Is anyone really surprised the first extensive, public opinions from the always unpredictable Marshawn Lynch about him not getting the ball at the end of the Seahawks' Super Bowl are coming from ... Turkey?
But here's what's being lost amid Lynch telling a Turkish television network that he was expecting the ball on second down from the 1-yard line with 26 seconds left in the Super Bowl Feb. 1 and his Seahawks down to New England 28-24: Lynch publicly raising the question of whether we were all ready for him to be "the face of the nation" had he scored the title-winning touchdown. Instead, Lynch was essentially like the rest of us -- a bystander -- after the fateful decision by coach Pete Carroll and offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell to have Russell Wilson throw a slant pass to fourth wide receiver Ricardo Lockette.
I don't need to remind you Malcolm Butler jumped the route like he knew it was coming and intercepted Wilson's going-to-be-ripped-forever throw to deny Seattle its second consecutive title.
What's getting attention is what Lynch, in Turkey with fellow Seahawk Cooper Helfet and fellow NFL players DeAngelo Williams and Gary Barnidge conducting football camps and spreading goodwill there as part of the American Football Without Barriers foundation, told NTV Spor television immediately after being asked by an anchor in a studio about the final play of Super Bowl 49.
Be the first to know.
No one covers what is happening in our community better than we do. And with a digital subscription, you'll never miss a local story.
"I would be a liar of I didn't tell you I was expecting the ball," Lynch said. "Yeah, I was expecting the ball.
"But ... I had no problem with the decision."
But Lynch also said the following, unsolicited, really, in Turkey in reference to the notion Mike Silver of the NFL Network reported some in the Seahawks' locker room that night thought: that Lynch scoring his second rushing touchdown of the game there to win it all wasn't what everyone wanted:
"I think it was more of um, uh ... how do I say this? Um... when you look at me and you let me run that ball in, I'm the face of the nation. MVP of the Super Bowl. Pretty much the face of the nation at that point in time," Lynch told NTV Spor. "I don't know what went into that call. Maybe it was good I didn't get that ball.
"You know, it cost us the Super Bowl. I have full confidence in my teammates to execute that play. We've done it so many more times.
"But would I love to have had the ball there? Yeah, I would have."
"I would have. But," he said, throwing his up hands from the desk behind which he was sitting, "game's over. I'm in Turkey. What's hangin'?"
With that, Williams, who said last week he'd been released by the Carolina Panthers, extended his hand to slap Lynch's. They were in the NTV Spor television studio along with Barnidge.
Here's the thing on that: Lynch wouldn't have been the Super Bowl MVP had he scored the winning touchdown.
League personnel had disseminated the ballots for voting on that by select member of the media covering the game with 6 minutes left in the game. Seattle was leading 24-21 at the time, and wide receiver Chris Matthews (who had his first four catches, touchdown and 100-yard receiving day of his NFL career) was poised to become one of the most unlikely MVPs in Super Bowl history had the Seahawks won. Tom Brady won the honor instead after New England rallied with two touchdowns in the final 8 minutes to win.
For what else Lynch said halfway across the globe while the Seahawks wait for his yay or nay on whether he is indeed going to play next season: The host asked Lynch why he was in his country spreading goodwill as an NFL ambassador to the Turkish people.
"I'm just here so I don't get fined," Lynch said, smiling.
Lynch then likened the camps for youth and citizens in Turkey to the work he does with the camps he runs for what he estimates are 850 kids each summer at Oakland Technical High School in his hometown of Oakland, California.
"This is an opportunity for me to come out and spread my brand, as well," Lynch said of his "Beast Mode" line of clothing and the "I'm just here so I don't get fined" credo for which he recently applied for a patent.
You can watch the interview here -- if you don't mind simulataneously hearing a Turkish translation on top of the players' and host's words in English.