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Originally published February 20, 2014 at 5:36 PM | Page modified February 26, 2014 at 1:39 PM

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Marshawn Lynch to plead guilty to reckless driving, avoid DUI trial

Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch will avoid a trial on a 2012 DUI charge by pleading guilty Friday to reckless driving, Lynch’s attorney said.

Seattle Times staff reporter

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Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch will plead guilty Friday to reckless driving instead of going to trial on a DUI charge stemming from an arrest in Oakland in 2012.

Lynch’s attorney, Ivan W. Golde, said he believed Lynch would not have been found guilty of DUI but because of the publicity of a trial it “would not have been good for” Lynch or the Seahawks. Lynch will instead plead guilty to the lesser charge in Alameda County Court.

Lynch will have to pay a $1,080 fine, attend six driver-safety classes in California and will also receive two years’ probation.

Lynch was arrested in Oakland on July 14, 2012, and blood-alcohol tests showed just above the .08 legal limit.

Golde also said he is confident that Lynch will not be suspended by the NFL, though the league is expected to review the details of the case. Lynch received a three-game suspension in 2009 when he was with Buffalo after pleading guilty to a misdemeanor gun charge.

Golde said Lynch was happy with the plea bargain. “It worked out fine in the long run,’’ the attorney said.

Seattle general manager John Schneider said Thursday at the NFL Combine he could not speak to the specifics of Lynch’s case.

Seahawks unlikely to use franchise tag

Schneider said the Seahawks are unlikely to use the franchise tag on any of the team’s pending free agents.

“Right now, I just don’t see it going that way,’’ Schneider said. “I just don’t anticipate using it on any of our free agents.”

Teams can use the franchise tag on one free agent per season. The tag means the player remains under contract for one more season at a guaranteed salary that is no less than the average of the top five salaries at that player’s position or 120 percent of his previous year’s salary, whichever is greater.

A two-week window for offering the franchise tag began Monday, and Seattle has three free agents who some believed would be considered — defensive lineman Michael Bennett, receive Golden Tate and kicker Steven Hauschka.

Schneider said the team wants to retain as many players as possible, but apparently will try to do that with longer-term deals.

Seattle hasn’t used the franchise tag since the first year of the Schneider/Pete Carroll regime in 2010, when it was placed on kicker Olindo Mare.

Titans coach is confident in Locker

Former Washington Husky star Jake Locker has a new coach as he enters his fourth year in the NFL with the Tennessee Titans.

But at the moment, he also appears to have the same support from Ken Whisenhunt as he had from Mike Munchak, who was fired after the Titans went 22-26 in Munchak’s three seasons.

Whisenhunt said Thursday he was eager to begin working with Locker.

“From what I have seen, Jake exhibits a lot of qualities that you can get excited about,’’ he said. “One of the strengths that we’ve done is trying to tailor what we do to the player. Until we get Jake on the field and see some of the things he can do, we don’t know which direction it’s going to go. But I’m excited about what I’ve seen.’

Whisenhunt’s comment was echoed later in the day by the team’s executive vice president and general manager, Ruston Webster, which indicates the team will likely pick up an option on Locker for the 2015 season. While Locker is under contract through 2014, the team has to decide by May if it will exercise an option on the 2015 season that would pay Locker $13 million.

Locker has played just 18 of 32 possible starts the past two seasons. “It’s really just about him staying healthy,’’ Webster said. “And he knows that.’’


• Carroll is entering the final season of the five-year contract he signed when he took over as Seattle’s coach in 2010. When asked if there have been discussions about an extension, Schneider said, “I think Pete said he’s doing pretty good, and he is, so I will leave it at that.’’

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