ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. -- Oakland Raiders running back Marshawn Lynch was back practicing on his old high school turf this week, and if not for his one-game suspension, Lynch could have made a return to his old NFL stomping grounds Sunday.
In his almost six seasons with Seattle, ending with his surprise retirement after the 2015 season, Lynch played his former team only once: a 50-17 Seahawks win in 2012 in which Lynch ran 10 times for 113 yards and one touchdown. That game was technically a home contest for the Bills, but it was played in Toronto as part of the team's ill-fated series north of the border.
From his habit of eating Skittles on the sideline to his use of the line, "I'm just here so I won't get fined" during Super Bowl XLIX media day in Feb. 2015, Lynch became a well-known figure nationally during his time with the Seahawks. He also excelled on the field, earning Pro Bowl nods in four consecutive seasons with Seattle (2011-14).
Lynch's time in Buffalo has been overshadowed. After the Bills selected Lynch with the 12th pick in the 2007 draft, he rushed for 2,151 yards in his first two seasons. Only Adrian Peterson had more yards (3,101) in his first two seasons among 2007 rookie running backs.
Off-field trouble followed Lynch during his time with the Bills. In May 2008, he struck a pedestrian while driving at 3:30 a.m. in Buffalo's bar district and did not stop. He later pleaded guilty to a traffic violation. He also was arrested in February 2008 in Los Angeles and pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of having a concealed firearm in his vehicle.
Regime change in Buffalo after the 2009 season played a role in him being traded to Seattle. Lynch had been drafted by a front office that included general manager Marv Levy and vice president of college scouting Tom Modrak to play in coordinator Steve Fairchild's offense under coach Dick Jauron. By 2010, the Bills had fired Jauron, Levy had retired and Buddy Nix had taken over as general manager.
Nix's first draft pick was C.J. Spiller, the ninth overall selection in 2010 who fit new coach Chan Gailey's spread-based offense. With Fred Jackson having emerged in 2009 with a 1,062-yard rushing season, the Bills' backfield was crowded. Lynch became expendable.
In return for Lynch, the Bills received Seattle's fourth-round selection in 2011 (used to pick offensive tackle Chris Hairston) and fifth-round selection in 2012 (used to select linebacker Tank Carder).
Neither Hairston nor Carder became long-term contributors for Buffalo. Hairston played out the four seasons of his rookie contract, starting 15 games between 2011 and 2012 before missing the 2013 season with an undisclosed illness. He has played for the Chargers since 2015, but he will miss the remainder of this season with an undisclosed illness.
Carder was waived during roster cut-downs of his rookie season and claimed by the Cleveland Browns. He played in 78 games for Cleveland over the past five seasons before landing on injured reserve this August with a torn ACL.