Seahawks Insider Blog

Marshawn Lynch stares down question on contract, expansive on how he uses his foundation: "It gives inner-city youth an opportunity"

Well, that was an interesting seven minutes I just spent with Marshawn Lynch at his locker.

Rich Gang's "Lifestyle" was boomin' over Lynch's personal sound system into my ear and recorder -- believe me, I didn't know the song; Liz Matthews of 710ESPN radio in Seattle asked him what it was. The Seahawks' star running back who has had as many 1,000-yard seasons in the NFL as he's had media interviews in the last 12 months, sat at his locker following practice this afternoon here in Renton. He picked through a huge drawer of worn turf shoes, high-tops and cleats he said he was going to donate as he barely spoke -- 40 words in nine questions -- and mostly stared for two minutes of questions about football.

I wish I could post the video I shot of it, to show the scene, or even the audio I recorded. But the lyrics to the dominating music is far too R-rated for me to post and still be able to keep my job.

When Dave Mahler of Seattle's KJR radio asked Lynch if he and the Seahawks were in a good place about his contract following the running back's short holdout at the start of training camp, Lynch said nothing, looked up from the shoes he'd been sorting and stared at the questioner coldly for five seconds.

One of the few football-related answers was on his relationship on the field with quarterback Russell Wilson: "We've just continued to grow."

After that, he was asked about his Fam 1st Family Foundation, which he began with 49ers backup quarterback Joshua Johnson in March 2011. Lynch and Johnson both graduated from Oakland Tech High School, which is about three miles south of where Lynch played collegiately, at the University of California, Berkeley.

"It gives inner-city youth an opportunity," Lynch said.

It was, of course, a self-serving topic. But it's a side of Lynch few hear about or see. So I followed up with the only subject he seemed even remotely interested in discussing.

I asked him if he could relate to me some specific examples of helping kids in the East Bay Area through his foundation and the annual football camp he and Johnson put on at Oakland Tech each July. This last one was their eighth such camp.

"Well, just this year I had a kid ..." he began.

And then Lynch jumped into rapping a line along with the song that was still blaring into my recorder. He did that for about five seconds -- and then, presto, he went right back into his answer.

"I had a kid that came to my camp that told me that he was committing suicide by coming to my camp, because of the area (North Oakland) that it was in. And by him coming, he felt like he was putting his life in danger. But he said he wouldn't miss the opportunity to come out there and be a part of it.

"So, I mean, even with kids that feel like this might be a life-threatening situations, but to be out there and experience that they wouldn't turn that down for nothin'. I mean, that's a big accomplishment, and I mean, you know, being able to talk to that young man and being able to help him through his situation was big for me. I don't think that's something that you go around boasting or bragging about, but that touched me dearly."

For Lynch, that had to be his most expansive he's ever been in an interview in his NFL career. It was like his Gettysburg Address.

(For the record, Oakland Tech is on Broadway at 45th Street in North Oakland. It's not the worst neighborhood of the eclectic city, not at all. It continues to gentrify; I lived about 12 blocks north of there on Broadway in the Rockridge section of Oakland about 15 years ago.)

Here is a gallery of photos The Mercury News of San Jose published in July from Lynch's and Johnson's most recent camp in Oakland.

Lynch said he stays in touch with the kids that come to his camp each summer, that many have gone on to get Division-I football scholarships and that he texts with them often. His foundation also gives away turkeys in the Bay Area during holiday seasons, among other events.

Here is the transcript of the entire session -- minus the ambient, R-rated sound of music that dominated the scene:

RB Marshawn Lynch

September 2, 2014

(On how his offseason was after the Super Bowl) It was good.

(On how he feels about defending a Super Bowl championship) I guess we’ll find out on Thursday.

(On how the offense has looked in the preseason) Explosive.

(On what he’s seen from Russell Wilson this offseason) He just continued to grow.

(Do you miss having Michael Robinson around?) Yeah.

(On the offensive line) I just see them coming together.

(On Robert Turbin) I just want the best for these young men.

(On if this offense will be more explosive and throw the ball more this year) I guess we’ll find out.

(On his personal goals for this season) To have fun.

(On his foundation) It gives inner-city youth an opportunity. A lot of kids that came from my foundation, with our camp, I played against one of them in the NFL and there’s a number of them in Division I. There’s a couple of them up here that go to (the University of Washington), Oregon State, got some that go to Central Washington and a number of schools all over the nation. We’ve seen some good turn outs from the kids that have been coming. I’ve had kids from Barbados, I’ve had kids come from Turks & Caicos, I’ve had kids come from Canada, so I think if they’re able to make out I’m not turning down any kids.

(On was there was a foundation like his growing up for kids his age) No. If I wasn’t in the position I’m in now I think I would still have tried to get in to something like what I’m doing with my foundation.

(On what stuck out to him during this year’s camp in Oakland) This year I had a kid that came to my camp that told me he was committing suicide by coming to my camp because of the area that it was in, and by him coming he felt like it was putting his life in danger but he said he wouldn’t miss the opportunity to come out there and be a part of it. Even with kids feeling like it’s a life-threatening situation but to be out there to experience that they wouldn’t turn it down for nothing. That’s a pretty big accomplishment, being able to talk to that young man and help him through his little situation was big for me. I don’t think that’s something you go around boasting and bragging about but that’s something that touched me dearly.

(On if he keeps in touch with his campers) I do.

(On if he text messages with them) Yep.

(On if he thinks when he replies to them if he changes that person’s day) I don’t think they look at me as a life-changer. I think they look at me more like a family member. This is something that’s just on the regular.

--Sounds and looks like LB Bruce Irvin will play Thursday, three days into returning to practice following offseason hip surgery.

This was Irvin today when asked about the Packers starting rookie injury-fill-in center Corey Lindsey in his first NFL game Thursday night:

"Oh man, if I'm a rookie center and I got Brandon Mebane over me? I'm going to pray for him," Irvin said, smiling. "It's going to be a long night, man.

"We got to just take advantage of it, you know. All the weaknesses that he shows we've got to expose it. Hopefully, 'Bane' gonna do what I know he's going to do to him. We've just got to be ready."

--Here is the Seahawks' practice report for today. Am I the only one curious to learn the Packers didn't practice today in Green Bay, two days before the game? Apparently coach Mike McCarthy is trying a new practice plan for each week, with off days two days before games, because the Packers haven't liked how they've started seasons recently:

Monday 9/1

Tuesday 9/2

Wednesday 9/3

 Out  Out  Out
Pos.PlayerInjuryPos.PlayerInjuryPos.PlayerInjury
 
Did Not Participate in PracticeDid Not Participate in Practice Doubtful
Pos.PlayerInjuryPos.PlayerInjuryPos.PlayerInjury
TECooper HelfetKneeTECooper HelfetKnee
RBChristine MichaelHamstringRBChristine MichaelHamstring
GLemuel JeanpierreNeckGLemuel JeanpierreNeck
LBKevin Pierre LouisHamstringLBKevin Pierre LouisHamstring
CBTharold SimonKneeCBTharold SimonKnee
Limited Participation in PracticeLimited Participation in Practice Questionable
Pos.PlayerInjuryPos.PlayerInjuryPos.PlayerInjury
WRKevin NorwoodAnkleWRKevin NorwoodAnkle
CBJeremy LaneGroinCBJeremy LaneGroin
LBBruce IrvinHipLBBruce IrvinHip
Full Participation in PracticeFull Participation in Practice Probable
Pos.PlayerInjuryPos.PlayerInjuryPos.PlayerInjury
Green Bay PackersThe Packers did not practice on Tuesday. The Tuesday practice
participation designations are an estimation.

Monday 9/1

Tuesday 9/2

Wednesday 9/3

 Out  Out  Out
Pos.PlayerInjuryPos.PlayerInjuryPos.PlayerInjury
C/GJC TretterKneeC/GJC TretterKneeC/GJC TretterKnee
   
Did Not Participate in PracticeDid Not Participate in Practice Doubtful
Pos.PlayerInjuryPos.PlayerInjuryPos.PlayerInjury
TEBrandon BostickFibulaTEBrandon BostickFibula
CBDemetri GoodsonConcussionCBDemetri GoodsonConcussion
Limited Participation in PracticeLimited Participation in Practice Questionable
Pos.PlayerInjuryPos.PlayerInjuryPos.PlayerInjury
LBBrad JonesQuadricepsLBBrad JonesQuadriceps
Full Participation in PracticeFull Participation in Practice Probable
Pos.PlayerInjuryPos.PlayerInjuryPos.PlayerInjury
 
Limited Participation (LP) = less than 100% of a player’s normal repetitionsOut = definitely will not play
Full Participation (FP) = 100% of a player’s normal repetitionsDoubtful = at least 75% chance will not play
Did Not Participate in Practice (DNP)Questionable = 50-50 chance will not play
NIR = NOT INJURY RELATEDProbable = virtual certainty will be available for normal duty
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