Former NFL running back Marshawn Lynch joins Cal's first padded practice in Sydney

Marshawn Lynch joins the Cal football team in its first padded practice in Australia.

After a morning press conference with Hawaii head coach Nick RolovichCalifornia got back to the practice field on Tuesday (Sydney time), at David Phillips Sports Complex, where the Bears were joined by a familiar face: Marshawn Lynch. Lynch -- who came to New South Wales by way of a stopover in Africa -- suited up, much as he did for the 2013 spring game, wearing full pads with impunity as the scout team running back, now that he is retired from the NFL. He shared one-on-one time with running back Vic Enwere, who has become as close as any current player with the enigmatic Oakland native, ever since he worked a Family 1st youth camp as a freshman.

"It was fun to get Marshawn out here," said head coach Sonny Dykes. "It's always fun to have him around our program and supporting our guys. It means a lot to our players. It just means a lot to our University and our football program that he's out here and that he cares. He flew over here just to be around our guys, and we really appreciate his support. It was fun to see him out there in gear, running around today. He looked pretty good. He looked like he still could play, a little bit. We'd love to have him. I really appreciate what he does for our program. It means a lot to our players, and really means a lot to all of us."

The Bears will be giving away 10,000 bobbleheads of Lynch, commemorating his 2006 ride on an injury cart after an overtime win against Washington, when the Bears face the Huskies on Nov. 5, this season.

"Marshawn's awesome," Dykes said. "He's got a great personality, our guys love interacting with him, and any time we can spend some time with him, we're all excited."

Freshman receiver Demetris Robertson watched Lynch work a few reps in the backfield.

"That was crazy," he said. "My first time ever seeing him. It was pretty cool to see him live rep with us. I didn't know he was that big in person."

Lynch was also a major part of new Cal running back commit Biaggio Ali-Walsh's commitment, befriending him through a family connection. Lynch was a shoulder to lean on after Ali-Walsh's grandfather, Muhammad Ali, passed away.

Another running back, starter Tre Watson is "definitely excited" to get back on the field after a walk-through on Monday.

"Coming out here yesterday got us ready for today; we knew what to expect from the field," Watson said. "We practice on the turf field, so practicing on grass is a little bit different."

Watson said that Lynch showed the running backs a few techniques. 

"We're grateful that we have one of the greatest running backs of all time come out here and be around us, show that he still cares about us and be around the program," Watson said. "It's a real cool experience."

Lynch, who announced his retirement from the NFL in February, played at Cal from 2004 to 2006, rushing for 3,230 yards and 29 touchdowns and catching 68 balls for 600 yards and 6 TDs.

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