The Marshawn era ends ... at last



Yeah, so the Marshawn Lynch era skidded to an unceremonious end in Western New York, when the ex-Bills running back was dealt to the Seattle Seahawks earlier this week.

There's no need to rehash all the lowlights, especially off the field, where his self-destructive behavior made Sid Vicious's escapades seem dignified by comparison. Most of the peanut-gallery potshots have come in the form of dismay that all Buffalo got in return was a fourth-round pick, which, if history tells us anything, Buffalo will squander on an undersized linebacker from a Division II school.

Truth is, that's the best the team could've ever gotten. Remember, Lynch is one off-field slip-up from taking a mandatory eight-game (or longer) sabbatical from the field. No surprise that Seattle coach Pete Carroll would be so willingly ignorant of extracurricular factors with his players. He certainly made a name for himself in Southern California looking the other way, so Lynch is the perfect fit with the 'Hawks.

Luckily for Carroll, pro players have their own money to foolishly squander, but if Lynch runs afoul of the law in Washington State or California (I'm thinking sometime in early January, as soon as Seattle's season ends), that fourth-round pick will suddenly look pretty good. But the folks who thought the return ought to be a second- or third-round choice are living in a fantasy land. Just think, the Patriots got a third-round pick from Minnesota for Randy Moss, whose value seems infinitely higher than Lynch's.

Lynch's bulldozer-in-fifth-gear running style and his penchant for off-field foolishness ensure he'll be out of football within three years, whether he ends up on injured reserve or in the clink. The fewer of those seasons in Buffalo, the better.

But to say the Bills handled this situation admirably would be way off the mark. He should've been long gone even before camp started in July, if not sooner, especially given the selection of C. J. Spiller in April. There must've been teams seeking a deal on draft day and afterwards, and I doubt Seattle, Green Bay, or whichever other teams sought Lynch's services were offering much more than what the Bills got this week.

You wonder why the Nix-Gailey regime perpetuated the silly charade that their three-man backfield was the best route to take. Did they think The Beast would be seen as valuable enough to start a bidding war between his suitors? Did they actually think he'd bust out with a 100-yard, two-touchdown effort in any of these games, especially having to share carries with Spiller and Fred Jackson?

Heck, who knows what they thought, and I'm fatigued from trying to figure it out. Gailey's favored starting quarterback was cut by Week Three, he's been thoroughly out-coached after halftime (when NFL games are basically won or lost) and his other personnel and in-game moves make me scratch my aching head more with each passing week. I'm left to believe the football department "showcased" Lynch these first few weeks to bloat his fallen stock, but even casual fans can see that there's less daylight beyond this offensive line than July in Antarctica.

No one bemoans the Bills for dealing Lynch, but unless some compelling reasons surface after the fact, we'll always be left to ponder why they waited this long. I'm still waiting for a sign—any sign—that Nix and his braintrust know how to operate a pro football front office; that surely the franchise is better off than with the previous regimes' repeated failures.

But while the Lynch deal needed to happen, that it took this long and required this much thought and analysis doesn't provide any evidence of that. I can understand that fans, drunk on beer, bratwurst grease and delusion, would overvalue Lynch. But that Nix and Gailey might've is distressing indeed.

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