Beast Mode is back in the NFL.
Former Buffalo Bills stud Marshawn Lynch is returning to the league he dominated at the running back position for the greater part of 12 years, but not as a player. It was reported Tuesday that Lynch had agreed to become the NFLPA’s first-ever chief brand ambassador.
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The 35-year-old Lynch “demonstrated a passion for helping his fellow NFLPA player members succeed” over his career, according to a release from the NFLPA.
“From providing financial wisdom through his experience as an entrepreneur to mentoring others on the realities of the business of football, Lynch serves as a strong example of how athletes are more than the sports they play,” the release reads. “As a NFLPA chief brand ambassador, the five-time Pro Bowler will work with union leadership to ensure its 2,000+ members get the most out of football, providing strategic support and insight for the many athlete-driven programs, resources and revenue growth opportunities available to players.”
Lynch: ‘You Only Get a Little Bit of Time in That Uni’
Lynch retired from the league in 2019 after playing for the Seattle Seahawks in one game that season. The Super Bowl XLVIII champion played three-plus seasons with the Bills and parts of seven years with Seattle, with a two-year stay with the then-Oakland Raiders towards the end of his career as well.
“Lynch is taking an important step in his commitment to athletes, using his influential voice and powerful platform to support initiatives like the already successful #AthleteAnd engagement campaign and content series, which shifts the outdated narrative of “sticking to sports” and encapsulates the pursuit of a career outside of sports,” the release reads. “He will also interface with other athletes and partners through events and social media; mentor his fellow members one-on-one; and, foster business opportunities through the union’s for-profit marketing and licensing arm, NFL Players Inc.”
The Oakland, California native said he was looking forward to the new role.
“If you make it through pee wee, high school, college and you’re lucky enough to call yourself an NFL player, you’re in a situation to create and take part in hella opportunities, but you have to understand that you only get a little bit of time in that uni’, so you gotta max it out and put yourself in a position to make plays on and off the turf,” Lynch said. “By partnering with the NFLPA and working with De Smith, I can share my path, pass down what I’ve been through and seen, so players can see what’s really out there for them and tap in to all the resources that their teams, communities and the PA have available. I wanna put them in positions to be successful in every facet of their lives from building businesses based on their passions to of course takin’ care of their mentals and stackin’ their chicken.”
‘Beast Mode’ Spent 3-Plus Seasons With Bills, Made 2008 Pro Bowl
Lynch was selected 12th overall by Buffalo in the 2007 NFL draft and immediately jumped into the starting running back role. In 45 career games with the Bills, Lynch recorded 687 rushing attempts for 2,765 yards and 17 touchdowns, while adding 94 receptions for 670 receiving yards and one score through the air.
He posted back-to-back seasons of at least 1,000 rushing yards in his first two years in the NFL and registered a combined 15 rushing scores, as well as one receiving touchdown. Lynch made the Pro Bowl in 2008, but was limited to 13 contests in 2009 and was traded to the Seahawks in October 2010 for a 2011 fourth-round pick and a 2012 fifth-rounder.
During his first tenure in Seattle, Lynch had a four-season run from 2011 through 2014 that was one of the most impressive for a running back this millennium. As a contrast to LeSean “Shady” McCoy’s shiftiness and high-involvement as a pass catcher out of the backfield, “Beast Mode” often used his 215-pound frame to bulldoze through multiple defenders and break multiple tackles on the way to touchdown runs.
In those four years, Lynch collected four consecutive seasons of more than 1,000 rushing yards and 10 touchdowns, was named first-team All-Pro in 2012, and rumbled his way to a league-leading 12 scores on the ground in 2013 and 13 more in 2014. Over 149 career regular season games, Lynch totaled 2,453 carries for 10,413 rushing yards and 85 touchdowns, while adding 287 career receptions for 2,214 yards and nine touchdowns.