Will Lynch end up in Canton? ‘He is borderline Hall of Fame material’

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SEATTLE – Is Beast Mode a Hall of Famer?

After Marshawn Lynch announced his retirement this week, talk around the country to his future as a possible Hall of Famer.

The consensus seems to be that his numbers are on the low side for a place in Canton, but his impact on the game was so significant over the past few years that he might just make it in.

ESPN’s Mike Sando – who might be the best person to ask, seeing as how he gets a say – wrote that Lynch has a case.

A long list of running backs have rushed more times for more yards than Lynch, but few struck fear into opposing coaches and players the way Lynch consistently did during his five-plus seasons with the Seattle Seahawks. I’ve watched game tape with coaches who pointed out defenders making what they called “business decisions” to avoid collisions with Lynch. The way Lynch ran, preserved by his “Beast Mode” run against the Saints in the playoffs five years ago, is what differentiates him.

NFL.com asked seven analysts what they thought. Only two were firm “no” votes. Jeffri Chadiha was one of those;  he said Lynch will find the going tough because he played in the wrong era.

Lynch would be a strong candidate had he played in the 1970s, but this is a different day. Voters probably would question the fact that he didn’t surpass 10,000 yards rushing. He also was never the best back of his day, which was an honor that belonged to Adrian Peterson.

Charles Casserly, on the other hand, write that Lynch is on the cusp.

When it comes to running backs, LaDainian Tomlinson is a sure bet. I would vote for Edgerrin James, too. As for Lynch, I would say he is borderline Hall of Fame material. He’s been a very good back, especially in the playoffs. Perhaps if he had not been in Buffalo early in his career, he would have better numbers. Of course, you could say that about a lot of players who did not play for playoff teams.

Closer to home, the Seattle PI’s Stephen Cohen tried to parse whether Lynch will be helped or hindered by having similar numbers to Hall of Famer Earl Campbell.

He reeled off four straight seasons with more than 1,200 rushing yards and never scored fewer than 11 touchdowns in each of those campaigns.

If the 29-year-old Lynch doesn’t change his mind about hanging up his cleats and never plays another down, he finishes his career with 9,112 rushing yards and 74 rushing touchdowns in nine seaons. Those marks don’t exactly clinch things for Lynch, ranking 36th and 24th in NFL history, respectively. (But don’t forget his 252 receptions for 1,979 yards and nine more touchdowns to boot.)

His rushing numbers are nearly identical — and his rushing style similar — to former Houston Oilers great Earl Campbell (9,875 yards and 78 touchdowns), but Campbell — a Hall of Fame inductee in 1991 — compiled his in 14 fewer games. That’s nearly an entire season.

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