The public image of Marshawn Lynch has been different than the image Lynch has had with his teammates.
While Lynch was in Seattle, he was portrayed as a hard-charging running back with a love of Skittles and a desire to stay away from the media. Before the Super Bowl in January of 2015, Lynch showed up for the required media day but answered every question with, “I’m here so I won’t get fined.” The year before, he showed up at Super Bowl media day wearing sunglasses and a hoodie while spouting a different quote: “I’m just ‘bout that action, Boss.'”
In his brief time with the Oakland Raiders, however, Lynch has shown his teammates he’s a hard-working, full-of-fun teammate who’s committed to winning.
Teammates and coaches see a different player than the public image of Marshawn Lynch.
This week, Raiders offensive coordinator Todd Downing, in an interview with Sirius XM NFL Radio, was effusive in his praise of Lynch when he was asked how Lynch is fitting in and performing.
“This is not the PR answer, this is being as genuine as I can be,” said Downing. “He has pleasantly surprised me at every turn. It’s been really neat to be around him. He loves football. He’s a football junkie. He loves talking football, he loves being on the field with his teammates, he loves toting that rock. Everything that we’ve seen of him this far – of course we’ve only been in pajamas out there practicing – but what we’ve seen is fantastic.”
No matter what Downing and others think about Lynch so far, however, the key will be how Lynch comes back physically from a year away from the game in retirement and how fit he is as a running back at age 31 – the age when even the best ballcarriers begin to decline.
Lynch played just seven games in 2015 because of injuries and averaged only 3.8 yards per carry. In his two previous seasons, however, Lynch rushed for a combined 2,500-plus yards and an NFL-leading 25 touchdowns.
The Raiders will open training camp in late July. Rookies are to report July 28, with veterans scheduled to arrive July 28.