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Marshawn Lynch’s return is the stuff legends are made of

San Francisco 49ers v Seattle Seahawks Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images

It’s the kind of stuff they make movies about. Except they usually make movies about the teams that win (Miracle) or get second place (Remember the Titans) in their respective championships, and the Seattle Seahawks are a long shot at best to make the Big Dance.

But Marshawn Lynch’s return to Seattle is a thing unlike any we have seen in the National Football league, for three reasons.

1) He’s the only player to come out of retirement twice in the history of the NFL.

2) Point (1) is true because Brett Favre’s thing does not count. Not only did Favre not miss entire seasons, but he quit once only to come back for the same team. Ordinary people call that an offseason.

3) Not only is Marshawn probably the best athlete to unretire twice besides Michael Jordan, but he’s back with his original team. The one that lost a Super Bowl amidst confusion and chaos and a slew off distasteful offseason departures; Lynch’s trust included.

4) Because we wasted a point on Brett Favre, Lynch also has come back with a completely unexpected level of professionalism, ease, fitness, and ambition for a playoff run - the thing for which he was exclusively brought back.

If the Seahawks don’t make the Super Bowl, and are therefore ineligible for a movie by Hollywood standards, it’s at least worth a book. Maybe Marshawn can do a reading for the kids.

In a very tangible way, Marshawn Lynch saved this season. Sure, the Hawks lost the only game he played. The most likely scenario is that they go 1-2 with him on the 2019 roster. This is not “Lynch took us to the Super Bowl”, although I have every sincere and genuine ounce of faith that somehow, he could actually do it.

Beast Mode saved the season for the Seahawks this year in smaller, less obvious ways, but ones that are still truly important. It’s the subtle, impactful, feel-good things that make up the flavor of our aforementioned movie. Or at least, they’re the filler pages in our children’s book that make us all laugh while we’re waiting for the resolution.

Game Time

Anyone not paying attention at the snap would have thought a touchdown had been scored, an explosive play gained, or an appropriate time out used by Pete Carroll. The celebration was deafening. But it wasn’t any of those things. The play-by-play read:

(5:50 - 1st) J.Jones reported in as eligible. M.Lynch right tackle to SEA 44 for 5 yards (M.Harris).

A five-yard run. A statistically slightly above average play.

But no one in the stadium cared.

The Beast was back.

Filling the 69,162 in attendance - a full 400 above capacity - was an emotional excitement borne of hope, nostalgia and anticipation.

Because Marshawn brings an element that no back has maintained since his Seattle departure. It is the hope that at any moment, we might be witnessing the next Beastquake run.

It’s not a fair expectation on the 33 year old back, but it is altogether an earned one. Beast Mode has as much potential energy in his game as he has surprise in his responses to the media.

The fact that he’s out of retirement again is near miraculous. Joining the team that made him famous is storybook. Scoring a touchdown by a very uncharacteristic jump over the pile?

All the feels.

The man beneath the helmet

It began with an ominous quote, one that felt a little like it came out of nowhere.

“We’ve got history there, and we’ve got unfinished business,” Lynch said.

One had to wonder what this reunion would be like. After all, this is the same guy who just didn’t get on the plane in 2015, his final year with Seattle.

But everything positive that people have said about Marshawn Lynch over the years held true on Sunday night. He was encouraging, respectful, and an outstanding teammate.

Nobody’s ever really questioned Marshawn’s positive presence on team culture. At least, not with the players, and not in the locker room. K.J. Wright is one of four players from Lynch’s previous Seattle run, and was more than pleased that the Beast is back. Wright said “He’s just the ultimate teammate, cool dude, just ballin’. So I’m glad to have him back.”

It’s not just because he took one of America’s comedians and virtually left him speechless.

It’s because I am certain there is nothing in Marshawn’s new contract that says he has to do anything like this:

All week Wright and others were saying that the younger Seahawks were more than a bit starstruck by Marshawn’s return to Seattle. He’s an icon, albeit a quiet, selfless, unique one. And that’s how he saved the season.

That original premise you either forgot about or are mad that hasn’t been answered yet

Lynch returned for a loss.

He may return for two losses.

Actually, it’s either Super Bowl champs or his season will be 3-2 at best.

But Lynch brought hope back to the Seahawks at a moment of desperation. This team has lost more starters in four weeks than some teams do in a full season. The Arizona game was a low point emotionally - not just of the season, but one of the worst of the Pete Carroll / Russell Wilson era.

Regardless of how the Seahawks fare this postseason, Marshawn’s presence is far more important than his performance. The perspective on this season was in the tanks - FanPulse highlighted that for us.

But this dude. This bad, man right here...

... one of the best to ever play the game, is a Seattle Seahawk again. He wants to win, and he wants his teammates to win. He seems to have moved on from past hurt and truly wants the best outcome for our beloved Seahawks. Whether he’s capable of 4.5 yards per carry or not, he might be the spark the offense needs to carry this team through some playoff wins.

It’s a story that shouldn’t exist, and it’s being written before our very eyes.

Merry New Year.