OAKLAND — Marshawn Lynch will resume his football career where it started.
What began as a rumor more than month ago came to fruition Friday when Michael Silver of the NFL Network reported Lynch had agreed to terms of a contract which will allow the Seattle running back to join the Raiders, not far from where he played in high school at Oakland Tech and in college at Cal.
A trade with the Seahawks still needs to be worked out.
Besides filling an obvious void on the field, Lynch’s acquisition could help soothe hurt feelings of a home fan base which is recovering from the March 27 announcement the Raiders would move to Las Vegas for the 2020 season.
Lynch, who turns 31 on April 22, last played in 2015, gaining 416 yards in seven games in a season marred by hamstring and abdominal injuries.
The Raiders, seeking a power runner after losing leading rusher Latavius Murray in free agency, are hoping Lynch can regain some semblance of peak form. From 2011 through 2014 with Seattle, Lynch rushed for 5,357 yards and scored 48 touchdowns on the ground to go along with eight more as a receiver.
While Lynch has done his best to remain mysterious and avoid reporters in most instances, he was considered the physical and emotional leader of a Seattle team which made the playoffs in each of his last four years.
The Seahawks won the Super Bowl following the 2013 season and lost to New England after 2014, with Seattle famously throwing an interception at the 1-yard line rather than give the ball to Lynch in the game’s final minute.
Lynch averaged 295.3 carries per four season in those four years and his work load with the Raiders would likely be in the 175 to 200 carry range, given an offense that will attack heavily through the air with quarterback Derek Carr plus the presence of change-of-pace second-year runners Jalen Richard and DeAndre Washington.
In 10 seasons, Lynch has 9,112 yards rushing and 74 touchdowns. He played his first four seasons in Buffalo after being a first-round draft pick out of Cal (No. 12 overall), with his career flourishing after being traded to Seattle for fourth and fifth-round draft picks.
While Lynch had his issues in Buffalo, including a hit-and-run accident in 2008 and a suspension on a gun charge, he remains an icon in his hometown. Lynch’s BeastMode apparel company has a store on Broadway in Oakland and his charity Fam 1st Family Foundation focuses on mentoring children in the area.
The Raiders were also linked with Adrian Peterson, another veteran runner with big time credentials who was released by the Minnesota Vikings. Lynch, however, was considered the better fit given the ability to run out of shotgun and pistol formations while Peterson has played almost exclusively with the quarterback under center.
Lynch visited the Raiders facility April 5.
The Raiders finished 2016 as the NFL’s No. 6 rushing team with 1,922 yards and 17 touchdowns. Murray led the Raiders with 788 yards and 12 touchdowns on 195 carries, which in theory could be a work load similar to what the Raiders are hoping for from Lynch this season.
The Raiders begin their offseason program Monday.