Minutes after this tease of a game and season ended, Marshawn Lynch walked down the long hallway and down some stairs to the Packers locker room to swap jerseys.
Apparently the running back traded threads with Aaron Rodgers, his college teammate at Cal in the early 2000s.
Then Lynch walked up those same stairs, down the same hallway beneath famed Lambeau Field and talked about his second go-round with the Seahawks that end with a two-touchdown game and four touchdowns in his three games.
How would he describe his Seahawks redux?
“It was solid,” he said.
But Seattle’s rally before falling short in its 28-23 loss at Green Bay in the NFC divisional playoffs Sunday night leaves a question: Will the 33-year-old running back who came out of a 14-month retirement to help his old team that lost lead rushers Chris Carson, Rashaad Penny and C.J. Prosise to season-ending injuries last month return to the Seahawks in 2020?
“(Shoot), we lost,” Lynch said.
“I’m pretty sure we’ll see what’s hangin’.”
The contract he signed two days before Christmas was only for the Seahawks’ final regular-season game and these playoffs. The deal ended with Seattle’s loss Sunday night.
After that brief comment on his uncertain future, Lynch turned his attention—and the rest of his lengthy, for him, 87 seconds at the press-conference podium outside the Seahawks’ locker room—to the younger players he’s counseled since he signed back with Seattle Dec. 23.
Lynch talked to the many young professional athletes out there who listen and respect Lynch for his persona and his accomplishments of a Super Bowl title and Pro Bowls.
But mostly for keeping it real.
“I saw it like this though, right?” Lynch said, unsolicited. “It’s a vulnerable time for a lot of young dudes, you feel me.”
NFL players do not get paid salaries from the end of each regular season to the start of the following one in September; all salaries are paid in 17 equal installments for each week of the league season.
That’s nine months of fiscal responsibility required, no matter how many figures you make.
“They don’t be takin’ care of their chicken right, you feel me?” Lynch said.
Chicken, meaning their money.
“So, if they was me, or if it was me, or if I had the opportunity to let these little...young sahabs (slang for close friend) know somethin’, I’d say: ‘Take care of y’all money, African.’ Because that (stuff) don’t last forever,” Lynch said.
“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 (flip) you want to. So I tell y’all right now when y’all in it: Take care of y’all bread. So when y’all done you go ahead and take care of yourself.
“So when you are in it now, take care of y’all bodies. Take care of y’all chicken. You feel me, though. Take care of y’all’s mentals. Cuz, look, we ain’t lasting that long. You know, I had a couple players that I played with, you know what I mean, they are no longer here no more. They are no longer.
“So, you feel me? Start takin’ care of y’all mentals and y’all bodies and y’all’s chicken. So when y’all ready to, you know, walk away, you be able to do what you want to do.
“But I appreciate it,” Lynch said. “Thank y’all. Y’all have a good day.”
With that, Lynch walked to his left off the podium stage.
Someone tried to ask him about swapping game jerseys with Rodgers. But as he passed reporters and left the room, perhaps into retirement again, perhaps into another Seahawks offer of a contract, all Lynch said was: “That was longer than 40 seconds.”
Russell Wilson called Lynch “a champion.”
Wilson brought up the team’s unforgettable loss at the end of Super Bowl 49 to New England five years ago. You know, when Wilson threw an interception from the 1-yard line in the final seconds after coach Pete Carroll infamously decided to pass instead of run Lynch for a touchdown against New England.
“To have Marshawn come back and to play with us, was really cool, to be honest with you,” Wilson said. “I know everybody, you know, thinks about, you know, what happened before; I’m not even going to get into it.
“But the reality is, he is a champion. He’s a warrior. He’s a guy who I’ve always loved playing with. He was so much fun to play with when I was a young, rookie pup trying to figure things out, in so many other ways. When we won the first Super Bowl. When we went to the second Super Bowl. All those things.
“That didn’t end the way we wanted it to (in Super Bowl 49). But fast-forward to the time that he came back this year, in the midst of a storm, when we really had some tough things that happened. ...It was kind of an ugly situation. For Robert Turbin and Marshawn to come back, it meant a lot to us.
“But what Marshawn is to be able to do, to talk to the young guys like (rookie running back Travis) Homer, to be able to lift him up, to be able to just step in with the great leadership and the great focus, a lot of fun, too, he did some special things.
“So it was a lot of fun playing with two-four again.”