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Bills RB Lynch shows up at team facility to work out, not practice

ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. -- Disgruntled Buffalo Bills running back Marshawn Lynch has worked out on his own at team headquarters while continuing to skip practice.

And the sooner Lynch rejoins his teammates, the better, according to Bills safety Donte Whitner.

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"He's the most talented running backs in the National Football League," Whitner said Friday. "We do need him. We do want him. Hopefully, he gets out here soon."

Earlier in the day, Whitner confirmed to The Associated Press that he saw Lynch lifting weights in the training room on Wednesday and Thursday. Later, the Bills sent a message on their Twitter account, announcing that Lynch had worked out at their facility on both days.

That's as close to the practice field as Lynch has come, missing seven days of the Bills' voluntary workouts. Lynch, a 2007 first-round draft pick who lost his starting job to Fred Jackson midway through last season, is unhappy living in Buffalo and believes he needs a fresh start elsewhere after several run-ins with police over the past two years.

The Bills have insisted that they don't intend to trade Lynch, even after drafting Clemson running back C.J. Spiller with the No. 9 overall pick in April.

On Wednesday, Bills coach Chan Gailey offered a one-word answer -- "No" -- when asked if he has heard from Lynch.

Gailey wasn't made available for comment Friday, leaving it unclear why Lynch worked out on his own but didn't practice with the team. The Bills are in the midst of a six-day stretch of voluntary practices, running through Sunday.

A message left with Lynch's agent, Doug Hendrickson, wasn't immediately returned.

Under NFL rules, Lynch would only face a team fine if he missed the Bills' three mandatory minicamp sessions later this month.

Whitner said he hasn't personally spoken to Lynch, but he hoped his teammate gets whatever issues he might have "hammered out." Whitner first noted Lynch's presence at the facility by posting a comment on his Twitter account Thursday.

Lynch's best season came in his rookie year when he had 1,115 rushing yards and seven touchdowns. He's coming off his worst campaign, finishing with 450 rushing yards and two touchdowns in 13 games, including six starts.

Lynch's frustrations stem from the hit that his reputation has taken for off-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 that was in the trunk of a parked car in which he was sitting. Lynch was sentenced to 80 hours of community service and three years' probation.

The gun charge led to the NFL suspending Lynch for the first three games of last season.

Lynch has several times attempted to repair his image. He donated $10,000 last year to sponsor a Buffalo community basketball tournament that was in danger of folding. He also served as the Bills' spokesman for a breast cancer research campaign in 2008.

For the past three years, Lynch has held a free youth football clinic in his hometown of Oakland.

Despite his community work, Lynch hasn't won over all of the Bills' fans, some of whom have turned against him. Lynch also has been the target of at least one false accusation. In January, Lynch was accused of stealing $20 from a police officer's wife. Charges were never filed against him in the matter.

Lynch also has complained of being stopped by police on several occasions, including once last season for playing his music too loud in the Bills' parking lot following a home game.

Last month, in his first public comments this offseason, Lynch told, that he has "never been a quitter" and intends to honor the two years he has left on his contract with the Bills.

"All I can do is showcase what I've got, and if they utilize it, they do. And if they don't, then you know what, they don't," Lynch said. "It's not just an audition for them. 'Cause there's 32 teams in the league, and somebody is always looking."

Copyright 2010 by the Associated Press

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