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Did Marshawn Lynch Just Announce His Retirement Without Using Any Words?

Seattle Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch speaks to young fans at a store in Bellevue, Wash., in November.
Mat Hayward
Getty Images
Seattle Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch speaks to young fans at a store in Bellevue, Wash., in November.

Tweeting an image of football cleats hanging on a wire and one emoji — of a peace sign — was all running back Marshawn Lynch needed to do to get people thinking that he's retiring from football. Lynch, whose reticence regarding the media is legendary, was quickly saluted by his Seattle Seahawks teammates.

The Seahawks haven't officially said Lynch is retiring, and it's highly unlikely that he would hold a news conference to make his plans known and to banter with reporters about his favorite moments in the NFL.

After all, this is the same Lynch who made headlines last year for attending a mandatory pre-Super Bowl news conference at which he repeatedly answered, "I'm just here so I won't get fined."

Citing Lynch's tweet and the reactions from teammate Richard Sherman and team owner Paul Allen thanking the man nicknamed "Beast Mode," the Seahawks' site says it looks like Lynch is retiring after nine years in the NFL.

Allen thanked Lynch "for a great career as a Seahawk." Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson said, "Going to miss sharing the backfield with you 24."

Lynch played his first four seasons with the Buffalo Bills, becoming famous for his rare mix of strength and speed — and his love for running through would-be tacklers. After a trade to the Seahawks in 2010, Lynch thrived, helping to establish the team's identity as a physical and rugged squad.

By many measures, Lynch's career peaked in 2012, when he racked up 1,590 yards, averaging just under 100 yards per game. He carried the ball 2,144 times in the NFL, fumbling the ball away only 14 times. Over his career, he accounted for 11,091 rushing and receiving yards.

Injuries limited Lynch in 2015, when he appeared in seven games and scored three touchdowns.

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Bill Chappell is a writer and editor on the News Desk in the heart of NPR's newsroom in Washington, D.C.

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