Two months ago, I wrote up a little something about the possibility of Marshawn Lynch facing a suspension for a 2012 DUI arrest. It was pertinent at the time because the 49ers face the Seahawks in Week 2, and a suspension could have impacted the game.
Well, it seems like an early season suspension could be off the table, and more importantly, Lynch may not face a suspension at all. Our friends at Field Gulls have an update on the situation, as a potential trial is pushed back. A hearing had been scheduled for last Friday on a motion to suppress evidence. That hearing has been re-scheduled for November 1, with a readiness hearing scheduled for December 27. The league could consider discipline before then, but at this point, there is no word from the league office about Lynch.
With that in mind, Field Gulls provided some useful in their post that would indicate Lynch is more likely to face a fine. According to Pro Football Talk, DUIs are disciplined under the league's substance abuse policy, as opposed to the personal conduct policy. Lynch was suspended three games in 2009 for a gun charge, but has never been disciplined under the substance abuse policy. A first offense under the substance abuse policy is usually a fine.
It is possible the league could somehow use both policies and impose a suspension, but even if they do, it won't be happening anytime soon. That means we can expect Lynch on the field when the 49ers travel to Century Link Field in Week 2.
Lynch combines with Robert Turbin and Christine Michael to form a pretty dynamic trio of backs. Turbin and Michael have plenty to prove, but on pure talent alone, the Seahawks are in good shape at running back. James Brady ranked them second in the NFC West, and I'd say that's pretty fair. Turbin showed some things last year, but I think the combination of Kendall Hunter and LaMichael James has proven more and has a bit more upside in their roles behind Frank Gore. You can also check out Revenge of the Birds' take on the running backs.
Overall, the division has a lot of young talent, as well as two veteran workhorses in Frank Gore and Marshawn Lynch. We talk plenty about Colin Kaepernick and Russell Wilson, but we can't forget the strength each team has in the running game. These teams have dynamic passing attacks, but there is a basis in a powerful rushing game.