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Seahawks GM: Marshawn Lynch is 'leaning toward retirement'

Seattle Seahawks general manager John Schneider said during a radio interview Friday that he thinks star running back Marshawn Lynch "is leaning toward retirement."

"I know that we're going to treat him with as much respect as we possibly can here, and give him a little leeway to kind of find his way in terms of what he wants to do," Schneider told 710 ESPN Seattle. "But I'm under the impression that he's leaning toward retirement."

In a second interview on KJR-AM later Friday, Schneider hedged his comments slightly but reiterated that he thought Lynch was considering stepping away.

"I really, honestly don't know at this point," Schneider said. "If you put a gun to my head I would say he is leaning toward retirement. But I think with Marshawn you never really know. He's a fierce competitor. We just have to handle it the right way in terms of showing him as much respect as we possibly can for everything he's done for this organization."

After an injury-filled season during which Lynch played in just seven regular-season games, the Seahawks must determine whether it's time to move on or keep him for another season at a hefty cost.

A five-time Pro Bowler, Lynch will cost $11.5 million against Seattle's salary cap for the 2016 season if he returns. No one was willing to make definitive statements Monday, one day after Seattle's season ended in a 31-24 loss to the Carolina Panthers in an NFC divisional playoff game.

"We'll figure it out," coach Pete Carroll said. "It depends on how he comes back and how he works at it and all that kind of stuff. He had a difficult year physically."

Lynch was limited to just 111 carries and 417 yards in the regular season because of a hamstring injury early in the season and abdominal surgery in late November that sidelined him for the final seven games of the regular season.

Lynch appeared ready to return for the NFC wild-card game at Minnesota, but backed out of making the trip to Minneapolis on the Friday before the game, telling the team he didn't think he could play. Lynch returned for Sunday's game at Carolina but was barely a factor in the run game with Seattle quickly falling behind 14-0 and trailing 31-0 at halftime.

While Lynch was out in the regular season, rookie Thomas Rawls emerged as a potential replacement long term. Rawls led Seattle with 830 yards rushing in the regular season and averaged 5.6 yards per carry before suffering a broken ankle in Week 14 at Baltimore.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

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