NEWARK, New Jersey (Reuters) - Notoriously media-shy running back Marshawn Lynch made a brief appearance at Super bowl Media Day on Tuesday, tolerating six minutes of questions before abruptly walking away.
Lynch, whose power running spearheads Seattle’s offense, may have offered the crush of reporters enough time to dodge a potential $50,000 fine by the NFL, even though he spent the remaining 53 minutes of the mandatory media session standing back, eying the scene from behind dark sunglasses.
“I‘m just about action,” Lynch said, explaining why he did not like dealing with the media. “You say ‘hut’ and there’s action. All the unnecessary talk, it don’t do nothing for me. I appreciate that people want to hear from me, but I just go to work and do my thing. You feel me?”
Lynch declined a featured podium space befitting a player of his stature, and instead stood behind a barrier closest to the entrance/exit tunnel at Prudential Center.
Lynch didn’t speak to the media during the regular season and was fined $50,000 by the NFL for his silence.
The running back appealed, and the fine was held in abeyance after Lynch promised to comply with league policy with the understanding that any additional violation would result in the $50,000 being collected and a minimum fine of another $50,000 assessed.
During his brief audience with the media, the University of California-Berkeley standout who goes by the nickname “Beast Mode,” reflected on his early playing days.
”The first time I told my momma I was going to play in the NFL, I was young. Probably Pop Warner (youth football age).
“It was right there in West Oakland (California). Right there at Raimondi Park, about to bounce out. I told her that. She remembered though. She reminded me of it, too. Yeah, she’ll be here (at the game).”
Lynch reflected back on winning the Silver Bowl city championship in high school as a top accomplishment - one that might slip down his rankings should Seattle win the Super Bowl over the Denver Broncos on Sunday.
“To this point, that’s a highlight of my life, winning that Silver Bowl in Oakland. That’s pretty big time for me,” he said.
Shortly after that Lynch withdrew, with the hood of his windbreaker pulled up over his head and touching the bill of his baseball cap, leaving others to talk about his importance.
”Marshawn has the highest IQ that I’ve been around at that position,“ assistant head coach and offensive line coach Tom Cable told Reuters. ”He wants to know what’s going on in front of him and why.
“Smart and tough. Smart in that he understands what he’s asked to do, what the read is and why. And he has an amazing ability in short area to create room. I think that’s what makes him special. He has great feet and really creates a lot for himself. And on top of that he’s a tough-assed guy.”
Running backs coach Sherman Smith said Lynch has a stubborn streak which he shows with the media.
“He is special. He’s a special talent the way he runs the football. Our team feeds off of him. He goes out there on Sunday and gives it everything he has,” Smith said.
“As far as him not talking and stuff, he doesn’t enjoy it. It’s not that he dislikes the media. Does he talk? Oh yeah, he can talk your head off. Is he knowledgeable and smart? Yes, very intelligent.”
Red Bryant, Seattle’s veteran defensive end, has nothing but praise for Lynch. ”You think about Walter Payton, Barry Sanders, Emmitt Smith. Marshawn, he’s in that class of running backs.
”Some of the things he does on a football field are unbelievable. He is in my opinion the heartbeat of this team.
“He’s the best player on the football field, by far.”
Editing by Frank Pingue