When the Bills Almost Traded Marshawn Lynch for A.J. Hawk

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Call him unlikeable, call him unpredictable, call him a malcontent, call him whatever you want.

You have to call running back Marshawn Lynch a great player, too. While his career will likely never feature a stop in Green Bay, it wasn’t for lack of trying on the Packers’ part.

The Packers loved Marshawn Lynch in the 2007 NFL Draft

Ted Thompson and the Packers front office coveted Marshawn Lynch in the draft. Jason Wilde in the Wisconsin State Journal reported in April 2007 that Thompson met with Lynch one-on-one at the NFL scouting combine and, in a rare move, even brought Lynch to Green Bay for an in-person, pre-draft interview.

The Packers, according to the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel’s Tom Silverstein in 2014, brought Lynch in to ensure he would be comfortable playing in Green Bay.

The Bills selected Lynch with the 12th pick, four picks before Green Bay. It caused the Packers to go to Plan B, and they selected Harrell. After the draft, Thompson told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel’s Bob McGinn that the Packers and Harrell did not have a “substantive conversation” before the selection.

How a Lynch-to-Green Bay trade almost happened

Green Bay’s Super Bowl campaign in 2010 started with a thud at running back. Starting back Ryan Grant suffered a season-ending injury in Week 1, leaving the Packers with just fullback John Kuhn and backup running back Brandon Jackson.

Meanwhile in Buffalo, Marshawn Lynch was buried on the depth chart behind starter Fred Jackson and rookie first-rounder C.J. Spiller. He wanted to play closer to his home city of Oakland. Buffalo was about the opposite opposite of close.

He had also worn out his welcome, too. Lynch was involved in a hit-and-run in 2008 and was accused in January 2010 for stealing $20 from a woman’s purse.

The smoke surrounding a trade became a fire when Buffalo visited Lambeau Field in Week 2.

"We were running off the field -- it was halftime, actually," Packers tight end Jermichael Finley said in a 2016 interview. "Me and (Aaron) Rodgers were running to the locker room and Lynch came over, hit us on the shoulder and said, 'Tell Ted Thompson to come get me.'”

The Bills were blown out 34-7 by the Packers, falling to 0-2 on the season. The Packers, meanwhile, got almost nothing on the ground from Kuhn and Jackson.

Allen Wilson of The Buffalo News reported two days later that talks of a trade of Lynch for Packers linebacker A.J. Hawk were intensifying.

Talks broke down, and Lynch was traded to the Seahawks two weeks later for a 2011 fourth-round pick and conditional 2012 fifth round pick.