During Marshawn Lynch’s time in Seattle, there were always a few assumptions that seemed destined to come true. The first and most obvious: He was going to try and run over someone, usually multiple someones, while on the field.
But beyond that, there was an assumption about how it would end. Marshawn was either going to just walk away one day because he felt like it or go home to Oakland for a retirement tour to wind down.
He chose the former, retiring in the middle of the Broncos Super Bowl win in 2016 by tweeting a photo of his cleats on a power line. The timing was a bit surprising in the moment, but it all made sense.
It also makes sense that the Raiders are making a play to lure Lynch out of retirement now. There’s details to be worked out — Seattle still owns his rights, and we’re not even sure if Lynch wants to play. But it does make sense from a logical perspective.
It’d be pretty perfect, too.
Marshawn Lynch wears his love for Oakland on his sleeve — it’s his home, his place of comfort, and where he’s happiest. He takes every chance he can get to visit his hometown and stays heavily involved in the community. In brief peeks behind the curtain that Lynch keeps up, Oakland is always the focal point.
Lynch has never really been comfortable anywhere else. He was drafted by the Bills, and Buffalo is most certainly not New York City. He found a locker room in Seattle where he could be himself, but he sparred with the media and became more reserved publicly over time. When he’d go home to Oakland, running camps in the community, there was something different about Lynch.
It’s always felt as though Lynch needed Oakland, and that was where he’d truly be happy. Not that he wasn’t in Seattle — he found success, both in a football sense and financially, and a team that looked to him as a locker room leader. But as the team grew more successful, with more attention, Lynch grew more standoffish.
In Oakland, though, Lynch would be able to drive home each night, be even closer to the community, and play in front of a crowd of adoring hometown fans on Sundays. It’s a pretty good deal for a last run.
How Lynch’s career ended left something to be desired, too. After making it through most of his career without missing serious time, Lynch was plagued by an abdomen injury that required surgery, forcing him to miss half the season. He returned for a playoff game against the Panthers, but didn’t play a huge role in it, before hanging up the cleats in the middle of Carolina’s Super Bowl loss.
Because nothing is ever storybook, there’s also this: Mark Davis is still trying to move the Raiders to Las Vegas, and all indications are that it will happen. And because both sides have to get something out of a deal, the Raiders likely see this as a PR move, a way to sell tickets, and keeping fans at bay as a bridge to leaving. The Raiders would give Lynch the opportunity to play at home, but it’s still against an unseemly backdrop of relocation.
There’s a lot of questions to be answered here, the biggest of which is if Lynch wants to, or is even ready to, play. But if there’s a chance — and, c’mon, did you really think he’d disappear that easily — Oakland is it. Lynch can stay home, play in front of family, and finish his career, while making a few extra dollars, in the place where he’s most comfortable.
One more chance to see Marshawn Lynch run defenders over, this time in his own city, is too tantalizing to pass up.