No more hide-and-seek: Lynch, Bills must talk

Multiple Bills personnel will be subpoenaed in the lingering Marshawn Lynch probe. It's time for the facts and fast. As BFR's Tyler Dunne explains, this has become a distraction almost beyond repair. It's time for Lynch to man-up and have some accountability.

Expectations are at a decade-high.

Three straight lights-out drafts have infused the roster with talent on the rise.

And yet, there's a stark feeling of dismay hovering over the Buffalo Bills. A flailing gun, a holdout and above all, a lingering hit-and-run case linked to the Bills' best player have drastically put a damper on the mood at One Bills Drive. This is supposed to be a time of hope and promise – something like those over-energetic, 30-minute Team Yearbook videos that can polish manure into gold.

Only this is real – something no John Facenda voiceover could ever sugarcoat.

Buffalo fans have plenty of reasons to watch their team this season. Herky-jerky train wreck J.P. Losman is no longer the starter, and the ice-cold cool Trent Edwards is. The offensive line is arguably the franchise's best ever, a claim statistics back up. The defense? Drastically fortified at each level this past off-season.

But one night at the corner of Chippewa Street can change all of that.

Marshawn Lynch is running from a serious crime like an absolute coward. He's ducking, dodging and hiding from any questions about that night, even though a district attorney said he was the driver of an SUV that hit a pedestrian at 3:30 a.m. on Saturday, May 31. While the Duke Lacrosse rape scandal certainly taught everyone to never presume guilt, there is a distinct difference here.

The Duke players charged for rape talked immediately, fully willing to provide any and all information to authorities. They willingly provided DNA samples and went out of their way to get the truth out. They aggressively sought to defend themselves, because they knew the truth.

Lynch isn't. Instead, he's shutting down reporters with the "No Comment" cop-out. Hmm. Suspicious, isn't it?

No coachspeak can cover up the fact that the longer Lynch stays mum, the bigger this distraction grows. By not helping police settle this serious case once and for all, Lynch is hurting himself and the entire Bills team. The organization eloquently tip-toed around Hardy allegedly pulling a gun on his father, but no spin can silence this PR killer.

The Bills should have a buzz about them right now. They have a wild card-caliber roster, and steadfast coaches that have instilled a strong foundation. The primary focus right now should be 100 percent football-related. Offensive installations of Turk Schonert's new offense. Creative formation designs to utilize individual strengths on both sides of the ball. This is what the focus should be right now. Instead, Buffalo's engine, their workhorse, their best player is involved with a sickening, dehumanized crime.

Hitting another person with your car, and driving away as if it were a squirrel cannot be underestimated. Was Lynch indeed the driver? The comments from Lynch's legal team (and common sense) says ‘yes.' It's time for the '06 first-round pick to man-up and be accountable. Dick Jauron has made accountability his platform as head coach. If the team's best player doesn't abide by the credo of the organization, what kind of message is being sent throughout the team? It wasn't too long ago that the Cincinnati Bengals had more players in jail than the training room. The Bills can't tread down that path of no return.

Let's hope that behind the scenes Jauron has his sleeves rolled up and is doing some interrogating himself and not coddling to his bread-winning back.

According to The Buffalo News, Lynch has a history on Chippewa Street. Their report said that in recent months Lynch has been tossed out of two bars on the street for bringing in his own bottle of liquor.

"[Buffalo police] have been told by bar owners that he'll walk in, order a glass of pop and pour his own liquor into it," one officer said in the article. "He was told that you can't do that, and it doesn't matter if you're Marshawn Lynch."

Police said they've gotten no cooperation from Lynch and little cooperation from his teammates – some of which are speculated to have been in the vehicle with the running back. Jauron cancelled the Bills' final OTA session, saying he did so as a perk and not because of Lynch's legal troubles. But the damage is obvious. More police investigators came to One Bills Drive today to gather any information possible.

As reported by The News, police are expected to subpoena owner Ralph Wilson, chief operating officer Russ Brandon and rookie wide receivers James Hardy and Steve Johnson. WGRZ Radio had reported that Bills personnel were staying mute themselves to police, referring authorities to their attorneys, although the Bills have maintained that they've cooperated.

Well, it's game time fellas. Lynch, Hardy, Johnson, Wilson, Brandon, whoever. Speak the truth. This isn't hide-and-seek. The longer this drags on, the darker that black eye on the Buffalo Bills franchise becomes.

thdunne@gmail.com


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