The NFL reached into Marshawn Lynch’s pocket again Thursday, this time fining the Seahawks running back $20,000 for grabbing his crotch after scoring Seattle’s go-ahead touchdown Sunday in the fourth quarter of the NFC Championship Game.
Lynch had been fined $11,050 for a similar action after his Beastquake II touchdown run at Arizona in December.
The latest fine brings Lynch’s total tab for this season to $131,050. He also got docked $100,000 after national media complained about him not talking in the locker room immediately following Seattle’s loss Nov. 16 at Kansas City.
Three other fines also were announced from the game.
Seahawks receiver Chris Matthews was fined $11,025 for what the league said was grabbing his own crotch while congratulating Lynch after the touchdown.
Lynch took to Twitter to defend his teammate, saying that Matthews was simply shaking his hand.
Seattle guard J.R. Sweezy was fined $8,268 for unnecessary roughness on Green Bay linebacker Clay Matthews, when Matthews was on the ground after sacking Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson in the third quarter.
“It was probably a little late and a little unnecessary,” Sweezy said. “But that’s our quarterback, and we’re going to defend him. That’s who we are.”
Meanwhile, Clay Matthews also was fined $22,050 for what was determined to be an illegal blindside hit on Wilson after an interception by Ha Ha Clinton-Dix.
Matthews denied targeting Wilson.
The Patriots were dealing with off-field issues of their own Thursday, as coach Bill Belichick and quarterback Tom Brady discussed the continuing controversy about whether footballs were altered for New England’s AFC Championship Game victory over Indianapolis.
Meanwhile, the Seahawks continued to tread carefully around that issue this week.
“They are what they are,” linebacker Bobby Wagner said. “We focus on us and they do what they do. They’re winners. They’ve done this for a long time. I’ve watched them — growing up — winning. I have respect for them.”
The Seahawks will be the first team to the desert, arriving at Phoenix Sky Harbor airport around 1 p.m. Sunday. The New England Patriots are expected about 26 hours later.
On Monday, both head coaches will be available to media, as will about a half-dozen Seahawks and Patriots quarterback Tom Brady.
The circus arrives in the desert on Tuesday: the Super Bowl’s annual media day, which will be held at U.S. Airways Center, the downtown home of the NBA’s Phoenix Suns.
On Jan. 28-29, coaches and players will meet with the media: the Seahawks at the Arizona Grand Resort in Phoenix, the Patriots at the Sheraton Wild Horse Pass in nearby Chandler, Arizona.
On Jan. 30, the players move out of the public eye while the respective head coaches hold a joint press conference.
Feb. 1 is Super Bowl Sunday, with kickoff scheduled for 3:30 p.m.
The winning head coach and Super Bowl MVP will meet with the media the following day, .
Held out of Seahawks practice Thursday were G Sweezy (ankle), RB Lynch (non-injury related) and S Earl Thomas (shoulder). Players on the practice report who participated fully were T Justin Britt (knee), CB Richard Sherman (elbow), LS Clint Gresham (neck) and DE Michael Bennett. New England’s practice report showed CB Brandon Browner (knee), LB Don’ta Hightower (shoulder), DT Chris Jones (elbow), WR Brandon LaFell (shoulder/toe), DL Sealver Siliga (foot) and C Bryan Stork (knee) as limited. Brady (ankle) participated fully. … Seattle defensive coordinator Dan Quinn quickly dismissed questions about his Monday meeting with the Atlanta Falcons about their head coaching position. “I had a great time with all the teams throughout the process,” he said. “And really now the focus is right back here on this game.” … Bennett addressed the media while wearing a hat that has belonged to a friend’s father — Mark Alexander — who recently died of cancer. Bennett said the hat was passed along by a family member, and that he would wear it all week. … Bennett said the bicycle that he rode around the field while celebrating the win over the Packers has been donated to his charitable foundation and will be auctioned as a fundraiser. … Bennett also used his time with the media to deliver a shot to the Packers, apparently in response to comments by Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers. “Some people say the better team lost, but I don’t know how the better team loses,” Bennett said. “That’s just something losers say.”