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Seahawks land veteran RB Lynch in trade with Bills

  • By NFL.com Wire Reports
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A fresh start for Marshawn Lynch. A rugged runner for the Seattle Seahawks' lagging ground game.

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And a clear sign that the rebuilding continues in Buffalo.

The Bills gave up on Lynch as their featured ball carrier Tuesday, trading him to the Seahawks for two undisclosed draft picks.

NFL Network insider Jason La Canfora reported via a league source that one of the picks will be a fourth-round selection in the 2011 NFL Draft.

The deal clears the way for Buffalo to give more playing time to Fred Jackson and first-round draft pick C.J. Spiller in the backfield. And Seattle hopes Lynch can provide a spark that was missing from its run game through the first four weeks of the season.

"We bring a guy into the program that we think is going to give us a little boost," Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said after practice Tuesday. "You know that we've emphasized trying to get this running game in order. We hope that he'll help in that regard. We're pleased to get that done. We'll move forward this week. It's good we're on a break. It doesn't disrupt a game-week preparation, and we'll get him in here as soon as possible and we'll get to work."

The Seahawks (2-2) have a bye week following their 20-3 loss to the St. Louis Rams on Sunday. That gives Lynch time to become acclimated to Seattle's offense and potentially be on the field Oct. 17 when the team visits the Chicago Bears.

"We're going to bring him in to play a lot," Carroll said. "We'll wait and see when we get him here, but we're bringing him in here to play a bunch."

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The Seahawks released running back Julius Jones, their leading rusher the past two seasons, to clear a roster spot for Lynch. Jones restructured his contract and took a hefty pay cut right before the start of the season, then carried the ball just 12 times for 30 yards and was inactive Sunday against the Rams.

Seattle's run game has struggled through four games, ranking 27th in the NFL with 79.5 yards per game. The Seahawks were held below 80 rushing yards three times, putting more pressure on veteran quarterback Matt Hasselbeck.

Without a clear No. 1 running back, the Seahawks ran by committee before settling on speedy Justin Forsett the past two weeks. Forsett had a season-high 19 carries Sunday against the Rams, but he managed just 65 yards. Seattle hasn't seen a back approach 1,000 yards since Shaun Alexander was the league MVP in 2005 after running for 1,880 yards and 27 touchdowns in the team's NFC championship season.

Now Forsett and Lynch -- teammates at the University of California -- are reunited in Seattle. Lynch was a groomsman at Forsett's wedding earlier this year.

"We're different backs, but I think they complement it well," Forsett said. "If you go back at Cal, we had a nice little one-two punch there, and it's always exciting. Any given moment, any one of us could break, and it was pretty fun. We just have fun together."

Also on Tuesday, the Seahawks re-signed offensive lineman Chester Pitts -- who was cut last week -- and released lineman Evan Dietrich-Smith.

On the other side, the Lynch trade only highlights the much larger rebuilding job in front of the Bills (0-4), who lost to the New York Jets 38-14 last weekend and play host to the Jacksonville Jaguars on Sunday. Last week, first-year Bills coach Chan Gailey released former starting quarterback Trent Edwards, who is now with the Jaguars.

"Marshawn has worked hard and played hard for us this season and we certainly appreciate his efforts," first-year Bills general manager Buddy Nix said in a statement released by the team. "We are constantly evaluating our personnel and feel that this is a good move for our team's future."

Spiller shared warm thoughts about Lynch on Tuesday.

“He was a great teammate and I wish him all the best,” Spiller told buffalobills.com. “Our friendship was more like a brotherhood and I’m definitely going to stay in contact with him.”

The Bills filled Lynch's roster spot by signing rookie running back Andre Anderson off their practice squad, a league source told La Canfora.

After losing his starting job to Jackson last season, Lynch reclaimed the job in Week 2 this year and led the Bills with 37 carries for 164 yards. In 45 career games, he has 2,765 rushing yards and 17 touchdowns, along with 670 receiving yards and one score.

The deal, made two weeks before the NFL trade deadline, marks a turnaround in philosophy for the Bills, who said last spring that they didn't intend to trade Lynch. He had been seeking a fresh start after his reputation in Buffalo took a hit following off-the-field troubles.

In June 2008, Lynch pleaded guilty to a traffic violation and admitted to driving off after striking a female pedestrian with his car near Buffalo's downtown bar district. In March 2009, Lynch pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor gun charge in Los Angeles, after police discovered a semiautomatic handgun in a backpack of the trunk of a parked car in which Lynch was sitting.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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