His teammates said he was all smiles and glad to be back. Marshawn Lynch's three game league-imposed suspension was over effective Monday. But it appeared as though the time away from his teammates had a lasting impact on the running back as he responded to questions from the Buffalo media with soft spoken answers.
Lynch admitted that sitting out for three games was difficult.
"It was hard, but that was part of the deal," he said. "I had to sit out so I'm just glad to be back."
The Bills feature back had been working out twice a day while he was away, but admitted he couldn't quite duplicate the practice setting with his teammates.
"I was just trying to work out and trying to simulate, which I couldn't do, just trying to keep my body in the best game shape as I could," he said.
Lynch was proud of the job his good friend and teammate Fred Jackson turned in while he was away saying it made it easier for him to watch the team's first three games.
"Fred has been pretty productive at that running back spot so I've just got to find a few more plays that need to be made," said Lynch.
Jackson has put together the fourth best yards from scrimmage total in team history over the first three games of the season with 425. Jackson's success has led to conflicting comments from Bills fans when they've crossed paths with Lynch the past couple of weeks.
"It's weird," Lynch said. "I've been hearing a mix of things. Some are saying I can stay where I am because Fred is doing a wonderful job, which I don't mind. Some are saying they can't wait until I come back. So I've been getting some mixed emotions from the fans. I'm just glad I've got these (teammates) on my side to let me know I was missed."
Jackson is glad to have Lynch back in the locker room. He made a point to keep in touch with Lynch while he was out on suspension calling him every day to keep him in the loop.
"I'm probably more excited than anybody that he's back," said Jackson. "He's a playmaker on this offense. We're looking forward to him coming in and making the plays for us. He brings a different energy and we're excited about that."
Lynch said he does not care who is considered the team's number one running back fully aware of the numbers that Jackson has produced. He just seems glad he'll have the opportunity to contribute once again.
Offensive coordinator Alex Van Pelt used the term "dynamic duo" when asked about using Jackson and Lynch as a tandem once Lynch returned from suspension. Now having both of the backs at his disposal again head coach Dick Jauron hinted at a 50-50 split with respect to carries.
"Going into the season, even in the offseason when we knew about Marshawn's suspension we knew we had to be careful with Fred because he's a really good player and we don't want to overload him," said Jauron. "He had a lot of touches and did a great job and now Marshawn is back and we'll take some of the load off him and evenly distribute it because both of those guys are good and will make us a better team."
Lynch and Jackson both seem to be content with that approach.
"You know what you're going to get from me and you've seen what you're going to get from Fred so you can kind of combine those two things," he said. "You're going to get 200 from both of us, and when I say 200 I mean 200 percent. That's what you can expect from our backfield every game."
"I don't know exactly how it's going to go, but I know we'll both get our touches," Jackson said. "We'll see what they want to do with us and I know we'll just feed off each other. He'll try to make plays and I'll try to make plays and we'll do whatever we can to complement each other."
Regardless of how much of the workload Lynch takes on he insists he'll be ready. And though he has spent almost a month away from the game he maintains it hasn't increased his motivation.
"I'm always hungry," he said. "And it's time to eat."
Lynch not on 53-man roster yet
At this point Lynch is still not part of the team's 53-man roster. The Bills requested a three-day roster exemption for Lynch with the league on Monday. They will officially add him to the roster on Thursday at which point they will need to move someone off the roster to make room for the running back.