PHOENIX – They weren't going to trap Marshawn Lynch. He would talk Tuesday on Super Bowl Media Day. He would sit there at his rostrum and declare, “I'm only here so I won't get fined.”
Declare it 28 times before adding, “Time up.”
And then, wearing oversized sunglasses and an almost gleeful look, walk away.
From the people with the cameras on long poles who had waited for a half-hour or so to snap Lynch. From his teammates on the Seattle Seahawks.
He beat the NFL, in a matter of speaking. Word was the league was going for fine him $500,000, a half-million, if he didn't appear. He showed up. He showed us.
His coach, Pete Carroll, then at USC, once asked Jim Harbaugh, “What's your deal?” It does no good to ask Lynch's deal.
He does what he wants, other than grabbing his crotch after a long run, because the NFL said that also would cost him. Big.
Marshawn Lynch, from Oakland Tech, the high school of John Brodie and Rickey Henderson, of selective engineering students. Great sports and academics.
Marshawn Lynch, from Cal, birthplace of the Free Speech Movement. From the “I'm only here so I won't get fined” movement.
The man plays football, brilliantly, a running back who at times literally can't be stopped. One of those times was in the second half of the NFC Championship Game a week and a half ago. The Seahawks rallied to beat Green Bay and get to Super Bowl XLIX against New England.
Lynch was in what others call “Beast Mode,” a reckless, aggressive, vicious style when he bursts through tacklers like a character in a video cartoon. “Beast Mode” then becomes “Silent Mode.”
“It doesn't bother us,” said Michael Bennett, a Seahawks' defensive end. “If I didn't have to, I wouldn't talk either.”
Does it really matter if Lynch refuses to say very much? In truth, saying nothing other than what he mouthed Tuesday or “Thank you.” It's a game he plays, albeit less important than the one on field.
He did an interview for ESPN with Jeff Chadia, who wrote for The San Francisco Examiner in the late 1990s. Lynch wore a T-shirt that said “University of California, Oakland.”
He's proud of his hometown. Proud of the Seahawks, who acquired him in trade from Buffalo, where he had problems. Not so proud of being arrested in 2012 on a DUI in Dublin and being booked at Santa Rita Jail. He was embarrassed. He demanded privacy.
“Being from Oakland, you see a lot of things,” Lynch told Chadia. “You see friends turn on friends all the time. You see family turn on family. So I feel like if I'm going to rock with you, then I'm [in] 100 percent, and you're going to know that. … I've been pretty good at reading people. If you rockin' with me 'cause you're just a solid individual, then we're rockin'. But if you got a motive or something, I am going to probably see right through that.”
If that's his explanation, he's entitled to it. He's paid to play football not orate. Opposing teams don't know what to do with him. Either do we, except watch him when he's running with the ball.