The writing was arguably on the wall throughout the 2015 NFL season, but it appears the end is finally here for Marshawn Lynch. The Seattle Seahawks star running back announced via Twitter (and with emoticons) that he is done with the NFL, while the team’s official Twitter “retweeted” Lynch’s announcement, likely confirming the news.

Reports earlier in the week suggested Lynch had already told those close to him he was done, but his personal tweet just about cemented the rumors. Lynch endured an injury-ravaged 2015 campaign that was sidetracked for the second half of the year due to sports hernia surgery. Lynch ended up returning in the Divisional Round of the playoffs to face the Carolina Panthers, but wasn’t overly effective in a 31-24 loss. Lynch was in a spiral of sorts stemming back to last year’s Super Bowl, where he could have capped an amazing three-year run with Seattle’s second title, but instead of feeding “Beast Mode”, Seattle inexplicably decided to toss a slant pass into the end-zone. Russell Wilson’s pass was picked off, ending Seattle’s bid as repeat champions.

The end of Lynch’s career is still a successful one that fans will look back on and cherish, however, as Lynch was one of the most physical, menacing rushers in the entire league. Lynch first busted out his “Beast Mode” persona in a massive upset over the New Orleans Saints during the ___ playoffs. From there, he and the Seahawks built a perfect relationship that led to four straight elite seasons with 1,200+ yards and 11+ rushing scores.

Lynch was not the same player for much or 2015, as the 29-year old back was slowed by injuries and an ineffective offensive line. Regardless, Lynch still closed out what figures to be his final NFL season with 417 rushing yards and three scores in just seven games. The team will have a tough time replacing Lynch’s personality and edge as a player, but they should get Thomas Rawls and Christine Michael back and healthy for 2016. Drafting a running back or seeking one out in free agency (Matt Forte, perhaps?) is probably in order for the Seahawks, as well.

The loss of Lynch is not one to be taken lightly, but the Seahawks evolved into a very good team even without their iconic rusher in the second half of the year. That should ease concerns that the Seahawks can’t win without “Beast Mode”, so chatter regarding Seattle not being a title contender again in 2016 is more than just premature. Seattle arguably suffered from a bit of a Super Bowl “hangover” and even without Lynch, should remain in the mix to make a push for yet another Super Bowl appearance.

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