Seahawks star Lynch walks out of media day
Jan. 29, 2014
NEWARK, N.J. (AP) — Marshawn Lynch was there. He even talked a bit.
Then he was gone, cutting short his Super Bowl media day appearance after 6½ minutes.
And then he was back, albeit to the side of the "mixed zone" the NFL created for players not on podiums or in microphone-equipped speaking areas at the Prudential Center.
But this time he wasn't speaking, except briefly to Deion Sanders for NFL Network, to the Seahawks' website, and to Armed Forces Network.
Seattle's star running back, wearing a cap, hood and dark sunglasses, even acknowledged he was trying to avoid being fined by the league for not meeting his media requirements Tuesday. That's why he returned to the floor of the arena rather than disappear completely after he cut short his Q and A with perhaps 100 media members packed together trying to hear his pearls of wisdom.
When he came back, one reporter asked Lynch, "Are you trying to avoid being fined by standing here?" Lynch twice nodded his head yes.
Earlier this month, Lynch was fined $50,000 for not cooperating with the Seattle media. The NFL put the fine on hold, saying it would be rescinded if he complied with media obligations.
"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.
There is a history of fines handed out by the NFL during Super Bowl week dating to the 1991 game.
Buffalo coach Marv Levy was hit for $5,000 for missing the '91 media day. Bills running back Thurman Thomas, like Levy a future Hall of Famer, was docked $5,000 for failing to participate in a mandatory interview session, though not on media day, in '92.
Three players have been fined $20,000 for missing media availabilities: Giants defensive end Osi Umenyiora in 2012, Patriots left tackle Matt Light and defensive tackle Vince Wilfork for refusing to speak to the media following that Super Bowl.
The Oakland Raiders were fined $50,000 as a team for not making all coaches and players available for a required media session in 2003.
Along with letting slip a profanity to Sanders, he three times described himself as "smooth" to the Hall of Fame cornerback, adding: "I ain't never seen no talk that won me nothing."
Earlier, Lynch answered 16 questions at the outset of the Seahawks' one-hour availability, with topics ranging from the Denver defense to teammate Michael Robinson to, well, why he avoids interviews.
"I like to keep it low key," Lynch said. "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?"
Whether Lynch will feel like showing up the next two days, when the Seahawks will be available in a hotel ballroom — no barriers between them and the media — is uncertain.
The Seahawks opted to not place Lynch in one of the 17 areas with microphones and name plates identifying the players Tuesday. He also talked to teammates while standing around.
Several youngsters in the stands above him asked to have footballs signed and he obliged once they tossed him the souvenirs. He also signed a Seahawks helmet, but he didn't converse with the fans.
While he did that, about five dozen media members stood in front of Lynch and shouted out a few questions. He ignored almost all of them as time ran out in Seattle's availability.
Lynch watched as the scoreboard clock counted down to zero and, when it was announced the Seattle portion of media availability was over, he left for good.
"He's such a major factor on our football team," coach Pete Carroll said, "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."
Robinson was asked if he advised his backfield mate on how to handle media day.
"He's a grown man," Robinson said. "I don't tell him much. I think he knows what he's doing. He's got a good plan in place, and as long as he runs inside-outside zone on Sunday, I'm happy with that."
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.
AP Sports Writer Tim Booth contributed to this story.