January 29, 2014 in Sports

Beast in disguise

Lynch begrudgingly gives media few minutes of his time
By The Spokesman-Review
 
Associated Press photo

The Broncos believe they must stop Marshawn Lynch in order to win Super Bowl XLVIII.
(Full-size photo)(All photos)

NEWARK, N.J. – Last week, it was all about the Seahawk Who Talks Too Much.

But come the sociological hot mess that is Super Bowl Media Day, everyone wanted it to be about the Seahawk Who Doesn’t Talk Enough.

And it was.

For six minutes, 21 seconds.

And in that time, Marshawn Lynch shed questions as easily as he caroms off defensive tackles and careens through linebackers, though with less malice – not a plush toy, but not such a hard guy, either.

“Man, I appreciate this – this is love right here,” the Seattle quakeback said, gazing out Unabomber style through stylish sunglasses snuggled under a new Seahawks’ Super Bowl hoodie.

In his sights were some of the 7,000 people who – true to the general numptyness – plopped down $28.50 apiece to track more than 5,000 credentialed members of the media harvesting the oral nuggets of the Lucky XLVIII Mine.

“They came to watch people get interviewed?” he marveled. “This is amazing right here.”

Well, more precisely, it’s apocalyptic, except it’s been cresting for four decades now.

While anywhere from 50 to 100 pressed against a three-foot stretch of waist-high restraining fence to hear the Beast Mots, camera tripods were piled up like a freeway rear-ender, six deep around a podium for teammate Richard Sherman, who has turned last week’s postgame popoff into a brand.

He’ll be back at it again in a different venue today, repackaging the same message in different paper.

But we won’t see the Anti-Sherm. Not until Sunday.

Still, he teased us with a taste.

On the NFL Network, he toyed with Deion Sanders, who came on with oily patronizing by telling Lynch, “You look good.”

“Shiiii … ,” Lynch snorted, fingering the lining on Deion’s pinstriped suit, “you look good, man.”

A threatened six-figure fine was the safe swaying from the sixth-floor rope that chased Lynch into the Prudential Center for his session Tuesday, and if he fulfilled only the bare minimum of his conversational duties to avoid the hit, surely we know by now he exceeds the max on game day – and avoids nothing.

“I’m just about that action,” he explained. “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?”

But if Lynch’s toughness seems to be embodied in an ability to squeeze more toothpaste out of a spent tube, it’s more than that.

“He has highest I.Q. I’ve been around at that position,” insisted Seahawks line coach Tom Cable. “He wants to know why. ‘Why are you running this combination? Which guy should I feel the cut block from?’ A lot of guys just run and if they get a lot of yards, they’re happy – and if not, the scheme is wrong or this or that is wrong.

“Then you see his physicality come into play, creating room in short area. Because he understands it like (the linemen) do up front.”

Giving the Seahawks, in essence, an extra blocker.

“I joke with him, ‘You’re just a pseudo-guard and we give you the ball sometimes,’ ” Cable said.

His charisma, then, is not goosed along by glibness, but is solely the product of his on-field performance (a Chuck Norris analogy is not wholly awkward). This is an increasingly rare circumstance; even doing interviews at the point of a bayonet, Lynch is marketable – hence his new deal with Skittles, which will issue a limited blue-and-green “Seattle Mix.”

“My fans love me regardless,” he said. “They love the Seahawks. They aren’t worried about what I’ve got to say. They just want to make sure I show up to perform.”

Solidly in the red zone, Lynch then punched the day’s singular truth over the goal line.

“You don’t like it either,” he told his audience. “They be throwing you in here. I don’t get it.”

He holds no disgust for his teammates who either enjoy or disguise mere tolerance for the newsies. Fullback Mike Robinson is his best pal and “he enjoys that, with the mics and everything – ‘The (Real) Rob Report.’ ”

And they hold out hope that he might soften at least a bit.

“If Marshawn got up and gave a pregame speech, I would be more (than) shocked,” Robinson said. “It would be the most motivating speech.”

So maybe Sunday. But probably not.

He bounced away with a smile, his 15 minutes of Media Day fame still nine minutes light, only to be collared by Sanders, who suggested that Sunday’s opponent feels it only needs to stop Lynch to stop the Seahawks.

“I’m just one piece,” Lynch warned. “We got some dawgs.”

Barking dawgs. And those that don’t have to.


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