Marshawn Lynch continues to train in mixed martial arts to prepare for a return to the field for the Seattle Seahawks, and his trainer says there is "no doubt" that the running back will be back.
Ian Rapoport of NFL Network spoke to Tareq Azim, founder and head instructor of Empower Gym in San Francisco, where Lynch has been training since undergoing a hernia surgery in November. Azim told Rapoport that he gives the Seahawks regular updates on the "tremendous strides" Lynch has been making at the gym.
While Azim didn't say there is a target date for Lynch's return, the running back is expected to return to Seattle sometime before Week 17 and could practice before the team's regular season finale against the Arizona Cardinals. Azim said his goal is to get Lynch fully healthy and in the "ideal max state to take this team to the Super Bowl again."
"At the pace he's going, if he keeps doing what he's doing, I have no doubts that he'll be leading the team and the organization when he needs to be there," Azim said.
Lynch has worked with Azim in the past and the trainer said the goal isn't just to get the running back on the field again, but to "release the beast" that has defined Lynch's career.
"Beast Mode is alive," Azim said. "We can all assume this or that, but it's all about how he feels. ... He was like, 'Oh man, I gotta get my legs back.' I'm like, 'Oh my God. You do have your legs back!' But around Marshawn, you can't be normal. You can't have normal be OK. When he does things that are not normal, then it's, 'OK, that's Beast Mode. That's Marshawn.'"
Lynch has played in just seven games in 2015 and has 417 rushing yards with three touchdowns. His injury-filled year will end a streak of four consecutive seasons with more than 1,200 rushing yards and 11 rushing touchdowns for the Seahawks.
His 9,112 career rushing yards are No. 36 in NFL history and he is No. 8 in postseason history with 917 career rushing yards in the playoffs.