Marshawn Lynch tweets photo of hanging cleats

— -- For the first time in three years, Seattle Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch did not play in the Super Bowl.

This time, he might have made his retirement announcement Sunday during the fourth quarter of Super Bowl 50, which ended with the  Denver Broncos beating the  Carolina Panthers  24-10.

If Lynch is indeed signaling that he's hanging up his cleats, it should come as no surprise that he did so without words. ESPN's Adam Schefter reported earlier Sunday that Lynch has been telling friends he plans to retire. During an interview with 710 ESPN Seattle earlier this offseason, general manager John Schneider said he believed Lynch was leaning that way.

Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman was one of Lynch's teammates who took the tweet as an announcement that the running back is finished.

Quarterback Russell Wilson, who spent the first four seasons of his career handing off to Lynch, weighed in to congratulate and honor his backfield mate.

Seahawks linebacker Bruce Irvin gave a humorous nod to his teammate's enigmatic temperament in a tweet.

The Seahawks and owner Paul Allen also showed their gratitude for the man who has the fourth-most rushing yards in team history.

The past season was a struggle for Lynch. He missed nine regular-season games and one in the playoffs after undergoing surgery associated with a sports abdomen injury on Nov. 25. The previous four seasons, Lynch had missed just one game.

Lynch will turn 30 this offseason and reportedly considered retirement last year after dealing with back issues.

Lynch has been among the few most productive backs in the league since 2011, his first full season with the Seahawks after arriving from the Buffalo Bills in a midseason trade the prior year. During those five seasons, Lynch finished third in rushing yards (5,774), second in first downs (294) and first in rushing touchdowns. His 51 touchdowns surpassed Adrian Peterson's second-place total by six.

Lynch had a way of elevating his game for the postseason. His six 100-yard playoff games fall short of only Terrell Davis and Emmitt Smith in NFL history.

In his nine-year career, Lynch has started 114 games and carried 2,144 times for 9,112 yards and 74 touchdowns (4.3 YPC).