have many regrets about how his career has come to a close if this truly is it.
The next conversation to take place is whether Lynch is a Pro Football Hall of Famer.
With one of the most famous postseason runs in history—the "Beast Quake"—on his resume, steady production in his prime and an integral role on a championship team, there's enough merit for Lynch to someday have a bust in Canton, Ohio.