$20 ticket out of town?

If true, Marshawn Lynch's latest run-in with the law should be the final straw. A career marred by off-field incidents has taken another bizarre turn as Lynch reportedly stole $20 from a woman at T.G.I. Fridays. If the Bills are heading in a new direction, G.M. Buddy Nix must trade the troubled running back...

Sounds silly, doesn't it? Something your nephew does in middle school. Peanuts compared to what a lot of professional athletes have done. Gilbert Arenas toted guns into a basketball arena for crying out loud.

But for Marshawn Lynch, this new off-field incident must be the final straw. Enough pampering. Enough coddling. If the Bills are indeed turning a new leaf as a franchise, Buddy Nix's first personnel decision must be to trade Lynch.

Get value now before Lynch does something else. On the field, they don't need him. Off the field, he's a cancer.

Make it three incidents in three offseasons...that we know of.

This week's strange new twist stems from an incident at T.G.I. Fridays on Dec. 7. Last month, Lynch reportedly bullied a woman into giving him $20 that her friend had left for the bill. When the woman refused, Lynch reportedly said, "Do you know who I am? There are going to be consequences." Nice Marshawn. Way to repair your reputation after a hit-and-run case and then getting caught for gun possession.

Lynch doesn't get it. After pocketing the $20, per the Buffalo News, Lynch told the team that the Hamburg woman was a friend of his. A claim she adamantly denied. The two are not friends, she said. The exact opposite — she's scared. She waited until the end of the season to file the complaint and has withheld her name out of fear that he'd retaliate.

"She's terrified of him. He threatened her girlfriend who tried to retrieve the money after he robbed my wife," said her husband, Buffalo Police Sgt. William Crawford to The News. "He thinks he's above the law because of his status as an athlete."

Yes, a millionaire using scare tactics on a regular citizen over a $20 bill. If this is all true, Marshawn Lynch has some serious problems. You hope it's false. Lynch's agent Doug Hendrickson has staunchly denied the story as "false and entirely malicious."

Bills spokesman Scott Berchtold had no comment. What can he say? Berchtold has exhausted all damage-control techniques with this one player.

Once the dust settles, the Bills must be bold. It's hard to understand why they've repeatedly appeased Lynch. Aside from driving into a human being, illegally packing heat and (allegedly) bullying females at restaurants, he's simply a very average running back. Minimal explosion. Unnecessary hop steps. Horizontal dancing. Given far too many carries, Lynch never got rolling this season. All his 3.8 yards per carry did was eat into Fred Jackson's valuable touches.

And really, it's getting embarrassing on the Bills behalf.

Again and again, the team suppresses Lynch's off-actions. Something like a father unwilling to admit his son is heading down the wrong path. No action is taken. Russ Brandon and his jumbled front office have danced around each Lynch issue with forgiveness. With he'll-learn-from-this compassion. Lynch has not been held accountable. Remember, the team never punished him itself. It took Commissioner Roger Goodell intervening for Lynch to finally be suspended three games.

Cannonball position, Buddy Nix. Time for your first big splash. Buffalo's 71-year old G.M. has a golden opportunity to assert his authority, an opportunity to prove to fans he is different than the dull status quo. Right now, fans are skeptical. They're unsure if Nix has a mind of his own.

Trading Lynch is a team-wide memo. Nix can assure all players that such serial nonsense has consequences. Act up, you're out. As we saw last offseason, arrests have a catalytic effect within teams. This team must value the power of discipline. Think Miami. Bill Parcells strolled in, instilled a culture of accountability and the Dolphins immediately jumped from 1-15 to 11-5.

Structure and accountability mean something. The Bills need guts. Step one, dump Marshawn Lynch. The streets (and football field) of Buffalo will be safer without him.

thdunne@gmail.com

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