NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport reported on Friday's edition of NFL Total Access that Lynch's back issues are chronic and will be a major factor in his decision-making this offseason, according to people close to the star running back. Lynch has compressed cartilage in his back, a condition that will not heal and can get worse as a result of Lynch's punishing running style.
Lynch's back caused him considerable problems this season. It explains why he made the unusual decision to remain on the sideline while his teammates went to the locker room during halftime of Seattle's loss to the Chiefs in November. The game was played in freezing temperatures and Lynch feared his back would tighten up to the extent that he wouldn't be able to play if he went into the locker room.
It was the type of scene that recalled memories of late-period Larry Bird, laid out on the floor in front of the Celtics bench in an effort to keep his troublesome back from locking up. Back injuries can quickly derail careers, and Lynch may be tempted to get out before an on-the-field nuisance becomes a lifelong burden.