Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch may have played his final NFL game Sunday. For real this time.
The 33-year-old, who came out of retirement late this season to join a depleted Seattle offense, ran for two touchdowns in his team’s 28-23 divisional-round defeat to the Packers.
Afterward, Lynch used his postgame media availability to offer advice to younger players in the league, his own experiences providing urgency to the message. Lynch said his peers should be mindful of saving their money and preserving their health in order to lead fulfilling post-football lives.
Lynch does not usually speak at length in front of reporters because it makes him uncomfortable, so this marked a departure from his standard approach to having microphones in his face.
MORE: Packers avoid another postseason choke against Seahawks
His postgame press conference went like this:
Reporter: How would you describe your comeback, Marshawn?
“It was solid,” he said.
Reporter: And scoring four touchdowns in three games?
Reporter: What’s going through your mind right now?
“Shoot, we lost.”
Reporter: Come back next year?
“I mean, shoot, we’ll see.”
Then Lynch decided to deliver a message to young NFL players:
“Look,” he said, “I’ll say like this though: This is a vulnerable time for a lot of these young dudes, you feel me? They don’t be taking care of their chicken right, you feel me? So if it was me, or if I had a opportunity to let these little young (teammates) know something, I’d say take care of y’all money, African, because that (stuff) don’t last forever now.
“I’ve been on the other side of retirement and it’s good when you get over there and you can do what the (expletive) you want to. So I tell y’all right now while y’all in it: Take care of y’all bread, so when y’all done you can go ahead and take care of yourself. So while y’all in it right now, take care of y’all’s bodies, take care of y’all’s chicken, take care of y’all’s mental. Because, look, we ain’t lasting that long. I had a couple players that I played with that they’re no longer here no more — they’re no longer — so you feel me? Take care of y’all mentals, y’all bodies, y’all chicken, so when y’all ready to walk away y’all walk away and you’ll be able to do what y’all want to do.”
(If you’re confused, “chicken” means money.)
Lynch also shared a special moment with Aaron Rodgers after the game.
Marshawn Lynch just walked into the #Packers locker room to congratulate Aaron Rodgers. Can’t say I’ve seen that before
— Patrick Finley (@patrickfinley) January 13, 2020
In unique Marshawn Lynch fashion, the running back just entered the Packers’ locker room for a jersey exchange with Aaron Rodgers. They’re signing one another’s game uniforms.
— Jeff Darlington (@JeffDarlington) January 13, 2020
Marshawn Lynch just walked into the #Packers locker room with his jersey. He gave fellow Cal alum Aaron Rodgers a big hug. Rodgers took his jersey from his locker and they just went down a hallway to presumably exchange and share some words.
— Matt Schneidman (@mattschneidman) January 13, 2020
If Sunday was Lynch’s last game, then he will finish his career with 85 regular-season rushing touchdowns and 12 postseason rushing touchdowns.
He will also go down as one of the most popular athletes in the history of Seattle, largely for his ability to come off as genuine in an industry that sometimes lacks authentic personalities. In that way, his potentially final words as a player were fitting.