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A timeline of Marshawn Lynch’s possible comeback with the Raiders

Beast Mode retired, but now he may be returning to his hometown team.

Divisional Round - Seattle Seahawks v Carolina Panthers Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images

Marshawn Lynch shockingly announced his retirement from the NFL during Super Bowl 50. It was arguably the greatest piece of unexpected news to break during a Super Bowl.

Since then, Lynch hasn’t been entirely out of the picture, and recently we’ve seen hints that he may come out of retirement to play for his hometown Oakland Raiders. The move would make sense, based on the needs of the Raiders and Lynch’s own ties to the city.

With that said, here’s a timeline of events since Lynch retired:

Feb. 7, 2016 - Marshawn Lynch announces his retirement on Twitter

Lynch was never one to enjoy talking to the media — he did, after all, trademark the phrase “I’m just here so I won’t get fined.” Retiring on Twitter during the Super Bowl probably wasn’t a quiet way to go, but he didn’t have to answer any questions.

It was a fitting way for Lynch to walk away from the game. Or at least that’s what we all assumed at the time.

May 22, 2016 - Richard Sherman says he’s holding out hope Lynch will come back

During a visit to a youth football camp, Richard Sherman told NFL.com that he wasn’t ruling out Lynch coming back.

“I don't put anything past him," Sherman told his former teammate Michael Robinson. "He's about as predictable as a pair of dice. So I don't try to call his plays.”

June 6, 2016 - Lynch confirms his retirement to Showtime

Lynch was emphatic to Sports Illustrated and Showtime that he was, in fact, finished. “No I'm done. I'm done,” he told Jon Wertheim of Sports Illustrated. “I enjoyed my time playing, now it's time to watch my cousins do their thing.”

His agent, Doug Hendrickson, gave us our first hint of what could have been a possible comeback. "Well, I know, I think if you could write the perfect story as far as the last year of his career, if he played, come back to Oakland, it makes sense right? But the reality is, look, he told me he’s done,” Hendrickson told SI.

“With Marshawn, I'll never say never,” Hendrickson said.

Dec. 5, 2016 - Lynch shows up on the Seahawks sideline

The Seahawks were hosting the Carolina Panthers on Sunday Night Football, and Beast Mode showed up to check out his old teammates.

Prior to the game, he was also seen out with a full plate of chicken wings. He showed up around the same time that Thomas Rawls was hurt and the run game was suffering.

March 17, 2017 - A report surfaces that the Raiders want to acquire Lynch

ESPN’s Adam Schefter and Josina Anderson report that the Raiders are interested in signing Lynch, a day after Latavius Murray lands with the Vikings.

March 17, 2017 - Marquette King recruits Lynch on Twitter

No surprise here, as King is one of the most outspoken and fun players in the NFL. He’s never shy about speaking his mind, so he took to Twitter to try to convince Lynch to join the Raiders.

March 18, 2017: Lynch retweets a fan who makes an interesting Raiders observation

Lynch hadn’t tweeted anything about the rumors, but he did retweet a fan who noticed Lynch had once curated a playlist that included a song called “Oakland Raiders”:

It’s not a new playlist — as Mike Florio pointed out, Lynch created it in September 2015. Still, the timing of the retweet raises a few eyebrows.

March 20, 2017: Two more reports come out that Lynch could return to the NFL

First, Ian Rapoport of NFL Network confirmed the Raiders were considering reaching out to Lynch, though they hadn’t done so just yet. A source also told Mike Garafolo that although Lynch hadn’t made a decision either way, he continued to think about coming out of retirement.

Then Peter King wrote in his MMQB column that a source on the West Coast verified the original ESPN report.

“He [Lynch] really wants to play for the Raiders,” King said his source told him. “He also wants to do good things for his foundation in the area. This is a great chance to accomplish both things.”

Lynch’s foundation, Fam 1st Family Foundation, is based in Oakland and aims to help underprivileged youth. Kevin Parker, the director of programs for Fam 1st, told Wertheim that he even refers to Lynch as “Mr. Oakland.”

March 22, 2017 - Lynch’s agent says he misses football, but hasn’t spoken to him about return

Doug Hendrickson, Lynch’s agent, was on KNBR in San Francisco on Tuesday, and gave an update on the running back’s status. He said, "He does miss football, no question," Hendrickson said. "He loves the game of football. He's 30. But until I meet with him this week, you know, I don't know what his mindset is. He's the kind of guy that can shift by the hour."

He clarified that he has yet to see Lynch yet. "Well, in all sincerity, Marshawn's been in Canada," Hendrickson said. "I'm due to see him this week. So he and I have not spoken about this at all. So it was the media who took the ball and kind of ran with it.”

April 5, 2017 - Lynch visits the Raiders

NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport breaks the latest news after silence for a couple of weeks with regards to Lynch rumors.

April 10, 2017 - Report surfaces that Lynch would be interested in Patriots if Raiders don’t work out

Jeff Howe of the Boston Herald threw a curveball report on Lynch, who many automatically assumed would be playing for the Raiders in 2017.

SB Nation’s Jeanna Thomas points out that the rumor is more likely out there to expedite the Raiders’ decision on Lynch, which will be decided once he applies for reinstatement to the NFL. It could also be the Patriots’ way of getting LeGarrette Blount to know that the team is prepared to move on.

April 13, 2017 - Seahawks and Raiders are reportedly working on a trade to get Lynch to Oakland

Since the Seahawks still own the rights to Lynch, something has to change there for Lynch to land in Oakland. According to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, the Seahawks and Raiders are discussing a trade for Lynch.

April 13, 2017 - Lynch and Jalen Richard tease his return

On a Thursday evening, Lynch and Richard tweet things that stirred up all of us eyeing his return to the NFL.

Lynch tweeted the following:

Richard followed it up 12 minutes later with a picture of him with Lynch, and four thinking emojis:

April 14, 2017 - Lynch and the Raiders are reportedly getting closer

NFL Network’s Mike Silver reported that Lynch and the Seahawks had reached a deal. Ian Rapoport would clarify that the two sides had reached an agreement, but that the Seahawks still held his rights. Rapoport added that it was expected a deal would get done.

Later in the early evening, ProFootballTalk’s Mike Florio indicated that the two sides may not have been close after all.


Right now, there’s no telling what Lynch will decide to do. Maybe he leaves those cleats hanging from a power line, continuing to dangle the possibility that one day he will return to the league. Or maybe soon he makes a new, similarly tacit announcement on Twitter that he’s coming back to play for the Raiders, ready for that storybook ending to his career.