Marshawn Lynch offered no valuable insight as he tried to fulfill his obligation to speak to the media this week in Phoenix as his Seattle Seahawks prepared for their second straight Super Bowl.
The Seahawks running back sat down his booth on a riser in the corner of the floor at US Airways Center and answered every question with some form of “I’m here so I won’t get fined.” The notoriously bad interview subject was stubborn in not coming off that answer and occasionally gave a wry smile with it.
While Lynch set a timer on his phone and got up after 5 minutes of taking questions – saying he answered them would be stretching the truth – and walked off. Meanwhile, his teammates were all available for the prescribed hour and left to answer for him, and about him.
Running back Robert Turbin was asked if he wanted to take Lynch’s seat after he left, but his answer was a glimpse into Lynch’s history of acrimony with the media.
“I think I’ve had Marshawn’s back with media enough times,” Turbin said.
So have his teammates. While media day at the Super Bowl often features playful questions that have nothing to do with football, numerous Seahawks were asked about Lynch’s character. He may be frustrating for the media, but he’ is apparently loved in the locker room, showing a different side of him that he refuses to let the public view.
“He’s one of my all-time favorite players I’ve ever played with. He’s just like an awesome guy, totally cool locker room dude off the field,” center Max Unger said.
“It is mandatory. We are required to come up here and say stuff. It’s kind of a tough situation. The guy, obviously, doesn’t really have a good relationship with the media and doesn’t really want to mend it at all. So, it’s a tough situation.”
It wouldn’t have to be. Lynch could break his pattern and open up, but that clearly isn’t in his plans. He was fined $50,000 in November for violating the league’s media policy – players are required to talk with the media at least once a week if requested. He was also reportedly threatened with a $500,000 fine if he didn’t talk during Super Bowl week.
He talked, but he offered no insights to the questions being asked. Whether that will be enough to avoid a hefty fine or not remains to be seen.
“I won’t give any specific stories about Marshawn, but I will say that he is probably one of the best teammates I have ever been around. He is a comedian. He is a supporter,” receiver Doug Baldwin said. “He will get on you when he needs to get on you when you need it. Obviously he doesn’t like talking to the media because that is just not him. We all know him in the locker room as the true teddy bear that he is and we love him for it because, like I said, he is one of the best teammates we have been around.”
Baldwin said Lynch will reprimand teammates “in a sly way (where) you laugh at it with him.”
Lynch’s performance on the field for the Seahawks has been solid. He has 216 yards rushing and a touchdown in two playoff games after a 1,306-yard, 13-touchdown performance during the regular season. But in the Divisional round of the playoffs, he was also fined $20,000 for an obscene gesture after scoring his touchdown against the Green Bay Packers.
“Why would he change anything? It is Marshawn Lynch. He is getting the most popularity for doing nothing, so I would tell him to change nothing,” Baldwin said.
Why? Well, because officials could be looking for something similar again and it could cost more than just Lynch. If he gives another gesture like when he grabbed his groin after his touchdown run, it could cost the Seahawks a penalty in the Super Bowl.
“He is smart. He is wise. He is not going to do anything that is going to negatively affect the team on the football field,” Baldwin said. “I am not worried about that at all. I think it is silly to even talk about honestly.”
His teammates seem to back his personal stance with the media, and thereby the public. Detroit Lions receiver Golden Tate, a former teammate of Lynch, tweeted that he loved Lynch’s statements that he was at media day so he wouldn’t get fined, adding, “Ya’ll can’t control everything.”
Offensive line coach Tom Cable said he and Lynch get along so well because “neither of us care about the noise.” Cable believes it is human nature when outsiders are hard on Lynch because he won’t really answer questions from the media. Lynch will give his own noise, but they aren’t answers.
“People, if they want something from someone and they don’t get it the way that they want it, they get an attitude about whatever it is,” Cable said. “For Marshawn, it just doesn’t matter. He’s going to do what he does and he’s going to be himself. What he is, is he’s a guy that cares about everyone in that locker room. Anytime you hand it to him, he’s carrying them. He’s not carrying the football, he’s carrying his team. That’s who he is. That’s what he does.”
“… He is the most giving, the most loyal, one of the great teammates that you can want on a team because of the way he takes care and looks after people. He’s got a remarkable sense about that. His sense for loyalty runs extraordinarily deep and his teammates know that.”
Lynch leaves teammates to answer for him
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