A cute story out of Seattle suggested Seahawks players are protecting Marshawn Lynch's No. 24. Lynch retired this offseason. Doug Baldwin tweeted at head coach Pete Carroll at the conclusion of the NFL Draft.
We are thrilled with the new teammates. One condition. Nobody wears #24 for years to come.
— Doug Baldwin Jr (@DougBaldwinJr) April 30, 2016
— Shawn Lynch (@MoneyLynch) May 1, 2016
"One of my last conversations with Marshawn was that nobody was going to wear No. 24 this year in the regular season," Seahawks general manager John Schneider said Monday on a Seattle radio appearance.
Schneider also addressed the fact Lynch has not yet signed his retirement papers. "We've planned for if we were going to get the papers before June 1 or after," he said. "So we're good."
But this means, as Richard Sherman explained to ThePostGame, the Seahawks wouldn't be able to re-assign No. 24 even if they wanted to.
"I don't think it really has anything to do with us, the team, coming to any agreement," Sherman says. "I mean, we wouldn't want anyone to wear it, but we couldn't stop anybody. Legally, they can't. Because if they sell his jersey, they can't give it to anybody else for a year."
In other words, it is nice that the team has rallied around Lynch to keep his number from being used by another player but also unnecessary as a practical matter because his retirement paperwork hasn't been made official. Then there is the legal issue of continuing to sell official No. 24 Lynch jerseys.
Assuming Lynch does not return to action, his No. 24 is likely to be retired or honored in Seattle. Lynch was a Super Bowl champion and five-time Pro Bowler for the Seahawks. The Seahawks drafted three running backs to go along with projected starter Thomas Rawls.
"I think guys understand how important he was as a player, but guys also knew that he wouldn't play forever," Sherman says of Lynch. "This is an opportunity for other guys to step up and be successful and grow as a player. We appreciated all the work he did for this community and this organization, but at the end of the day, you knew he would have to go. He couldn't play forever. Nobody does."
The Seahawks took a step back last season, as the team failed to reach the Super Bowl for the first time in three years. Lynch was nagged by injuries, Kam Chancellor held out until Week 3 and Jimmy Graham struggled in first season in Seattle.
"There's a number of things to improve," Sherman says. "Just making sure we make our adjustments and communicate. We're going to do the same things we've been doing. We have this formula, we just got to get after it. That's the thing about staying successful, you have to continue to adjust and you have to continue to get better."
One man making a change is Sherman's old friend, Skip Bayless. Sherman famously feuded with Bayless on an episode of ESPN's First Take in March 2013. Sherman, a Stanford graduate, told Bayless, "I'm intelligent enough and capable enough to understand that you are ignorant, pompous, egotistical, cretin," among other things.
Bayless is leaving ESPN for Fox Sports contract paying him a reported $5.5 million per year over four years, with a $4 million signing bonus.
"We've had no conversations of any sort, but that's good money," Sherman says when asked if he has made up with Bayless during the past three years. "I'm happy for him. Whenever they pay you money to talk about sports, that's big time."
In terms of lighter celebrities connections, Sherman says he has befriended Waka Flocka Flame. Sherman and the rapper have been publicly mixed-up twice in the last year. In December, Seattle airport workers took a picture with Waka Flocka and captioned the photo referring to Waka Flocka as Sherman. Just two weeks ago, video surfaced of Waka Flocka taping of video of himself on a plane with the woman next to him calling the rapper Richard Sherman.
They all get confused outside of airports.
"When we were both in Mexico, a ton of people [confused us] because he was having a performance there," Sherman says. "A ton of people were like, Waka, I heard you're in town, and…it was definitely me. We have fun with it. We exchanged phone numbers, so we got to joke around with it. We don't take it too seriously, either one of us."
Sherman takes football seriously, but that is his day job. Outside of football, Sherman has picked up gaming. This past weekend, Sherman worked with Call of Duty to share the game with professionals and amateurs. Sherman played the Call of Duty: Black Ops 3 Nuk3town map with YouTube gamers Hike The gamer and Typical Gamer. He also traveled through New York City on Facebook live, giving away Call of Duty and Crooks & Castles collaboration T-shirts.
-- Follow Jeffrey Eisenband on Twitter @JeffEisenband.