Oakland Raiders

Why Marshawn Lynch has probably played his last game in Oakland with the Raiders

Raiders running back Marshawn Lynch (24) runs against the Los Angeles Rams during the season opener Sept. 10 at the Coliseum. The Raiders placed Lynch on injured reserve Monday. He’s not eligible to return until Christmas Eve.
Raiders running back Marshawn Lynch (24) runs against the Los Angeles Rams during the season opener Sept. 10 at the Coliseum. The Raiders placed Lynch on injured reserve Monday. He’s not eligible to return until Christmas Eve. hamezcua@sacbee.com

Unless Marshawn Lynch has a Christmas gift in mind for his hometown fans, he’s likely played his last game in Oakland as a Raider.

Lynch was placed on injured reserve with a groin injury Monday, just a few hours after the Raiders traded wide receiver Amari Cooper to the Dallas Cowboys for a first-round draft pick.

Players on injured reserves are out a minimum of six weeks, then have two weeks of practice time before being eligible to play in a game. That means the earliest Lynch could see the field again is on Christmas Eve in the Raiders’ regular-season home finale against the Denver Broncos.

The Raiders finish the season Dec. 30 at Kansas City.

Lynch, 32, leads the Raiders with 331 yards on 77 carries. He’s under contract through this season with a salary-cap number of $4,453,153. Lynch has given no indication about his plans for 2019 and if he’d consider returning to the Raiders.

Teams are allowed to designate two players to return off injured reserve in a season, with defensive tackle Justin Ellis and tackle Donald Penn possibilities to play again in 2018.

Since coming out of retirement last season and being traded to the Raiders from the Seattle Seahawks, Lynch gained 1,267 yards and scored 10 touchdowns in 21 games.

Without Lynch, the duties as the lead runner will fall to Doug Martin, signed as a free agent in the offseason. Martin (5-foot-9, 223 pounds), who played for Tampa Bay for six seasons, has 99 yards on 27 carries as Lynch got most of the work.

The Raiders can also give more carries to running back Jalen Richard, who has been primarily a third-down back for the passing game, and DeAndre Washington, another third-year runner who had arthroscopic knee surgery late in training camp and has yet to carry the ball this season.

“I’ll probably see a little bit more carries, so we don’t overload Doug and everything,” Richard said. “Then we got D-Wash coming up, probably going to come up and give us help that way too.

“As far as us being worried Marshawn being out, it’s a big loss because you can’t bring another Marshawn Lynch into the game. But we’ve got a solid room of backs that can get the job done.”

Vanderdoes practices — Defensive tackle Eddie Vanderdoes, a third-round pick out of UCLA a year ago, practiced for the first time Monday.

Vanderdoes, a Placer High School product, begins a three-week window during which he can practice. The Raiders can activate him at any point during that time or place him on injured reserve after the three weeks are up.

Et cetera — The trade of Cooper and designating Lynch for injured reserve gives the Raiders two open roster spots. James Cowser, who played for the Raiders last season as a linebacker and defensive end, was added to the practice squad. He replaces Jason Cabinda, who was promoted to the 53-man roster after linebacker Derrick Johnson was released.

Guard Kelechi Osemele, who has missed the last two games because of a knee injury, was on the field for warmups and drills but was not wearing a helmet.

  Comments