ALAMEDA -- Marshawn Lynch was set to miss a month or more with a groin injury that he suffered against the Seattle Seahawks in London.
Now the Raiders running back is guaranteed to miss eight weeks -- and maybe the rest of the season.
The Silver and Black placed Lynch on injured reserve Monday afternoon. They could designate him to return off IR in time to play the season’s final home game, a Christmas Eve tilt in primetime, against the Pittsburgh Steelers.
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Maybe. If he’s ready and physically able and wants to play one final game in front of his hometown. The Oakland native is in the final year of his contract.
Lynch has retired before, following the 2015 season, and didn’t come back because he missed the sport. He wanted to play in Oakland while the city he loves still has an NFL team, to help bring attention to charitable efforts in the community.
He will never be a Las Vegas Raider, but it’s possible the enigmatic rusher will return in 2019 on a new deal. It's just as likely Lynch will walk off into the sunset.
There’s a small prospect he will return this season, not that the team is going anywhere after a disastrous 1-5 start. Lynch can practice with the team after six weeks and play after eight.
Doug Martin will assume Lynch’s role as the Raiders' featured back, with Jalen Richard being the primary third-down back. DeAndre Washington also should be active for the first time this season.
The Raiders can designate two players to return off IR. Defensive tackle Justin Ellis and offensive tackle Donald Penn also are candidates to come back after being on injured reserve.
Lynch was acquired in a trade with the Seahawks before the 2017 season, after which he came out of retirement and signed with the Silver and Black. He has 1,267 yards and 10 touchdowns on 297 carries as an Oakland Raider. Lynch found dominant form this season, and was running with trademark violence even at age 32.