Seattle Seahawks star Marshawn Lynch made an early exit at Super Bowl media day, then returned to Tuesday's session just in time to possibly avoid a hefty fine from the National Football League.
The running back abruptly left the required session at the Prudential Center in Newark, N.J., walking out after 6 1/2 minutes.
He later came back and stood on the side of the media area, doing interviews with the Armed Forces Network, Deion Sanders for the NFL Network and a Seahawks Web reporter. Lynch also talked to teammates and signed footballs and a helmet for fans in the stands.
While he did that, about five dozen media members stood in front of Lynch and shouted out questions. He ignored almost all of them as time ran out in Seattle's 45-minute availability.
'Players are required to participate and he participated. We will continue to monitor the situation.' - NFL spokesman Greg Aiello on Seahawks RB Marshawn Lynch
One reporter asked, "Are you trying to avoid being fined by standing here?" Lynch twice nodded his head yes.
Earlier this month, Lynch was fined $50,000 US for not co-operating with the Seattle media. The NFL put the fine on hold, saying it would be rescinded if his behaviour improved.
"Players are required to participate and he participated. We will continue to monitor the situation," NFL spokesman Greg Aiello said Tuesday.
Lynch has required media sessions Wednesday and Thursday. The Seahawks play the Denver Broncos on Sunday.
At media day, Lynch was standing on the floor of the covered-over hockey rink among a cluster of about 100 reporters. There were eight podiums set up for Seattle stars and coach Pete Carroll, plus nine other separated areas separated from the throng. Lynch wasn't positioned at any of them. The team decided to put him among a group of players standing behind barriers with reporters on the other side.
Lynch answered a half-dozen questions before walking away. He came back a little bit later, off to the side of the interview zone, but close enough to hear questions. And to answer them, had he felt so inclined.
He generally didn't.
Lynch watched as the clocked counted down to zero and, when it was announced the Seattle portion of media availability was over, he left for good.
Lynch never has explained his beef with the media. He regularly spoke to reporters until late in the 2012 season. In March of that year, he signed a four-year contract worth $31 million, including a guaranteed $18 million. In July 2012, he was arrested for driving under the influence near his hometown of Oakland, Calif.
Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said Tuesday of Lynch's actions:
"He's such a major factor on our football team, but in this setting he becomes somewhat of a recluse and doesn't want to be a part of it. We try and respect that as much as we can."
Marshawn Lynch's Media Day transcript
- On whether he is having the time of his life this week.
- On his feelings about media day and the fans.
"Man, I appreciate this. This is love right here, straight up. They came to watch people get interviewed? This is amazing right here, man."
- On why interviews are uncomfortable for him.
"I think you're just taking it wrong. [It] don't make me uncomfortable."
- On whether he enjoys media attention.
"Nope. I'm just about action. You say `hut' and there's action. All the unnecessary talk, it don't do nothing for me. I appreciate that people want to hear from me, but I just go to work and do my thing. You feel me?"
- On whether he understands that media attention helps connect him to the fans.
"I understand that. My fans love me regardless. They love the Seahawks. They aren't worried about what I've got to say. They just want to make sure I show up to perform."
- On the Denver defence.
"They're a talented defence. They're a great defence. They're out there to do their thing. I'm more worried about what we've got going on."
- On why he, as a prominent player on the team, is not at a media day podium.
"I like to keep it low key."
- On receiving congratulations for his contract to endorse Skittles.
"Oh man, a lot of contracts."
- On fullback Michael Robinson.
"He's big-time, man. He enjoys that, with the mics and everything; the Rob Report. He enjoys that kind of stuff. That's right up his alley."
- On having Robinson back in Seattle.
"It's big. He's a mentor for me. He's got a lot of knowledge about the game. He plays with passion. That's something I can identify with and that's my boy."
- On the first time he ever thought about playing in the Super Bowl.
"It was probably the first time I told my mama I was going to play in the NFL. I was young, probably Pop Warner [age] playing for the Saints. It was right there in West Oakland. Right there at Raimondi Park, about to bounce out. I told her that. She remembered, though. She reminded me of it, too. Yeah, she'll be here [at the game]."
- On the significance of having won the Silver Bowl, a city championship, as a high school player in Oakland, versus being in the Super Bowl.
"I don't know. That's tough, man. To this point, that's a highlight of my life, winning that Silver Bowl in Oakland. That's pretty big time for me."
- On whether he thinks he will play harder in the Super Bowl given the magnitude of the game.
"Every time I go on the field, boss, I give what I got. That's just straight up."
- On the game taking a toll on his body.
"Football takes a toll on your body. That's just the way I play. I guess I'm kind of used to it or something."
- On whether he envisioned this after being traded from Buffalo to Seattle in 2010.
"You know, it was an opportunity for me to go and see if there was something else out there. I'm glad I got the chance to do that. Crazy stuff right here, though, but I'm just pleased with the opportunity I have to be a part of this. I just rolled with my gut, straight up. I took that feeling right then and there that this was the best situation."
- On whether he's been able to enjoy the moment.
"A little bit. I won't be satisfied with this until it's all over. When we win, that's when I'll be satisfied. Until then, I've got work, but I appreciate all this.
"Y'all have a good day."
— The Associated Press