Lynch a no-show for first set of Bills OTAs

ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. -- Buffalo Bills running back Marshawn Lynch made it a clean sweep.

The first set of organized team activities under new head coach Chan Gailey ended Thursday afternoon, and Lynch was absent again despite big talk he was ready to prove his worth to the team.

The workouts are voluntary, technically speaking. But Lynch would appear to be at a crossroads. He fell out of favor last season because of off-field issues and poor performances. Rumors are circulating about a trade, and as Lynch astutely noted in a Yahoo! Sports article, any team that might want to acquire him would want to see some competitive fire. Yet Lynch skipped three days of workouts.

"It's just one of those things you know, as a professional, it's voluntary, but at the same time you want to be in the best situation as possible," Bills running back Fred Jackson said after Thursday's steamy workout.

"The best situation is being here so you know what you're supposed to be doing when you're out on the field. That's what it's about, just trying to get in the playbook, knowing what you're supposed to do, knowing your assignments so when we go on the field it's about just playing football. If you're out there and don't know what you're doing, you're going to be thinking too much."

Lynch went to the Pro Bowl two seasons ago but lost his job as Buffalo's feature back to Jackson last autumn. Then the Bills drafted Clemson running back C.J. Spiller ninth overall.

Jackson noted learning Gailey's offense should be Lynch's biggest concern but isn't skeptical about what Lynch can do once caught up. The Bills have more OTAs and a voluntary minicamp next week.

"You've got to be here to pick up the playbook," Jackson said. "That's the No. 1 thing that he's missing out on. ... I'd say that's the only place he's falling behind.

"Other than that, he's a football player. He knows how to play football. It's just learning the offense and the terminology."

Jackson laughed when I asked what it's like to learn a new playbook.

How does someone digest a book with so much foreign jargon?

"You try and look at it and see how you can compare it to what you've known in the past," Jackson said. "Then when you come into the classroom you focus on certain things. You've got to take in as much as possible. It's definitely tough.

"You feel like a rookie. It's a lot of terminology you don't know. Normally, when a player comes in and asks you about the offense, you can tell them how we're supposed to run it. I get a question from C.J., and I say 'You know what? I think this is how we're supposed to do it.'

"It's tough from that standpoint, but with enough repetitions, you'll pick it up."

Lynch already is several reps behind his teammates.