How Marshawn Lynch will keep pro football in Oakland after Raiders leave

Dalton Johnson
NBC Sports BayArea

Marshawn Lynch quietly retired from the NFL after playing for the Raiders in what he thought was the team's last season in Oakland. 

The Raiders, however, will play one final season at the Coliseum this year before moving to Las Vegas and taking away professional football from Oakland. Well, not exactly. 

Although the Raiders are leaving town, Beast Mode is making sure there still is pro football in The Town.

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The enigmatic running back will be a co-founder and co-owner of the Oakland Panthers indoor football team. As the Warriors also left town in their move to San Francisco, the Panthers will begin play this spring at the Oakland Arena, formerly known as Oracle Arena. 

Dieter Kurtenbach of the Mercury News was first to report the news Monday night.

"My whole intention was to come back and play with them [the Raiders] until they left," Lynch said to Kurtenbach. "[Arena football] wasn't something I was looking at -- not even a little bit. But when the opportunity presented itself -- I'm a big dude on believing in timing and (stuff). This, at the time, really made sense."

Lynch met Panthers co-owner Roy Choi and team president Scott McKibben while watching his brother, Davonte Sapp-Lynch, playing in an Indoor Football League game earlier this year. The two told Lynch they wanted to bring a team to Oakland and once he knew they were serious, he was all in.

The Panthers will pay homage to Oakland's Black Panther history of the 1960s, and will be coached by former Piedmont High School coach Kurt Bryan. A formal announcement will be made Tuesday. 

Here's a look at several logos the Panthers will sport next season. 

Bringing the Panthers to Oakland will be a big boost as the city loses both the Raiders and Warriors. Nobody is more Oakland than Lynch, and he will always do whatever it takes to provide for his hometown.

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"The [Raiders] will be leaving, but the fans will be here," Lynch said. "This is a good opportunity and a good timing to where you will still have those fans, that community, and the pride they bring.

"... The game will be grassroots to real Oakland. Not the new (stuff). The real Oakland (stuff)."

How Marshawn Lynch will keep pro football in Oakland after Raiders leave originally appeared on NBC Sports Bay Area

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