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2016 Seattle Seahawks Yearbook

The Beast was also a comedian While Lynch was best known for his toughness, he also had a goofy side that endeared him to teammates, and on the occasions he showed it publicly, to fans as well. “He’s a comedian, man,” said Ravens running back Justin Forsett, one of Lynch’s closest friends and a former teammate both at Cal and with the Seahawks. “He’s always joking. It’s very rare to see him serious at any moment unless he’s in front of a mic with the media wanting to talk to him. He’s just a fun-loving guy.” From appearances on Conan O’Brien’s late-night show to hilarious basketball trash talk in the locker room with Forsett and receiver Mike Williams (sorry, this one’s not remotely appropriate for re-telling here) to asking Charlie Whitehurst, mid-interview, if USA Today writer Jon Saraceno was his pops, Lynch has long had a goofball side to him when he chooses to let it out. Yet those moments only came on Lynch’s own terms, and there was also the defi ant side of him that refused media interviews, then found a way to beat the system, so to speak, at the Super Bowl by repeating phrases such as “I’m just here so I won’t get fi ned.” From the funny man to the defi ant one, Lynch wasn’t always easy to fi gure out, but that was all part of what made him the unique athlete that he was. “Marshawn’s extremely intelligent,” Unger said while Lynch was surrounded by reporters a few days before last year’s Super Bowl. “A lot of people say a lot of bad stuff, but Marshawn is perfectly capable of conducting himself how he wants to. This is his show, and he understands what he’s doing. He’s aware of everybody’s perception of him, but I just don’t think he cares.” The more important legacy back home For as much as Lynch accomplished in his nine-year career, and for as much as he meant to the Seahawks and their recent success, his hope is that it won’t be his most signifi cant legacy. Instead, the work he has been doing back home in Oakland with his Fam 1st Foundation, the work he’ll be able to do even more of in retirement, is what has always been closest to his heart. Lynch spent his offseasons in the Bay Area, and fi ttingly was back home opening his fi rst Beast Mode store in Oakland over the weekend when he announced his retirement. On the few occasions Lynch has opened up publically in recent years, it has usually been to talk about how much Oakland has meant to him. That’s why each summer he hosts a football camp that’s focused not just on football, but on helping at-risk kids stay on the right track. “There ain’t too many who come back and give time to the kids in Oakland,” Delton Edwards, Lynch’s coach at Oakland Tech High School, said last summer. “That’s the one thing you can say about him, he always comes back and donates his time and money to the kids in Oakland. They love him, they love him to death.” When Lynch held his camp last summer, it included three teenagers who were serious juvenile offenders that had been connected with Lynch by Yossef Azim, a San Francisco Police Department offi cer and Ernest Logoleo, a San Francisco juvenile probation offi cer. “That two-minute interaction might change his life,” Azim said after Lynch pulled aside a 15-year-old named Jamal for some one-on-one attention. “These are kids already in our justice system. This is literally going to change lives. He’s making them see a whole new way of looking at life. He’s really reaching a group and affecting them in a way no one else could.” California Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom has known Lynch for years, and was a guest at Lynch’s camp last summer. “A lot of folks are interested in life, some folks are committed, and that’s the difference between success and failure in a lot of respects,” Newsom said. “He’s committed to the community, he’s not just interested in the community. He recognizes himself in every single one of these kids you see behind me, and he wants to be there for them in the long run… A lot of athletes, a lot of folks, are there when the cameras are there. It’s what you don’t see behind the scenes, when he’s there quietly in the community, when he shows up at the scene of a disruption or disturbances and tries to mediate, that to me is the test of his character. I’ve seen that for over a decade, and I’m absolutely confi dent that when he’s done and the cleats are hung up, he’ll be out here for decades more.” The cleats were quite literally hung up on Sunday, ending one of the most important and most interesting careers in Seahawks history. Michael Robinson and Lynch share a laugh after his Beast Quake run. 33


2016 Seattle Seahawks Yearbook
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