Oakland Raiders head coach Jack Del Rio hasn’t had time to clear the air with Marshawn Lynch since the running back was ejected from the teams’ 31-30 win over the Kansas City Chiefs. But that doesn’t mean that Del Rio is moving on without addressing it. The Raiders head coach joined The Jim Rome Show on CBS Sports Radio Monday and spoke about Lynch’s ejection and one-week suspension for making contact with an official.
“Obviously it occurred. The only thing that was said was, ‘You can’t blanking go out on the field like that,’ and that was really it,” Del Rio said. “He was tossed after that, and I have not spoken to him.
“We will get back together as a team. When we do, if he is suspended, it will be awhile before I get back with him. But if he’s here, we will have a chance to talk.”
Lynch’s timeline for returning to the Raiders is still up in the air, with his appeal set to be decided on sometime Tuesday. Whatever the league decides, Del Rio wants to hear from Lynch directly about his intentions for running onto the field, whether he went out to protect quarterback Derek Carr, or Chiefs cornerback Marcus Peters—Lynch’s cousin. While Del Rio didn’t want to expand on his answer, he was clear that Lynch’s priorities mattered to him.
“Yeah it does matter. But that’s for another time another discussion,” Del Rio said.
After winning 12 games last season, the Raiders started 2017 winning their first two games before losing four straight. And while that win over the Chiefs was a huge step in the right direction, Del Rio wants to make sure he’s doing everything he can to make sure Lynch’s actions aren’t a distraction to his locker room.
“I’m going to do everything I can to protect our culture,” Del Rio said. “We got a very strong culture here, so that’s what I’m going to fight for.”
Lynch’s return to football, and especially his hometown of Oakland, has been one of the highlights of a team that’s already announced a move to Las Vegas. But Del Rio was clear that no individual player is bigger than the team.
“The biggest thing for me is, I’m all about the team and doing whatever is best for the team,” Del Rio said. “That has to come first, and I think (Lynch) went outside those lines in that instance the other night.”