Seahawks Insider Blog

How Marshawn Lynch really exited after Super Bowl 49 + refereeing his high school games at Oakland Tech

In this May 5, 2016, file photo, Marshawn Lynch talks on the phone after giving a speech at a job fair in Seattle. Lynch put to rest any lingering speculation about a possible return to the NFL in an interview with 60 Minutes Sports that aired Tuesday.
In this May 5, 2016, file photo, Marshawn Lynch talks on the phone after giving a speech at a job fair in Seattle. Lynch put to rest any lingering speculation about a possible return to the NFL in an interview with 60 Minutes Sports that aired Tuesday. AP

Marshawn Lynch finally uttered the words “I’m done...I’m retired” on national television. But he had another interesting anecdote in his profile on 60 Minutes Sports that first aired Tuesday night on Showtime.

The now-former Seahawks star had California Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom with him as he got away from Super Bowl 49 ahead of his team, minutes after the Seahawks decided to pass from the 1-yard line. That was instead of handing the ball to him at the end of the game they lost to New England on Russell Wilson’s final-second interception at the goal line.

“Put it this way: He did not wait for the team bus to leave after the game,” Newsom told 60 Minutes Sports during the Showtime piece. “He wanted to get the heck out of there. So I watched as he ran -- sprinted right out -- and we grabbed him and we took off and we got him back to the hotel.”

To be perfectly accurate, Lynch didn’t exactly “sprint” out of Seattle’s locker room after that unforgettable Super Bowl ending in Feburary 2015, at least not right away. I was going into the locker room beneath University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Arizona, at the moment Lynch was exiting it ahead of his teammates -- and wrote about it.

Lynch leaving the locker room ahead of teammates was standard during his last few seasons with the Seahawks.

In 2003, the year Lynch was romping for more than 1,700 yards for Oakland Technical High School in his hometown, Newson won the election across the Bay to become San Francisco’s mayor.

The late 1990s and those early 2000s were the years I was a referee for high school football games in the East Bay on weekend afternoons and nights. I officiated more than one of Lynch’s games for Tech in the Oakland Athletic League. That was the inner-city conference in which one player from Castlemont High School once jokingly asked me as we -- all African-American players, coaches, staffers, fans, other game officials and me -- met at midfield in East Oakland for the coin toss before one game: “Man, what are you doing here?”

Lynch was a marvel and a masher on the field for Oakland Tech, 11 blocks south from the tiny studio apartment on Broadway my wife and I shared in the Rockridge section of the city (while I was going to graduate school at neighboring Cal Berkeley). I remember him romping for what most have been more than 200 yards on about 10 carries by halftime as he and Tech steamrolled Oakland High. That day it took more than half the defense to bring down the huge, bulldozing No. 10. I happened to be at the umpire’s position on the officiating crew for that game, with the linebackers in the center of the defense watching line play. The teenaged Lynch almost ran me over a couple of times that afternoon, too.

Skyline and later McClymonds were the more consistently well-rounded OAL teams when Lynch played in it, and Skyline usually won the league. Yet those Tech-Skyline games were great ones to officiate and see; the picture below is from one of them. Division-I recruiters lined the field like it was some kind of college combine, and it was obvious then Lynch would play at a big-time college program. He did, for hometown Cal, before Buffalo drafted him 12th overall in 2007 -- and before the Seahawks traded for him three years later to be the cornerstone of their best string of seasons ever.

▪ My trusted News Tribune colleague Dave Boling will be covering Thursday’s final organized team activity (OTA) practice and Tuesday’s first workout of the Seahawks’ mandatory minicamp while I am away for a family memorial in Ohio. Whether Pro Bowl defensive end Michael Bennett is or is not at the minicamp will be among the stories Mr. Boling will be following.

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