Marshawn Lynch returned to his Berkeley roots on Saturday to attend Cal’s spring football game. But Lynch didn’t just watch the game as a spectator — he actually participated.
Lynch suited up with a helmet and pads and actually rushed for a touchdown during the game. He told the Pac-12 Network’s Mike Yam that he was asked if he would play in the game, and he said yes.
“It was a little mix. My boy KP asked me if I would do it, I got his back,” Lynch told Yam.
Lynch may have been referring to Kevin Parker when he said “KP.” Parker is the program’s assistant director of player personnel and has been with the program for over a decade.
We might have to give Lynch an asterisk for his touchdown in the game. According to the Pac-12′s Bryan Fischer, Golden Bears head coach Sonny Dykes joked that he would fine the defense $25 million if they tackled Lynch.
“I didn’t want to get a call from Pete,” Dykes joked, referring to Lynch’s coach with the Seattle Seahawks, Pete Carroll.
Even if there was a no tackling rule for Lynch, he says he felt good playing.
“I actually kinda felt pretty good out there knowing that this is home,” Lynch told Yam.
Lynch was a two-year starter at Cal. He scored 10 touchdowns and rushed for 628 yards backing up J.J. Arrington during his freshman season in 2004. He had 1,371 yards from scrimmage and 10 touchdowns in 2005, and 1,684 yards and 15 touchdowns in 2006, when he was named the conference offensive player of the year.
Cal had its best three-year stretch in over 50 years during Lynch’s career. They went 28-9 those three seasons, and they have gone 39-37 since. His coach at Cal, Jeff Tedford, was fired after the program’s downward spiral culminated with a 3-9 season last year. Lynch is hoping the program can turn it around under new coach Sonny Dykes.
“They were struggling, but I hope this regime turns it back into what it was when I was here,” said Lynch.
Lynch, along with former Cal teammate Aaron Rodgers, has gone on to have a successful NFL career. After being drafted by the Bills in 2007 and spending three and a half seasons in Buffalo, he was traded to the Seattle Seahawks where he has blossomed and reached consecutive Pro Bowls.
Another nice aspect of Lynch’s appearance in the spring game is that they had him wear jersey No. 10 like he did in college. Lynch also wore jersey No. 24 during his freshman season, which has been his number most of his pro career.