Marshawn still the man, but Christine Michael’s star is rising

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With the big news of the recent arrival of running back Marshawn Lynch at Seattle Seahawks minicamp, 12s across the Northwest and the world were able to give the old sigh of relief and get back to what really matters: trembling with anticipation for the next Super Bowl run.

The off-season team activities were voluntary up to this point, but the minicamp is not. Both are held at the Virginia Mason Athletic Center (VMAC) in Renton, Washington.

During his time as a Seahawk, Lynch’s unrelentingly brutal running style has earned him a (very well justified) following, even among fans of other teams. But his age (28 is crotchety for a running back, especially for one as attacking and physical as Lynch) and contract situation (due $5 million in 2014) has unleashed viral speculation that he could be cut, or even retire.

The Seahawks front office, led by General Manager John Schneider, has always taken the long view on things such as these, and has planned for all eventualities. In the 2013 draft, the Seahawks drafted running back Christine Michael in the second round (#62 overall).

NFL Combine Football

via seahawks.com

In his first year at Texas A&M, Michael was named Big 12 offensive Freshman of the Year by the coaches after rushing for a team-leading 844 yards and 10 touchdowns. In his second season, he had three 100-yard performances in the first three games. In game eight, he had a season-ending tibia-fracture of his right leg against Texas Tech. In his junior year, in Texas A&M’s loss to Arkansas, Michael rushed for 230 yards and three touches. He finished the year with 899 yards and eight TDs.

C-Mike was injured again, this time his left ACL against Oklahoma. Christine Michael is a low, powerful runner  who drives with his legs and can hit a hole and explode into the second level. The transition from Beast Mode into a-guy-with-a-girl’s-name mode might possibly turn out to be seamless and without much let up in the level of play. But realistically, with his history of injuries, it is highly doubtful Christine Michael could handle Lynch’s hardcore workload. Lynch is also a great pass catcher – he’s quarterback Russell Wilson’s safety valve. Receiving is a questionable area for Christine Michael.

By the way, his name is pronounced “Chris-STIN.”

Michael’s injuries are troubling, but it’s the reason the Seahawks were able to get him in the second round. And as for the receiving, it looks like Seattle’s passing game is getting a bit of a retooling this season, with a (hopefully) healthy Percy Harvin and the emergence of spectacular rookies Paul Richardson and Kevin Norwood and the inevitable growth of Russell Wilson into the elite quarterback it seems his fate to be. Michael would be more of a role player than Lynch, who is, let’s face it, the workhorse of this offense the last two seasons, including through the Super Bowl.

Marshawn Lynch deserves more money. His fans deserve to see him play for the Seahawks – and they will, for at least one more season. But the times, baby, they just never stop a changin’.

And John Schneider and the Seahawks just keep on rolling.

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