Running Back Marshawn Lynch
Marshawn Lynch didn't mince words. He didn't beat around the bush, or try to evade the question when asked.
The current Oakland Raiders running back, who retired from football following the conclusion of the 2015 season, decided he wanted to put the pads back on once more once he saw that the Silver and Black had been approved for relocation to Las Vegas.
Lynch, who was born and raised in Oakland, has been a steadfast supporter of the city throughout his entire professional career, and now, he'll get to put on the jersey of his hometown team in the final years before the organization calls Las Vegas home.
"Just to play in Oakland, [expletive] like a dream come true, or something like that," said Lynch Tuesday during his first public comments since being acquired from the Seattle Seahawks in late April.
Head Coach Jack Del Rio – an East Bay native himself – has said several times that he wished he had the opportunity to finish up his career playing for the Raiders, and now after a decade in the NFL, Lynch will indeed get the chance to do just that.
"It's always been something, being from Oakland, that you want to play at home, and have that opportunity," Lynch said. "And I mean, them staying, probably wouldn't have been so big for me to want to come and play, but knowing that they was leaving, and a lot of the kids here probably won't have an opportunity to see most of their idols growing up, being in their hometown no more, with me being from here, continuing to be here, it gives them an opportunity that they get to see somebody that actually did it from where they're from, and for the team that they probably idolized."
Lynch's return to Oakland isn't purely from a goodwill perspective either, the punishing running back's presence adds yet another dynamic weapon on a Raiders offense that is widely considered one of the best in the league, and with a healthy Derek Carr in tow, the Silver and Black are a trendy pick to return to the postseason in 2017.
And while the state of the team certainly appealed to No. 24, he made sure he was clear; his return to the gridiron had everything to do with the city of Oakland.
"I got the whole town, you feel me though, riding with me," Lynch said. "That's good what they got going on, all that good [expletive] like you said, but I have a whole, new Oakland behind me, and the way we feel just about where we're from, why we represent where we're from so hard is because we know what the struggle is, and how we get down."
Lynch's return to the football field was understandably met with a good amount of local fanfare, but as he said – and it shouldn't come as much of a surprise – he's really not one for the superficial noise that accompanied his return.
"To be honest, it was heartfelt, but then, at the end of the day, I still walk outside, so besides the billboards and all of that, I really just get out with the people," Lynch said. "The billboards are for the commercial people, but when you get outside, and you walk in the cracks, you get to find out what's real."