The rap music that had been blaring throughout the practice that had just ended. Marshawn Lynch picked up a stray football -- and punted it as high as he could.
The 1,300-yard rusher was trying to hit the ceiling of the Seahawks’ indoor practice field at the Virginia Mason Athletic Center Friday afternoon.
He just missed. It clanged high off the metal wall behind an end zone as the rest of the NFC West champions began forming a circle around coach Pete Carroll to adjoin the final full practice for Sunday’s conference title game against Green Bay at CenturyLink Field.
Jon Ryan, Seattle’s real punter, loved it. He gave Lynch a fist bump for the trick.
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That’s how loose the Seahawks are for this game that will determine whether they become the first team since the 2004 New England Patriots to return to the Super Bowl the season after winning it.
[caption id="attachment_25899" align="alignright" width="480"] Marshawn Lynch turned "punter" after practice Friday. Real punter Jon Ryan loved it. Aaron Rodgers says Lynch can also throw the ball -- and, as seen here from last summer, spit sunflower seeds. (AP file photo).[/caption]
“The demeanor is the same it’s always been,” quarterback Russell Wilson said, “championship mindset.”
Rap music. The coach hosting basketball-shooting contests on a full-sized rim in a meeting room before practices, and throwing footballs during them. The lead running back punting to the ceiling – and the punter fist-bumping the rugged, Pro Bowl back.
Yes, “championship mindset” is different with these Seahawks.
“Preparation was the kind that we need,” Carroll said Friday. “And it makes us feel good going into the weekend. It’s what we hope to accomplish each week.”
The bullish Lynch, by the way, has more all-around football skill than his NFL career has revealed. This week Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers recalled when he and Lynch were college teammates at California in 2004, Lynch’s first season there and Rodgers’ last.
“Marshawn was an extremely gifted athlete,” Rodgers said. “He used to always challenge me in throwing competitions. And I won’t say I beat him every single time, because he’s got a heck of an arm – distance-wise, not accuracy.
“He was a great teammate. We had a lot of fun. Oakland guy. He loved being in the Bay Area and represent for his city, as he used to say. He’s a talented guy. It’s been fun to watch him and follow him and see him at the various events.”