Marshawn Lynch made all kinds of waves Tuesday at Oakland Raiders organized team activities. First, a video from Monday’s practice posted by Raiders coach Jack del Rio circulated showing a lively Lynch breaking “tackles” on his way to a stretching end zone leap, reminiscent of several similar plane-breaking runs from Lynch’s Seattle Seahawks career.
Of course OTA practices are non-contact so the scamper provides little evidence of Marshawn’s true performance level. On my viewing, the dark Oakland defense jerseys combined with either the tint of the camera or the glare off the grass making the silver helmets look more golden convinced me this was some odd replay of the original Beast Quake and seemed as real as ever. (I realize the OG run came against the New Orleans Saints wearing white in Seattle, but still it gave me that impression.)
Lynch made even greater rumblings once the Raiders left the practice field: He stood in front of microphones and spoke with reporters. Although we are all familiar with Shawn’s wide base and low center of gravity, perhaps it has just been so long since we last saw him at a podium that makes him look just a little bit odd here?
Marshawn Lynch is speaking with the media in Oakland. Look at that stance. pic.twitter.com/Adoc2pBMOx— James Palmer (@JamesPalmerTV) June 6, 2017
Will this candor with the media be the start of a new, cooperative Beast Mode in Oakland? Or was it rather the big man had some things he wanted to get off his chest? Either way, Lynch got to talking and made headlines around the National Football League’s media outlets: “Marshawn Lynch unretired for the kids in Oakland” said Sports Illustrated’s social media platforms. Lynch made news by declaring that the franchise’s impending move to Las Vegas, rather than withering his desire to come back and play for his hometown team, actually motivated his plan for reinstatement, according to NFL.com.
Marshawn Lynch said he wanted the kids of Oakland to see him, a kid from Oakland, play for the Raiders in Oakland before they leave— James Palmer (@JamesPalmerTV) June 6, 2017
In the course of many articles and many quotes detailing Lynch’s love for his old neighborhoods and the care for the local kids, and the reciprocal appreciation of Lynch by his new teammates, however probably my favorite is this emphasis quoted by Vic Tafur that participating in a stacked Raiders offense with Derek Carr, Amari Cooper and a heavily fortified blocking unit means little to him compared to the Oakland connection: “That’s good shit you just said, but it ain’t about that.”
Lynch asked about team, playing w/ Carr and Mack: “I got the whole town riding w/ me. That’s good shit u just said, but it ain’t about that”— Vic Tafur (@VicTafur) June 6, 2017
It’s always good to have interesting characters in the NFL. But few characters in the league have a way of being so heartening and so colorful all at once. In an arena where so much attention is paid to how little players are free to be themselves, all Lynch has to do is slide in a “you feel me” here and an anecdote about “pissing in hallways” there and communicate how, however silent or talkative he wants to be, and in whatever club’s jersey, he will always be the one and only Marshawn.