Lynch working out but not practicing

Updated: June 5, 2010, 8:12 PM ET
ESPN.com news services


ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. -- Disgruntled Buffalo Bills running back Marshawn Lynch has been spotted at the team's headquarters, yet continues to skip practice.

Earlier in the day, safety Donte Whitner confirmed to The Associated Press that he saw Lynch lifting weights in the training room on both Wednesday and Thursday. Later, the Bills sent a message on their Twitter account, announcing that Lynch had worked out at their facility on both days.

That's as close to the practice field as Lynch has gotten, missing seven days of the team's voluntary workouts. The 2007 first-round draft pick, who lost his starting job to Fred Jackson midway through last season, is unhappy living in Buffalo, believing he needs a fresh start elsewhere after several run-ins with police over the past two years.

The Bills have insisted they have no intention of trading Lynch, even after drafting Clemson running back C.J. Spiller with the No. 9 pick in April.

Coach Chan Gailey, on Wednesday, offered a one-word answer -- "No" -- when asked if he's heard from Lynch.

Gailey said after Saturday's minicamp practice it was "strange" that he and Lynch never met while the player was at the team's headquarters.

Gailey then said he was open to meeting with Lynch. "Always," he said. "I like to meet with every player we've got but sometimes you do, sometimes you don't. That's life."

A message left with Lynch's agent, Doug Hendrickson, was not immediately returned.

Under NFL rules, Lynch would only face a team fine if he began missing the Bills' three mandatory minicamp sessions later this month.

And the sooner Lynch rejoins his teammates, the better, according to Whitner.

"He's the most talented running backs in the National Football League," Whitner said Friday. "We do need him. We do want him. Hopefully, he gets out here soon."

Lynch's best season came in his rookie year when he had 1,115 yards rushing and seven touchdowns. He's coming off his worst campaign, finishing with 450 yards rushing and two touchdowns in 13 games, including six starts.

Lynch's frustrations stem from the hit his reputation has taken for off-field troubles.

In June 2008, he pleaded guilty to a traffic violation and admitted to driving off after striking a female pedestrian with his car near Buffalo's downtown bar district.

In March 2009, Lynch pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor gun charge in Los Angeles, after police discovered a semiautomatic handgun in a backpack of the trunk of a parked car Lynch was sitting in. He was sentenced to 80 hours of community service and three years' probation.

The gun charge led to the NFL suspending Lynch for the first three games of last season.

Lynch has several times attempted to repair his image. He donated $10,000 last year to sponsor a community basketball tournament in Buffalo that was in danger of folding. He also served as the team's spokesman for a breast cancer research campaign in 2008.

For the past three years, Lynch has held a free youth football clinic in his hometown of Oakland.

Despite his community work, Lynch has not won over all of the Bills' fans, some of whom have turned against the player. Lynch also has been the target of at least one false accusation. In January, he was accused of stealing $20 from a police officer's wife. Charges were never filed against him in the matter.

He has also complained of being stopped by police on several occasions, including once last season for playing his music too loud in the Bills' parking lot following a home game.

Last month, in his first public comments this offseason, Lynch told YahooSports.com that he's "never been a quitter," and intends to honor the two years he has left on his contract with the Bills.

"All I can do is showcase what I've got, and if they utilize it, they do. And if they don't, then you know what, they don't," Lynch was quoted as saying. "It's not just an audition for them. 'Cause there's 32 teams in the league, and somebody is always looking."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.