"We bring a guy into the program that we think is going to give us a little boost. You know that we've emphasized trying to get this running game in order. We hope that he'll help in that regard. We're pleased to get that done. We'll move forward this week. It's good we're on a break. It doesn't disrupt a game week preparation and we'll get him in here as soon as possible and we'll get to work." — Pete Carroll
It all began Oct. 6, 2010. A barbarian-like running back, Marshawn Lynch, was traded from the Buffalo Bills to the Seattle Seahawks. At the time, he was brought to Seattle to help a sputtering running game and an aging Matt Hasselbeck. What no one knew was that he would actually resurrect a franchise, city and fan base.
Foolishly, I thought the marriage with Lynch and Seattle would last forever. I even sang a few ballads of Keith Sweat's “Make it Last Forever” when I heard rumbles during the past offseason that the Seahawks' battering ram may be released or traded at the end of this season.
You know the saying, “all good things must come to an end,” is boring and cliché. Despite the qualms about the saying, it’s very direct and true. It’s a sad feeling to come to grips with the truth that something you adore is about to come to an end. The things we tend to appreciate — whether it’s a television show or your or movie trilogy — all have an an undesired ending. In the world of sports, we see our favorite athletes retire or even go to different teams, and at times, it’s gut-wrenching. That's where we are with the man they call "Beast Mode."
Even though he is currently under contract with the Seahawks, the finish line has been approaching for quite some time. The team can save $6.5 million if Lynch is cut. With him playing only 10 games and approaching the dreaded age for running backs — age 30 — it spells the end for Beast Mode in the Emerald City. The divorce may be near, but it has been a gratifying expedition.
For six years, Marshawn has plowed through would-be tacklers, passed out turkeys, jumped into end zones, all while being a man of few words. During that time, it hasn’t been a stretch to call him the best running back in the NFL. Six years may not seem like a long time, but for a running back it is an eternity. The ability of a ball carrier can vanish in a blip. To see someone play at such a high level for such a long time is a rarity from that position.
Watching Beast Mode run through and around defenses in the NFL has been a sight to see. The Oakland-bred running back gave 12th Man fans and even non-Seahawks fans like myself an elated feeling of watching him play football each and every Sunday.
In true Lynch fashion, he let his play on the field do most of the talking. During those six seasons, he rushed for 6,438 yards and scored 68 touchdowns, and in the process he told opposing defenses to “Hold His D*** …”
All while doing his best impersonation of Al Bundy, the Skittles aficionado made four Pro Bowls (2011-2014), a First-Team All-Pro (2012), and countless highlights on and off the field. Oh, he also won a Super Bowl and was one yard away from winning a second championship — you know, had Seattle simply given him the ball.
Given all that, Lynch will go down as the best running back in the team's history. In other words, he was about that action, boss.
In addition to being menace on the field, his jovial personality is what will be missed the most. My advice is to take a few minutes and search “Marshawn Lynch” interviews on YouTube. A few minutes will likely turn into hours of gregarious laughter. While being outspoken but not overly spoken, it bridged a gap between himself and the media.
As a member of the Seahawks, he fended off defenders and used that same approach with the media. He may have rubbed that same media and some fans the wrong way with his stance on being mute with them, but it was unequivocally Marshawn. People focused more on what he didn’t say during interviews rather than what he did on the field. Failing to meet the media obligations may come back to haunt him when it comes to Hall of Fame consideration down the line, but to those who pay close attention to him know he’s not a jerk as seen in ESPN E:60 profile.
Replacing Marshawn Lynch may not be as tough as many may think. The Seahawks fared well without him for most of the season while he was out due to injury. Seattle used a running back by committee approach with Christine Michael and Thomas Rawls, and the run game didn’t miss a beat. During that stretch, Russell Wilson developed into a top-tier quarterback, and the once ground-and pound-team became a team with a penchant for an aerial assault.
Though the numbers may be replaceable, Marshawn left his mark on the Seattle faithful in an invigorating and unique way. I mean, who could forget when he was throwing Skittles and drinking Fireball during the Super Bowl 48 celebration parade? His impact was bigger than yards and touchdowns as he became a cultural icon.
It would have been nice to see Lynch enjoy more success in his last season with the team, but it didn’t happen.
In spite of his down year, it’s appropriate to marvel at Lynch’s body of work. There aren’t many running backs who have had this type of individual success and team success during that time frame. Lynch’s career is far from over, but his career with the Seahawks is likely done. This season’s swan song wasn’t a profound one, but overall it’s a piece in NFL history that will not be unforgettable.
From a fans perspective, I would like to say “I’m thankful“ to witness the Beast Mode experience.
That says a lot coming from a San Francisco 49ers fan.
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