Today is National Draft Day:

Victim or villain? Seahawks Lynch caps quiet week

The SportsXchange

JERSEY CITY, N.J. - He won't talk. Rather, he doesn't prefer to talk. For no other reason, Marshawn Lynch has become the Phantom of Super Bowl Forty-Eight - yes, XLVIII, but it's so much more rhythmical spelled out - replacing Seattle teammate Richard Sherman.

Who gained his position, temporary as it might have been, because he talked too much.

Lynch was at it again Thursday, his final required press obligation until after Sunday's game. In three days, Lynch lasted a grand total of 20 minutes, 37 seconds in "Least Mode." By comparison, quarterback Russell Wilson has logged multiple hours at the mic this week.

Because Lynch felt the media again were at him, he fled all three interview sessions, even climbing over chairs when his exit route was blocked by two other Seahawks running backs, Michael Robinson and Robert Turbin.

If opponents couldn't stop Lynch, the guy nicknamed "Beast Mode," who ran for 1,257 yards and scored 14 touchdowns during the regular season, then why would a press conference be able?

Lynch calls himself a mama's boy. Those words have long been tattooed across his back and shoulder blade, in honor of the woman, Delisa, who raised four children including Marshawn in a fatherless home in Oakland.

He was a star at Oakland Tech High School, also the alma mater of Rickey Henderson, Leon Powe, former 49er John Brodie, Curt Flood and actor/director Clint Eastwood, and then set rushing records at Cal, a few miles away in Berkeley.

"She made it to each and every one of our games," Lynch told USA Today in April 2007. That was a few days before the Buffalo Bills made Lynch the second running back - behind Adrian Peterson - selected in that spring's draft. And before Lynch turned silent.

"That was kind of hard," Lynch said of his mom's dedication, "because I'm playing, my little brother had a game and, probably later that night, my sister might have a basketball game. And she would still manage to go and be able to feed us and clothe us and pay the bills. She's just my Superwoman."

A failure to communicate with the media is hardly an indictable offense, but as the NFL season reaches its climax that failure becomes a fineable one.

Only a couple weeks ago, Lynch was nailed $50,000 for his months-long refusal to do interviews, which the league said would be rescinded if he showed up as required subsequently.

He therefore was going to comply with the league demand for attendance at Super Bowl sessions.

But he wasn't going to stay long - under 6 1/2 minutes Tuesday on Media Day, maybe a few seconds more Wednesday before hitting the 7-minute mark Thursday - and he wasn't going to be enlightening or pleasant.

Lynch seemingly would have been happier in a dentist's office.

Once again, that doesn't make him a danger to society, but it does irritate the folks with the tape recorders and microphones, sent out to gather quotes and the like.

"I appreciate it," Lynch said of the media's presence and desire to speak with him. "But I just don't get it. I'm just here so I don't get fined."

As Duane Thomas of the Cowboys was there at Super Bowl V. He barely mumbled anything except short non-informative sentences. Lynch, unknowingly perhaps, had his model.

Lynch Wednesday wore his earphones and a look of disdain. When he spoke little was disclosed. Thursday he left his shades at home and even imparted a few thoughtful responses.

Asked what Beast Mode meant, Lynch responded, "It's just a lifestyle boss."

And what about the media attention?

"I don't really have much to say, boss."

On the Seahawks running game becoming ineffective for a few weeks in mid-season. "It doesn't matter. We're here now."

Robinson, next to Lynch, maybe taking pity on all involved, volunteered Wednesday, "I'm going to slide up in this thing to break up the monotony a little bit. If Marshawn ain't able to say nothing to you guys, you can direct your questions to me."

Thanks, but no thanks.

Funny, in a way, Sherman, who went to Stanford, Cal's rival, starts the week as the villain for his post-NFC Championship ranting and in a matter of hours is elevated to near sainthood because of Lynch's stubbornness to say diddly.

"I'm just about action," was one of Lynch's more telling comments, because he is.

Last March, at Cal to watch the annual spring game, Lynch was told a couple of running backs were absent, so he suited up and scored a TD. The Golden Bears staff and players were enthralled. But they weren't seeking quotes.

"He's just a shy kid," Delton Edwards, who coached Lynch at Oakland Tech, told the New York Daily News.

"He don't like too many people. He's been like that all his life. It's very hard to get inside him because he has to really trust you. When you put trust in people and people let him down, he closes those doors."

Lynch had what euphemistically were known as minor problems with the Bills, a speeding violation, then a firearms charge which drew a three-game suspension the start of the 2009 season. A month after opening the 2010 season with a sprained ankle, Lynch was traded a month into the season to Seattle.

For the Seahawks he's done what was needed.

Except communicate with reporters.

There are worse things in society. Much worse.

Instantly join a new league.

League type:
Free Yahoo League
League size:
10 players
Draft time:
Aug 30 9:00 am
View Comments (2)