In late April, the 2017-18 NFL season got a bit more exciting with the news that Marshawn "Beast Mode"/"Money" Lynch had passed his physical and would be back on the gridiron, playing for his hometown Oakland Raiders.
His presence on the team is halfway between a gamble and the greatest idea ever. On the one hand, he's one of the most punishing running backs the league has ever known, with a devastating combination of power and speed and no significant durability issues throughout his career outside of the sports hernia that kept him sidelined for much of the 2015-16 year. On the other hand, however, he's now 31 years old, with a year off from the game, and there are no guarantees with athletes.
The two sides inked a two-year deal worth $9 million, with an additional $7.5 million in incentives. Not too shabby for either side, and a running back like Lynch could make this Raiders offense a serious threat to any defense the league has to offer, especially after the departure of Latavius Murray, who signed with the Minnesota Vikings.
While there is plenty of reason to like him on the field (unless he's playing your team and trampling your defensive backs), he's soft-spoken in the funniest way possible off the field, and has endeared himself to even fans of his opposition with catch phrases and hilarious treatment of the media that he'll hopefully bring back to the league for at least the next two years. Watching someone like Beast Mode, who has already had a full career, including a Super Bowl ring, Pro Bowl appearances, and All-Pro years, return to the game is something special, and we can't wait for him to get back on the field. Here are fifteen things you didn't know about Marshawn Lynch.
15 His Favorite Run Ever
There are few players out there who have consistent playmaking potential like Beast Mode Lynch. His highlight reels consist of him breaking tackles, running over defenders, and of course, getting into that next gear the second he sees any daylight. While our own memories of Marshawn's greatest runs of all time are from the NFL, namely "Beastquake" and "Beastquake 2.0," he told Sports Illustrated a few years ago that his own favorite was back in high school, when he made a couple of defenders looked foolish and then sprinted in for a 46-yard score. After the game, he said he would love to treat his offensive line to Sizzler if he wasn't so broke. Thankfully, these days he can treat whoever he wants to whatever restaurant he wants.
14 Charitable Work
That punishing running style and intensity on the field actually translates into a great person off the field. Our guess is he just gets all his aggression out on opposing linebackers and DB's so he's mellow and happy when the game is over. Off the field, like many other NFL players he has a charitable organization that is close to his heart: the Fam 1st Family Foundation. This group provides educational resources and overall personal development initiatives for under privileged children in the Bay Area. Lynch is one of the founders of this organization and has also held football camps for youth in the Oakland area. So, as the very least, it's good to see that Beast Mode Lynch does have somewhat of a soft side.
13 High School Athletics
It goes without saying that Marshawn was a beast of a running back in high school, but like many other athletes, he played tons of sports in his youth. Outside of football, he excelled in track and field, played basketball, and was a member of the wrestling team. His track events were sprinting and several jumping competitions, and in basketball he and his team at Oakland Tech went to the state semi finals. Back to the gridiron, Beast Mode played several positions other than running back, including safety, linebacker and of course quarterback. Many people don't remember that he actually threw a touchdown pass back in 2007 what he was with the Bills.
12 His Time in Buffalo
Back in 2007, Marshawn Lynch was picked twelfth overall by the Buffalo Bills. He's a fairly sharp guy, but everyone has gaps in their knowledge, including Beast Mode. A few years ago he was in an interview and admitted that back when he was drafted, he thought Buffalo was in New York City. He later learned that it was of course, not, and was in a different part of the state altogether. But his first few months in Buffalo were eventful. According to his own recollection, he was pulled over by cops throughout the city on a regular basis. At one point he tried to contact a local police chief to talk about why he was being pulled over so much. For lynch Buffalo is sure to be a distant memory as he moves forward with his career.
11 Athletic Family
It almost goes without saying, but there are some families that just do sports better than the rest. Beast Mode comes from one of those families. Most people know he has a few cousins who have played football. Robert Jordan is one such cousin, and was a member of the BC Lions of the Canadian Football League. Joshua Johnson is another of his cousins, and is currently one of the backup quarterbacks for the New York Giants, but really hasn't done much in the NFL. Finally, we all know the story of legendary draft bust Jamarcus Russell, who was taken first overall in 2007 only to disappoint the Raiders for three years.
Looking back one generation, Lynch's uncle played cornerback for three teams over 11 years in the 1980s and '90s. Marshawn's mother was also an athlete in her youth, and set track and field records when she was in high school.
10 The Name "Beast Mode"
Few nicknames in today's NFL are as spot-on as Beast Mode. It is simple, fun to say and works perfectly with Lynch's punishing, aggressive and downright beastly rushing style. When asked about the name he said the origin was simple: coaches first started saying that he ran like some kind of beast back in high school. When he got to college and started destroying people there, coaches started using the term again, and after all those years, he had grown used to the name and began to use it himself. He also went by "Money" throughout his college years and to some extent in the NFL, but most fans know him as Beast Mode. He has said that to him, "Beast Mode" is more than just a nickname: it has become a personal philosophy for everything in life.
9 The Truth about His Media Presence
He gained some notoriety a few years ago for refusing to talk to the media after games; an act for which he was fined.
A couple of the most important people in his life have offered their thoughts on why Marshawn Lynch treats the media the way he does. His mother has suggested that he was always somewhat of a quiet person and often did not like to talk to people for whom he didn't have a great deal of trust. His grandfather (Papa) was also a key influence in his life, and told him that there was no point in talking too much, and that he should let his play do the talking on the field. This is something he mentioned in an interview a few years ago, and that he never wanted to make his success on the field about him, given that success requiring an offensive line, a quarterback and receivers.
8 Relationship With Father
We've mentioned his mother, with whom he has always been close, along with a couple of cousins, an uncle and his grandfather. We have yet to mention his father, a figure who has been absent for most of Beast Mode's life. While he did show up to a few high school football games, Maurice Sapp has largely been absent. He has spent time in prison over the years and wasn't around much for the lives of any of his kids. This is one reason for why Marshawn went by the last name Sapp-Lynch back in his youth. Eventually he dropped the "Sapp" altogether. As we mentioned earlier, his primary male familial influence in his youth was his grandfather LeRon, but he also looked up to several of his coaches over the years.
7 College Highlights
During his three years in college, Marshawn Lynch absolutely tore apart the competition with the Golden Bears. He didn't see much playing time as a freshman, but with just 71 carries over 12 games back in 2004, he managed a whopping 628 yards, with eight touchdowns. That's an average of 8.8 yards per carry. His sophomore and junior years saw 1,246 and 1,356 yards on the ground respectively, and a total of 21 rushing touchdowns between the two. He's second all-time among all UC Berkeley running backs in terms of rushing yards, behind only Russell White, from the 1970's; who never really did anything after being selected to the NFL. Lynch also holds the school record for most 100+ yard games, with seventeen. He and the Golden Bears won Bowl games in 2005 and 2006, and he rushed for over 100 yards in each, with three touchdowns in the 2005 Las Vegas Bowl, and two in the 2006 Pacific Life Holiday Bowl, earning MVP honors in both games.
6 The Man Likes Cars
During his retirement/year off from football, Marshawn did some traveling, notably making his way to Scotland to get people talking about the Super Bowl (it was a Skittles commercial). He did plenty of charity work, and of course, he reviewed some cars. No matter where he went, hilarity ensued. He just has one of those mellow, pleasant personalities that it is hard not to laugh along with.
But getting back to the task at hand, aside from those cars he "reviewed," he has a very respectable collection of rides. Among them are a white Lamborghini Aventador, and he used to own a Jaguar F-Type. On the sensible side he also has a Toyota Prius, and has bragged about still having a 1986 (his birth year) Honda Civic. He also discussed using that Prius as an Uber car, and we aren't sure what the odds are of getting Beast Mode as your Uber driver (probably a joke altogether), but that would be a story to tell.
5 Business and Financial Savvy
We don't know whether it is the good people around him or the fact that he has a decent head on his shoulders, but Lynch seems to be keen not to end up where other professional athletes have. In short, he is known to take care of his money. As we've seen in talking about his cars, and as we'll see later when we look at his house, the guy has spent a decent amount of money, but he has managed to live exclusively off his endorsements and business dealings; saving his earnings from playing football. Among those businesses is his clothing line: it is named none other than "Beast Mode." He has two retail locations, one in Oakland and one in Seattle and of course, an online store. The man is sure looking to make the most out of the beat Mode persona.
4 The Relationship with His Mother
These are the kinds of stories that make anyone's heart smile. Unless one is a complete monster (or one had dreadful parents), most of us want few things more in life than to improve the lives of our parents and make them proud of us.
Marshawn's mother Delisa was promised a house by her twelve year old son back in the late 1990s. He said one day after practice that he was going to make the NFL and buy her a house. Beast Mode is just one example of what a can-do attitude and an encouraging parent can accomplish. He was very close with his mother throughout his youth and the two have both said that being as far apart as they were when he was in Buffalo was difficult, as he even chose to attend college at UC Berkeley because it was close to home.
According to a story from his mother, when he was born there were two placentas, indicating he may have had a twin who never developed. Delisa said that when the midwife saw this, she and the doctor said Marshawn would likely grow up to be abnormally strong, as the baby had been living off both of them while in the womb.
3 A Few Impressive Stats
While stats never tell the whole story of an athlete's career and skill, it would be silly of us to ignore the numbers he's put up over the years, as quite a few of them are very impressive. With 11,091 career yards from scrimmage, he is 78th all time. Another 1,000+ yard season could put him up to 58th. His total career rushing yardage, at 9,112, is good enough for 36th all time, just in front of LeSean McCoy and a couple of spots behind Matt Forte.
He's had six 1,000+ rushing yard seasons: two in Buffalo, and four in Seattle, with his 2011 to 2014 seasons all bringing 1,000+ yards on the ground and at least 12 touchdowns. His yards per carry has been better with Seattle, averaging 4.4, in contrast to 4.0 with Buffalo. A clutch runner, his playoff yards per carry has been 4.9 in his five trips to the post season with the Seahawks.
2 His House
In early 2016, Curbed did a contest of sorts to find out which NFL player had the most ridiculous home. Beast Mode won it, beating out the likes of Tom Brady, Rob Gronkowski, and teammate Russell Wilson, among others for the title of "Most Lavish NFL Player House." It cost him $3.6 million, and sits on the bay in Richmond, California. Most of the wall space is glass, and there is a massive 58 foot dock out front on the water. He has five bedrooms and five and half baths, any of which can be used to hide from the media, a home theater, and when he's tried coming home from practice of games, he can take his elevator. There is a wine cellar as well, another perfect place to hide from reporters.
1 Why All the Skittles?
If your answer to "why all the Skittles?" is something to the effect of "why all the questions? Skittle are awesome," we like your style, but seriously, there is a cool story about why he munches these treats on the sidelines.
Ever since his high school days, Skittles have been a regular part of Marshawn Lynch's football routine. All of the stories point back to his mother, who was trying to find a way to sooth her son's stomach (which was prone to getting upset) before games. She tried other methods, but Skittles were what they ended up sticking with, and back in those days, she referred to them as his "power pellets." We'd say this is hilarious, but we've all seen him hit, there may be something to those little candies.