I wrote this following the NFC Championship, so his legacy is further cemented and I think he will be a hall of famer one day. Again, I am a Jaguars fan with nothing but the utmost admiration for the Seahawks organization as a student of the game. Hope you enjoy.
After the last two weeks you now know Marshawn Lynch. You know he likes skittles. You know he doesn’t like to talk to the media.
Why is he so differently wired?
Marshawn has had a unique career. His legacy started as an All-American at Oakland Technical High School in California where he also played basketball. He’d then go on to play for Cal Berkley where he’d be put up over 1200 rushing yards in each of his final two seasons. Lynch was completely out of the Heisman picture however due to monster seasons by college gods like Steve Slaton and Darren McFadden.
Still, those two seasons were enough to get the Buffalo Bills to select him 12th overall in the 2007 draft. The pounding, yet agile running back would be plugged in immediately as the starter week 1. He would rush for 1115 yards and 7 touchdowns which was extremely impressive for a rookie. Unfortunately this was also Adrian Peterson’s rookie season – so once again no dice for Marshawn come award season.
The next season he would rush for 1036 yards in 15 games. His career was looking up and he was well on his way to becoming one of the game’s elite running backs on an up and coming Bills team. Then everything hit a speed bump. That off season Lynch was arrested on a felony gun charge which he would luckily plead out into a misdemeanor. Questions arose. Was this rough exterior hiding a shy, focused athlete, or just a criminal down a dark path all along?
Lynch was suspended for the first 3 games of the 2009 season but would come back right away as the Bills’ starter again. And struggle ensued. He rushed for 4 yards on 8 carries in his first game back while splitting carries with Fred Jackson and Jackson would overtake him as the starting running back by week 12. Lynch ended the season with 450 yards in 13 games.
The Bills would draft Running Back C.J. Spiller 9th overall in the draft that offseason, indicating the end of Marshawn Lynch. Lynch would be traded to the Seahawks for a 4th round and a conditional pick following week 3.
The Bills gave up on him. The Seahawks had faith in him. Like the 2007 Bills, the Seahawks were an up and coming team looking to turn over a new leaf. Under new head coach, Pete Carroll, Lynch would take over the bulk of the carries and the Seahawks famously made the playoffs with a 7-9 record and faced the defending Super Bowl champion, New Orleans Saints.
That game Marshawn Lynch died and "Beast Mode" was born.
Lynch would run over the entire Saints defense and back into stardom. He ran for 1204 yards and 12 touchdowns in 2011 and 1590 yards with 11 scores in 2012. This past season he was finally a full-fledged elite running back, rushing for 1257 yards and 12 touchdowns leading the Seahawks offense to the super bowl.
And here we are one day before the Super Bowl, fresh off of Lynch finally getting his Skittles endorsement. Also fresh off of him coming out to the world as a person who does not like talking to the media. He was fined $5,000 after the season for refusing to talk to the media all year. The NFL threatened to fine him $50,000 if he didn’t talk to the media on media day. So he talked – kind of – for 6 minutes, and avoided the fine. In doing so he has done the media one better because they blew it up into a huge, tired storyline.
Lynch’s Seahawk teammates have come to his defense the past week. Wide Receiver Doug Baldwin said "It’s ridiculous. The guy doesn’t want to speak to the media and you’re forcing him to. It’s frustrating for me to even speak about."
Ridiculous as it seems, the NFL is a business. Marshawn Lynch is employed by the NFL. All NFL players are required to talk to the media by contract, so it’s a job requirement. That doesn’t make how blown out of proportion this whole situation is any less ridiculous. He pays his fines, he does what he needs to, to avoid the fines when he doesn’t want to pay them. He works hard, focuses on football, and wins games for his team.
The Super Bowl will bring everything full circle for the 27 year old Running Back who told his mother he would one day win the big game when he was 12 years old. 3 years removed from being caste as a failure, he is one of the best running backs in the NFL about to play in the biggest game on earth.
Expect Lynch to have a big game and continue to ride off into stardom regardless of the outcome – just don’t expect him to talk about it after.