ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. -- A lot of people thought Marshawn Lynch would be in another team's backfield by now.
Unless another team makes an irresistible trade offer, Lynch will attend Buffalo Bills training camp at the end of the month.
"I'm here, and I'm going to be here," Lynch told me last week before the Bills wrapped up their mandatory minicamp and broke for the summer.
"I'm ready to play regardless of whether I'm unhappy or not."
Despite persistent comments from general manager Buddy Nix and head coach Chan Gailey that they wanted him on the team, many observers figured Lynch would have been traded or possibly cut because of his attitude.
The team's decision to draft Clemson running back C.J. Spiller ninth overall was viewed as a harbinger of Lynch's departure.
But there are multiple reasons the Bills have held onto Lynch.
Most of them stem from the fact he's a talented running back and only 24 years old. He has played three NFL seasons already and has several more quality seasons to give.
A league source recently told me the Bills would take nothing less than a second-round draft pick for Lynch because they're confident he would go elsewhere and be a star for several years.
Often overlooked is how much of a bargain Lynch is. He has three years left on a contract that paid him substantial money up front. His base salary for this year is $885,000. Not bad for a back who rushed for over 1,000 yards in each of his first two seasons and went to a Pro Bowl.
A subpar third season caused Lynch to lose his job as Buffalo's leading man last year. Fred Jackson took over and performed admirably. Then Spiller was added to the offense.
Lynch didn't seem to have a problem with the backfield troika.
"I'm in the mix," Lynch said. "I'm cool."
While I interviewed Lynch, Spiller walked up from behind and grabbed him in a playful bear hug.
"That's my baby boy right there," Lynch said. "My little little. Junior!"
There clearly was no animosity emanating from Lynch.
"I see things getting better for us as a group," he said. "We all complement each other, I feel. You got a couple backs that just fly. You got some backs that'll just bruise. And then you got backs that can do it all.
"With all of them on the field, it's endless, the amount of production that you can see. But one thing about us all, we're all going to ball."