Marshawn Lynch — Well-Liked But Hard to Understand

The weekend-before-last quickie trip to Seattle that was presented to wife Susan and I by Orange’s All-Pro safety Earl Thomas III of the Seahawks provided us with many memorable events.

We were accompanied by many of Earl’s family and got to see several area landmarks in and around Seattle. And it didn’t matter where we went, banners and photos of the Seahawks players were everywhere.

We visited with many interesting football fans, security personnel at Century Link Stadium and even some of the relatives of the Seahawks players.

Earl’s mother, Debbie Thomas, saw to it that everyone in our entourage got passes to the Seattle players’ locker area so we could visit with Earl and some of his teammates when they finished eating and dressing after the game.

While we were waiting for Earl to exit the locker room, we got to chat with the Delisa Lynch, mother of star running back Marshawn Lynch, who many National Football League analysts consider the league’s best runner between the tackles.

Marshawn comes from a family of football players including an uncle who played in the NFL for 11 years and his cousin J’Marcus Russell, who was a first-round draft pick of the Oakland Raiders a few years ago.

Lynch attended the University of California at Berkeley where he majored in social welfare and played football for the Golden Bears. He was the No. 12 pick in the first round of the 2007 NFL draft by the Buffalo Bills.

During his career with the Bills and the Seahawks, the 28-year old Lynch bulled his way for 8,241 yards, averaging 78.8 yards per game and 4.2 yards a carry and has scored 67 touchdowns. He has more than 2,000 career carries.

But for some reason Marshawn clams up to the press and recently was fined $100,000 by the NFL for refusing to be interviewed after a game. Actually, half of that fine was for him not cooperating with the media before and after Super Bowl 48 earlier this year.

His image with the average football fan is probably not so shiny, but he is well-like by his teammates and coaches. 

“In the locker room, Lynch is one of the Seahawks’ most respected players,” according to an article that appeared in Sunday’s Seattle Times. “He is a rare offensive player who is just as comfortable with the defensive line as he is with the receivers.

“He is held in high esteem in large part because of his play on Sundays. But he also is valuable as a mentor, a loyal teammate and a confidant willing to dispense no-BS feedback.”

“From Little League to high school to college to the pros, Marshawn Lynch is the best teammate I’ve ever been around,” commented wide receiver Doug Baldwin.

“I think if a lot more people were like him, the NFL would be a better place,” added defensive lineman Michael Bennett. “With the passion he runs with, giving his all out there, you can’t help but want to go out there and block as hard as you can for him because of the way he runs.”

            The Seattle fans really love Lynch and his fondness for Skittles. Whenever he scores a touchdown, the fans throw bags of Skittles around the sidelines of Century Link Stadium.

But there is a segment of fans that were irked when he held out for more money during training camp. Then a report surfaced that Lynch was so upset over the trading of   trouble-making Percy Harvin that he almost didn’t get on the team bus. 

One report said that Lynch likely would not return to the Seahawks next season and another said Lynch’s relationship with Coach Pete Carroll had deteriorated to the point that they were no longer talking.

Carroll addressed the topic last week saying, “We want him around here for as long as he can play.”

The article in the Seattle Times pointed out that the irony is that Lynch is under the most scrutiny of his career in what is one of his best seasons, if not the best.

Lynch has been quietly mentoring his understudies Robert Turbin and Beaumont West Brook product Christine Michael in the event he gets hurt or decides to leave the Seahawks’ family.

But there are a lot of people who don’t want anything like that to happen to Marshawn Lynch.

KWICKIES…The West Orange-Stark Mustangs (11-2) appear to be playing their best football of the season when it counts the most as they play for the Region III championship of Class 4A Division II Friday night against undefeated LaGrange (13-0) at Moorhead Stadium in Conroe. They blanked a talented LaMarque team 34-0 in the regional semifinals last week, limiting the Cougars to a meager 94 total yards. The winner of this game could very well end up being the state champion in a couple of weeks.

Former West Orange-Stark standout senior wide receiver Mark Roberts was named to the 2014 All-Southland Conference football team, helping his Lamar Cardinals tie a school record with eight victories against four losses. Roberts was the first player in Lamar history to record 1,000 receiving yards, finishing the season with 46 catches for 1,157 yards and 13 touchdowns. He led the SLC in both receiving yards and touchdowns, ranking him ninth and fourth, respectively in the entire Football Championship Subdivision.

The Arizona Cardinals dropped their second straight game, a 29-18 loss to the Atlanta Falcons, who got a career-best five field goals from Bridge City’s Matt Bryant Sunday. The veteran place-kicker booted field goals of 20, 23, 21, 45 and 28 yards. The two Arizona losses plus the two 19-3 victories by Seattle moved the Seahawks to a game out of first place in the tough NFL West Division with an 8-4 record. Arizona now stands at 9-3 and goes to Kansas City Sunday to play the tough Chiefs, who also are struggling to land a playoff berth.

Johnny Manziel finally got into a game for Cleveland Sunday with 12:01 left in the fourth quarter and led the Browns to their only touchdown. But it was too little, too late as his team lost to the Buffalo Bills 26-10. The Cleveland faithful probably will start calling for Johnny Football to start at quarterback for the Browns, but Brian Hoyer took a team that was supposed to win only three or four games all season to 7-5 and still a chance for a playoff berth.

No. 2 Alabama’s impressive victory over Auburn was enough to switch places with still undefeated Florida State in this week’s Associated Press Top 25 College Football Poll. Oregon remained in third place while TCU jumped two spots to No. 4 and Baylor moved up one place to No. 5 along with No. 6 Ohio State and No. 7 Michigan State. Arizona vaulted four spots to No. 8, Kansas State came up two slots to No. 9 and Mississippi State dropped from fourth to No. 10.

Bo Pelini, who always looks mad, probably really is this time as he was fired by the University of Nebraska Sunday for “a lack of victories” after a seven-year stint as the Cornhuskers’ head coach. However, the university will owe Pelini a settlement of about $7.9 million, which can be reduced once he lands another job.

JUST BETWEEN US…Two games riding the bench did a world of wonders for Houston Texans quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick as he came back with a vengeance Sunday and burned the Tennessee Titans’ defense for six touchdowns as the Texans waltzed to a 45-21 victory at NRG Stadium in Houston. The 45 points scored and the six touchdown passes were the most in franchise history. Fitzpatrick’s 147.5 quarterback rating was a career high and the second highest in franchise history. Second-year receiver DeAndre Hopkins had 238 receiving yards on nine catches, both career highs for him. The Texans also increased their takeaways to an NFL-leading 28 with four turnovers Sunday, which are 17 more than they totaled in 16 games last season. Their 6-6 record keeps their flickering hopes alive to gain a playoff berth. Defensive lineman J.J. Watt had another spectacular game, recording two sacks, six hits on the quarterback, a forced fumble, fumble recovery and a 14-yard return and another touchdown catch.