There will be a generation of kids in Portugal running around football fields, trying to imitate Marshawn Lynch’s “beastquake” runs.
Lynch’s new offseason hobby seems to be traveling the world and teach American football to kids. Sports Illustrated’s Tim Rohan wrote a fascinating story — let’s face it, most stories about Lynch are pretty fascinating — about the Oakland Raiders running back traveling to Brazil, Turkey, Egypt and Portugal over the past few years as part of American Football Without Barriers, which is a non-profit group made up of mostly current and former NFL players. The group travels to foreign countries and puts on football camps and do charity work, according to SI.
Lynch was asked to go to Brazil with the group in 2014, and he must have liked it. He has been on four of the group’s last five trips. SI wrote that Lynch really gets into the trips, and “teaches children how to play the game physically.” No surprise there.
Lynch doesn’t really change anything, even when the trips kick off with a dinner at the U.S. embassy. SI said other players might dress up, but Lynch will show up in sweats.
“You usually have a reverence or a respect [in those situations], and it always goes out the window with Marshawn,” says Pete Hammill, an AWFB staff member. “He’s dropping curse words, being Marshawn, not really having a filter. A lot of times the ambassadors don’t really know how to take it, so they just go with it. It’s funny to see ambassadors just, like, cursing.”
And by the end of the dinner, “The ambassadors are [Marshawn’s] best friends everywhere we go,” AFWB strategy director Todd Buelow told SI. That’s no surprise either.
When Lynch memorably was spotted in Egypt riding a camel and rapping a few years ago, it was part of an American Football Without Barriers trip.
The SI story tells of how Lynch enjoys playing around with the children, and will even give away his shoes to them. There’s also a story about how a linebacker at the camp in Brazil was trash-talking Lynch, so he put on pads and a helmet and ran him over in a drill.
It’s a different view of Lynch, who is a bit of a mysterious figure because he rarely talks to the media. Then again, the various stories about Lynch over the past few years paint the picture of a unique character who connects with people he spends time with. He’s the NFL’s most interesting man.
And if nothing else, there will be plenty more No. 24 Lynch jerseys worn around the world than you’d expect.
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