Raiders

NFL rumors: Marshawn Lynch to retire for second time in three seasons

190424-marshawn-lynch.jpg
USATSI

NFL rumors: Marshawn Lynch to retire for second time in three seasons

Marshawn Lynch came out of retirement in 2017 to play for his hometown Oakland Raiders. A specific opportunity coaxed him away from exotic vacations and adventures and back to the grind of preparing for NFL football games. He wanted to play at home before his home team was permanently relocated to Las Vegas.

Asked directly during a rare, always epic press conference with local media whether he missed football while away, his answer was simple and direct.

Nope.

He returned to play in the town that helped raise him, one that he champions at every turn through charitable works.

Lynch won’t make one last ride. ESPN reported Wednesday morning that he plans to retire a second time. There’s no word whether Lynch will make a formal announcement, as he did after Super Bowl 50 by tweeting a photo of shoes hanging over a telephone wire, or if the enigmatic rusher is in fact done play. 

He is physically capable of returning for the team’s final season in Oakland, a source said in March, recovered from groin surgery that cut his 2018 season short.

The door was never fully closed on a possible re-signing in part because owner Mark Davis loves Lynch. So does head coach Jon Gruden. But actions speak louder that sentiment in this business and the Raiders started moving on from the legendary runner this offseason.

They signed Isaiah Crowell in late March to join Jalen Richard, DeAndre Washington and Chris Warren III, and are strongly considering running backs high in this week’s NFL draft.

Gruden and general manager Mike Mayock said they wouldn’t make a decision on Lynch until after the draft, but over time that seemed like a hedge in case drafting a runner didn’t work out.

Lynch could eliminate that prospect with his second retirement, ending his Raiders tenure after parts of two seasons. He has 1,502 yards total offense and 10 touchdowns on 332 touches during his time in silver and black, with some iconic moments within. The obvious was him going hyphy on the sideline after a dominant 2017 victory over the New York Jets in his first game in Oakland as a Raider. There also was the long run that helped beat the New York Giants. He was dominant as ever last season, especially in a violent exhibition against Cleveland where he had 130 yards on 20 carries. He suffered a groin injury in a Week 6 loss to Seattle, had surgery to repair it and largely rehabbed on his own.

He just turned 33 years old and the Raiders are trying to get younger at most spots, making it fairly clear the team would move in a different direction.

[RELATED: Gruden reportedly loves Kyler, not Carr as draft nears]

If this is it, Lynch will finish his NFL career with 2,441 rushes for 10,379 yards and 84 touchdowns and 391 receptions for 2,214 yards and nine TDs. He was one of the toughest, most elusive runners of his generation over spells with Buffalo, Seattle and Oakland, especially during his salad days with the Seahawks.

He averaged 4.85 yards per carry in the playoff with nine touchdowns. A 10th likely would’ve secured a second Super Bowl victory for Seattle, but a pass was called instead and the Patriots won at the last minute.

Key Raiders preseason dates, including HBO's 'Hard Knocks' episodes

grudenusa.jpg
USATSI

Key Raiders preseason dates, including HBO's 'Hard Knocks' episodes

The Raiders have an interesting preseason ahead. They have three exhibition games on the road, including one in Canada. They’re headed to Napa for camp, which is possibly, though ultimately uncertain, the last time they will train in Wine Country, with their Las Vegas relocation scheduled for next year.

They have personalities to spare on this unit, which must bond to improve on last year’s 4-12 disappointment. They’ll do so under NFL Films’ watchful eye, with cameras everywhere filming this season’s HBO documentary series “Hard Knocks.”

[RELATED: Raiders mailbag: Defense still clearly behind offense]

Their training camp schedule hasn’t been made official, but Monday’s announcement of report dates gives the preseason some shape.

Here are key dates for the Raiders' summer plans:

As a note, Raiders training camp practices are only open to season-ticket holders and guests by invite only.

Tuesday, July 23: Rookies, first-year players, recently rehabilitating veterans and quarterbacks report for training camp in Napa.
Friday, July 26: Veterans report for training camp in Napa
Saturday, July 27: First full-squad training camp practice.
Monday, July 29: First padded practice in training camp
Tuesday, Aug. 6: “Hard Knocks” with the Raiders premieres at 10 p.m. on HBO
Wednesday, Aug. 7-8: Raiders host joint training camp practices with Los Angeles Rams in Napa
Saturday, Aug. 10: Exhibition opener vs. LA Rams at Oakland Coliseum
Tuesday, Aug. 13: Second episode of “Hard Knocks” airs at 10 p.m. on HBO
Thursday, Aug. 15: Exhibition No. 2 at Arizona Cardinals, 5 p.m. (ESPN)
Tuesday, Aug. 20: Third episode of “Hard Knocks” airs at 10 p.m. on HBO
Thursday, Aug. 22: Exhibition No. 3 vs. Green Bay Packers at IG Field in Winnipeg, 5 p.m. (Bay: KTVU; Vegas KVVU)
Thursday, Aug. 27: Fourth episode of “Hard Knocks” airs at 10 p.m. on HBO
Thursday, Aug. 29: Exhibition No. 4: Aug. 29: Exhibition No. 4 at Seattle Seahawks, 7 p.m. (Bay: KTVU; Vegas KVVU)
Saturday, Aug. 31: Rosters must be decreased from 90 players to the 53-man limit by 1 p.m.
Sunday, Sept. 1: Claiming period ends for waived roster cuts at 9 a.m.
Sunday, Sept. 1: Teams may formally sign a 10-man practice squad
Tuesday Sept. 3: Final episode of “Hard Knocks” airs at 10 p.m. on HBO

Raiders will conduct joint training camp practices with Rams in Napa

grudenmcvayap.jpg
AP

Raiders will conduct joint training camp practices with Rams in Napa

The Raiders and L.A. Rams have agreed to conduct joint training camp practices on Aug. 7-8 in Napa, the Silver and Black announced on Monday.

Adding to the storylines the “Hard Knocks” producers have to follow, now the Raiders and juggernaut Rams will square off for two days of physical work prior to the Aug. 10 preseason opener for both teams at Oakland Coliseum. 

Raiders head coach Jon Gruden and Rams counterpart Sean McVay are old family friends -- McVay also once worked on Gruden’s staff in Tampa Bay -- so the dynamic between the two quote machines should provide TV gold. As if there wasn’t enough to be mined from Antonio Brown, Vontaze Burfict, Richie Incognito and Derek Carr and a team moving to Las Vegas next year already.

These Raiders-Rams practices have been in the works for some time, and will mark the second straight year the Raiders are hosting these workouts in Napa. They practiced against the Lions last year, which proved incredibly productive.

[RELATED: Raiders Mailbag: Defense clearly still well behind offense]

The NFL also announced training camp report dates on Monday. Raiders rookies report to camp on July 23, with veterans due in Napa by July 26. The first full-squad practice is the 27th, with padded sessions a few days after that.