Lynch pleads guilty to gun charge

Buffalo's starting running back came clean Thursday. See what Marshawn Lynch had to say about the ordeal inside. Also, what implications could a suspension have on the Bills this season? The Bills brought in another running back to watershed the possibility...

Marshawn Lynch pleaded guilty Thursday to a misdemeanor charge of carrying a firearm. The Buffalo Bills' starting running back was sentenced to 80 hours of community service and three years of probation.

The two other gun-related charges were dismissed as part of a plea agreement.

Lynch was arrested in California Feb. 11 after police smelled marijuana coming from the parked car. In the vehicle, police found the loaded firearm. Police also found four marijuana cigarettes, but no drug charges were filed. Lynch does not face any jail time.

Lynch remains subject to suspension from the NFL. Last year he was involved in a hit-and-run incident, but what could have been a colossal gaffe was reduced to a mere traffic violation.

This time around, Lynch will most likely be suspended by league commissioner Roger Goodell. On Thursday, Lynch began mending the gash --- a stark contrast from last year.

"Today I pled guilty to a misdemeanor violation of having a firearm in a vehicle," Lynch said in a statement. "I am embarrassed by my recent arrest and conviction. I deeply regret that I placed myself in this situation.

"I have made mistakes in the past. Although I have learned many lessons over recent years, I obviously had not learned enough. I apologize to my family, the Buffalo Bills organization, my teammates, the Buffalo community, and Commissioner [Roger] Goodell. I have already learned from this recent mistake and am sincerely committed to being a more responsible citizen and better representative of the NFL."

Lynch has rushed for more than 1,000 yards in each of his first two NFL seasons.

Analysis

Considering Lynch was caught, there wasn't much he could do here. He couldn't "Beast Mode" his way out this jam.

Now the ball's in Roger Goodell's court. All cases like these are looked at through a new lens – Goodell's personal conduct policy. There is a high possibility that the commissioner feels betrayed after giving the running back another chance last year.

A 1-to-4 game suspension seems like the most logical range.

Through the first week of free agency, Buffalo has visited with three running backs on the market: Fred Taylor, DeShaun Foster and Kevin Jones. Taylor has since signed with New England on a two-year, $5 million contract. Sources tell me that a veteran on the level of Foster and Jones could receive a deal similar to what Detroit paid for Maurice Morris ($7 million over three years).

Buffalo is presumably looking to beef up its backfield in the case that Lynch is suspended longer than expected. Or as analyzed here, the Bills may have broader aspirations. Fred Jackson will be a restricted free agent after next season if the Bills do not give him a multi-year extension. Also, the Bills may be quietly shopping Lynch around the league to test his market value in a trade. Buffalo certainly has several other needs to address. Maybe Lynch is prime trade bait.

If a new veteran like Jones signs, Buffalo's backfield would be clogged with Lynch, Jackson, Jones and the promising Xavier Omon. Somebody's bound to be released.

Once somebody finally signs and the NFL officially levies its punishment, the murkiness should clear up.

thdunne@gmail.com

Does the trade talk have traction? See what a league source told the BFR here.


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