ALAMEDA – The Raiders have been focused on the NFL Draft the last few days, and rightfully so. Friday night, however, was the right time to ask about what happened just before.
The Raiders acquired power running back and Oakland native Marshawn Lynch. If he's close to top form after a year away from the NFL, the Raiders offense will be tough to stop.
He's a big physical rusher the Raiders were looking for. The Raiders were the team Lynch wants to finish his career representing. The Oakland Tech High grad and Cal alum might be the town's most popular citizen, someone who consistently gives back to the city he loves.
Lynch was downright giddy after formally signing with the Raiders, greeting everyone in the building with child-like enthusiasm. He got fitted in his Raiders helmet and refused to take it off, wearing it out of the building and the car ride home.
Del Rio loved the energy Lynch brought to the team's complex, and believes that will carry on while he represents the Silver and Black.
"Authentic passion. That's what I see," Del Rio said Friday night. "He's a homegrown guy. He's extremely excited about joining this football team and being a part of the Raider Nation. We're excited to have him."
Lynch is a bruiser of the highest order, though some may wonder how effective he can be at 31, a year removed from professional football.
"There will be questions about how much is left in his tank, and we're going to find out," Del Rio said. "I don't know that I've ever seen anyone else be more excited, more pleased to be joining a team, my team, our team."
Del Rio understands where Lynch is coming from. The Hayward native longed to be a Raider at some point in his career, but never got the chance.
I told him he was lucky, because I didn't get a chance to do that as player. I wanted to finish here as a player too. He's getting that chance and he's fired up about it.
"He's a big man, and he plays with the violence that we like and appreciate. I think he'll look forward to running behind (the Raiders offensive line) and those guys up front."