Marshawn Lynch and the Oakland Raiders have reached a deal, according to early reports from SB Nation. The rumors of Lynch coming out of retirement to play for his hometown team of Oakland have been circulating for weeks as NFL teams prepare their rosters for the upcoming draft.
Marshawn Lynch’s return to the gridiron is now in the hands of the Seattle Seahawks, who still hold his contract. According to NFL, before Lynch can finalize his deal with the Raiders, the Seahawks must agree to let him go before Marshawn can suit up for Oakland, but it doesn’t seem that Seattle will stand in the way of beast mode.
Lynch retired from the Seattle Seahawks in February of 2016 following a lackluster return after hernia repair surgery. Prior to the 2015-2016 season, Marshawn had been an integral part of the Seahawks offense with more than a 1,000 rushing yards each season. Known for his brute strength, Lynch was a key component in helping Seattle win their first Super Bowl in 2014, however, Marshawn also became a magnet for controversy.
Lynch was frequently a topic of discussion during his tenure with the Seahawks because of his unwillingness to participate in pre- and post-game interviews. Eventually, after being threatened with a fine by the NFL, Marshawn began to allow the press to interview him but would often answer with the same simple sentence over and over again such as “thanks for asking” instead of actually engaging with the press.
Marshawn became a target for NFL fines that rarely had anything to do with how he played. For instance, Lynch had to pay the league $20,000 for grabbing his crotch as he crossed the goal line and Marshawn was fined multiple times for wearing non-NFL compliant shoes including his infamous Skittles cleats. The running back is known for eating Skittles on the sidelines and eventually became a spokesman for their advertising campaign.
Lynch has also had off-field physical confrontations that have made the news. Marshawn made headlines after getting involved in a street fight just outside a bar in San Francisco after a man reportedly heckled him and a group of friends as they tried to leave. In that instance, Lynch is shown on video trying to break things up. But just last week, Marshawn reportedly knocked a cell phone out of the hand of a teenager who was trying to film him as he arrived at LAX.
Still, one of the biggest controversies that surrounded Marshawn Lynch had to do with a coaching decision more than Lynch’s personality or attitude. Lynch’s most talked about moment in the NFL stemmed from a play that never actually came to fruition.
In one of the more infamously bad Super Bowl calls in history, the Seahawks were set to win their second Super Bowl with just 26 seconds left on the clock. Behind by four points, Seattle was on the one yard line and it was anticipated that they would give Marshawn Lynch the ball to get the winning touchdown. Instead of turning to Lynch, who at the time was considered one of the top running backs in the league, however, the Seahawks opted for a throw and the ball was intercepted in the end zone by the New England Patriots leaving Seattle stunned and defeated.
Immediately following the loss, Lynch remained mum on the whole situation other than a quick remark to one reporter about football being a team sport. Several weeks later, however, Marshawn broke his silence on not being given the ball, according to Sports Illustrated.
“To be honest with you, I would be lying if I didn’t tell you that I was expecting the ball. Yes, I was expecting the ball. But in life, these things happen. Like I told a reporter after the game, it’s a team sport,” Lynch said.
While Marshawn Lynch is no spring chicken (this season will be his 10th in the NFL), there is hope that he still has enough beast mode left in him to help the Oakland Raiders round out their offense. Last year, the Raiders were poised to make a solid run for the Super Bowl until quarterback Derek Carr broke his leg. With a stout running back like Lynch in the backfield, Carr will have some extra support to get the ball out, putting less pressure on him.
Though the Seahawks struggled last year as well, they are not expected to want to keep Lynch from moving on to the Raiders. According to NFL‘s Ian Rappaport, the Seahawks gave Marshawn permission to pursue a deal with Oakland and they are expected to make some sort of trade with the Raiders to give Lynch what he wants.
While it seems like the deal with the Oakland Raiders is all but signed, sealed, and delivered, however, Marshawn Lynch posted a cryptic message on his Twitter account indicating that nothing is set in stone yet.
“If u kno me you kno my business is my business and if u don’t kno me that’s a fun fact for ya… when sh** get REAL I’ll let you kno!!!!” Lynch’s Twitter says. And so far there hasn’t been any confirmation from the Raiders either.
[Featured Image by Randy Shropshire/Getty Images for Activision.]