Before he headed out to the field, Lynch went over to Kam Chancellor's locker, found his No. 31 jersey and put it on. Chancellor's holdout had been the topic dominating preseason conversation in Seattle, and his friend wanted to offer some support.
The next day, Pete Carroll was asked about the gesture.
"I thought it was a statement that all of us understand," the Seahawks coach said. "We all wish Kam was here, so I have no problem with it. We don’t need to keep doing it, but I think it was just that."
The way Carroll handled the situation was intriguing. No problem with it? Days away from the opener, the defense was forced to come up with a plan to replace its starting strong safety, and now the enigmatic running back was essentially telling Chancellor to keep holding out? How was this not a bigger deal?
I posed a follow up question to Carroll.
"It’s over. It’s done," he said while shooting me a look that suggested he wouldn't mind if I jumped into the frigid waters of Lake Washington. "It’s just not a big deal. You can try to make it a big deal, but it wasn’t."
That's when one of Carroll's greatest strengths as a head coach became apparent. He knows how to manage personalities, and despite being the oldest coach (64) in the NFL, he has found ways to relate to younger players.
"The environment to me, it needs to be receptive to the variations of styles that people bring, the DNA that they bring, the makeup that they bring," Carroll said earlier this offseason. "If I restrict it and only like certain types of guys, I’m cutting out a whole bunch of ‘em. And I want to make sure that I find the uniqueness and then we celebrate the uniqueness -- as long as they stay with us. They’ve got to stay with us. They’ve got to be part of a team."
On Tuesday, Carroll agreed to terms on a new contract that will keep him in Seattle until 2019. He and John Schneider have built a team that has won 60 games since they paired up in 2010, the second-most of any NFC team in that span. The Seahawks have been to the Super Bowl twice and won the title once. They made the postseason in five of the past six seasons.
The personality of Carroll's Seahawks is evident every time they're on the field. They play with an edge that some might label arrogant or brash. That's something Carroll can live with. But call his squad undisciplined, and you're likely to strike a nerve.
"We have extremely rigid standards that we operate by," Carroll said during last year's postseason. "To play like we play, we have to play with extraordinary discipline, extraordinary discipline. The example of what we did last week against the great running back [Adrian Peterson] that we faced was all about discipline. That’s doing things right, no matter what, how individualistic you might think this thing is. I think it’s because of the buy-in. They’ve committed to one another, and they’re willing to do what they have to do to give to the overall effort, even though they’re accepted for who they are and how they are.
"It doesn’t mean that everybody’s running around crazy. That’s not it at all. I don’t think that we’re perceived as strict as we are, to our style of play and the way we handle this game. I don’t know how we could ever be as consistent as we have been over a long period of time without really rigid standards and guidelines that people have to live within. It’s just that maybe the message is delivered a little differently. That’s why people are confused by it somewhat, and they don’t understand."
There's no arguing with the results -- specifically on the defensive side of the ball. The Seahawks have allowed the fewest points in the NFL for four straight seasons. They finished first, first, second and fourth in Football Outsiders' DVOA efficiency metric in that span. The Seahawks accomplished that with three different defensive coordinators.
Carroll is perhaps most proud of the fact that he has succeeded after failing. He was fired from his first two NFL head-coaching jobs in New York and New England. He likes to discuss those periods of his life and how they shaped him. Those experiences are why he values perseverance above nearly all else in the people around him.
"Is that it? He’s only been fired twice?" Richard Sherman asked last season. "Because he makes it sounds like it was eight times."
The Seahawks have Carroll and Schneider in the fold through 2019. With a young quarterback in Russell Wilson and loads of defensive talent, the organization is well-positioned to make more runs at a title. As new challenges arise and some of the names around him change, Carroll will look for ways to adapt while sticking to his core philosophies.
"I don’t think you have to make somebody feel bad or feel like they’re not worthy or feel like they may not make it if they don’t do this or that," Carroll said during a podcast interview this offseason. "I don’t think that’s the best way to motivate people."