The move puts Lynch’s NFL future in doubt. The 32-year-old Lynch was initially expected to miss at least a month due to a groin injury. He’ll have to sit out at least eight weeks now that he’s been placed on injured reserve. The injury that led to Lynch hitting IR might be to a core muscle, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL Network.
That sets up Lynch to return on Dec. 24, which would be the Raiders last home game of the season. It could also be the team’s final game in Oakland. The Raiders’ lease with the Coliseum is up at the end of the season. The team hasn’t announced where it will play in 2019 before heading to Las Vegas in 2020.
If Lynch were to return as soon as he’s eligible, he would be able to play that game, and would be available for the team’s Week 17 game against the Kansas City Chiefs. After that, it’s unclear whether Lynch will continue playing football.
Lynch sat out for a season in 2016, and only returned to football to play for the Raiders. Lynch — who was born in Oakland — may not be interested in returning if the club is playing elsewhere.
In that scenario, Lynch would hit the free-agent market. He could opt to test the market and see if any team wants him, or he could retire for good.
Lynch still showed he had some ability left in the tank this season. Prior to the injury, Lynch ran for 376 yards on 90 carries and scored three touchdowns.
If this is it for Lynch, he would leave the game with five Pro Bowl appearances, a Super Bowl win and over 10,000 career rushing yards.
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