Marshawn Lynch hints that he's retiring, Seahawks acknowledge via Twitter

In perhaps the most Marshawn Lynch way possible, the popular Seahawks running back may have "announced" his retirement from the NFL.

A wordless tweet from Marshawn Lynch which showed a pair of cleats hanging off a telephone wire was taken by many as a sign that the running back was "hanging them up" and will retire from the NFL.

Among those who interpreted Lynch's tweet - which came during the 4th quarter of yesterday's Super Bowl - as a sign of his impending retirement were Seattle Seahawks teammates Russell Wilson, Richard ShermanBruce Irvin and Doug Baldwin, among many, many others.

While neither head coach Pete Carroll nor general manager John Schneider commented on Lynch's tweet yesterday, the club's official Twitter account did respond.

Schneider, of course, had previously stated that he and the Seahawks expected Lynch to retire.

If Lynch is, in fact, retiring, he certainly leaves quite a legacy. 

While Schneider and Carroll have since made several moves to "turn around the franchise," trading for Lynch - who began his career with the Buffalo Bills - was the duo's first major acquisition.

Lynch would go on to rush for 6,347 yards (fourth all-time among Seahawks) and 57 touchdowns (second to just Shaun Alexander) during his time in Seattle, giving him 9,112 rushing yards and 74 touchdowns over his career.

With Lynch, however, it was hardly just the numbers. His fierce, determined running style became the heartbeat of the Seahawks' offense, helping the club qualify for two Super Bowls and winning the title in franchise history two years ago.

He developed the "BeastMode" nickname after several particularly memorable runs, including a 67-yard touchdown run to stun the defending champion New Orleans Saints in Seattle's shocking 2010 wildcard playoff victory. Three years later, Lynch was too much for the Saints again, this time scoring from 31 yards out to spark Seattle's journey to its first title. Re-live Lynch's Top 5 runs (according to here.

For as popular as Lynch was on the field for his talent and determined running, he was even more popular off the field for his commitment to teammates and unwillingness to speak to the media. Lynch ultimately cashed in on his "SpeechMode" personality with several endorsements.

From a purely running perspective, the Seahawks appear to be well prepared to handle losing Lynch. Thomas Rawls demonstrated a similar combination of vision, power and balance as an undrafted rookie a year ago and he's expected to be 100% next season after a broken ankle suffered in Week 14 abruptly ended his first year in the NFL.

The Seahawks will likely draft another runner this spring to complement the young back but make no mistake, Rawls is the starter.

Replacing the determination and toughness Lynch brought to the team could prove more difficult.

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