It has been more than 14 months since running back Marshawn Lynch last played a football game.
But Seattle Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said he is not concerned about the readiness of Lynch, 33, to play Sunday night against the 49ers in a game that will decide the NFC West champion.
“I don’t think we should ever set any expectations that are too low for Marshawn,” Carroll said Tuesday in a conference call with Bay Area reporters. “We’re going to go into this game and try to win the football game.”
Lynch spent six seasons with Carroll and the Seahawks. He rushed for 6,347 yards and 79 touchdowns while being the focal point of the team’s offense. He played the past two seasons with his hometown Oakland Raiders.
“This is not a relationship that didn’t have some kind of roots in it from all the time we spent together and all the fun we had,” Carroll said.
“I’m really glad we have a chance to bring him back and the opportunity he has to come back to a place where he did so much work to be a great part of the community and the program. He’s a great competitor, and I love putting him back on the team.”
The Seahawks signed Lynch on Monday after experiencing season-ending injuries to their top three running backs. Carroll credited Seahawks general manager John Schneider for being prepared to act in case the team had a rash of injuries at running back.
Seattle also signed Robert Turbin, who played for the Seahawks from 2012 to ’14, to join rookie Travis Homer as the team’s running backs. Turbin has not played in a game this season. He appeared in just two games in 2018 with the Indianapolis Colts.
Carroll said Lynch and Turbin have been working out and preparing for the opportunity that became available after lead back Chris Carson (hip) and C.J. Prosise (forearm) sustained season-ending injuries in Week 16 in a loss to the Arizona Cardinals. Rashaad Penny sustained a season-ending ACL injury earlier this month.
“They worked hard to be ready, so I’m not worried about that,” Carroll said of Lynch and Turbin.