Buffalo Bills Marshawn Lynch breaks an attempted tackle by Green Bay Packers safety Morgan Burnett during the first quarter of their game Sunday, September 19, 2010 at Lambeau Field in Green Bay, Wis. The Packers won, 34-7.

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NFLPA names Marshawn Lynch chief brand ambassador

Former running back Marshawn Lynch will serve as the NFL Players Association’s first chief brand ambassador, the union announced Tuesday.

Per the NFLPA, Lynch “will work with union leadership to ensure its 2,000-plus members get the most out of football, providing strategic support and insight for the many athlete-driven programs, resources and revenue growth opportunities available to players.”

NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith said the addition of the five-time Pro Bowl selection “is a huge win in furthering our mission as a full-service union to our men on and off the field.”

Per the NFLPA release, Lynch will spend his time aiding athletes through events and social media as well as help them with potential business opportunities.

“I’m always tryin’ to make the most outta my time and opportunities. Ya’ feel me? If you make it through pee wee, high school, college and you’re lucky enough to call yourself an NFL player, you’re in a situation to create and take part in (a lot of) opportunities, but you have to understand that you only get a little bit of time in that uni’, so you gotta max it out and put yourself in a position to make plays on and off the turf,” Lynch said in a statement.

“By partnering with the NFLPA and working with De Smith, I can share my path, pass down what I’ve been through and seen, so players can see what’s really out there for them and tap in to all the resources their teams, communities and the PA have available. I wanna put them in positions to be successful in every facet of their lives from building businesses based on their passions to of course takin’ care of their mentals and stackin’ their chicken.”

Lynch, 35, was selected by the Buffalo Bills with the No. 12 overall pick in the 2007 NFL Draft. He played three-plus seasons in Buffalo, then moved on to the Seattle Seahawks and retired after the 2015 season. He came out of retirement in 2017 to play two seasons for the Raiders (2017-18) and three games — one in regular season, two in the playoffs — with the Seahawks (2019).

In his career, Lynch gained 12,627 yards from scrimmage and scored 94 touchdowns.

–Field Level Media

The Intersection of the NFL and Esports: AFC West

The overlap between the NFL and video games is massive. The players are actively gaming in their free time and many of the owners are directly or indirectly invested in the industry. I am going division by division highlighting star players on the field who also have a love for video games/esports.
Marshawn Lynch – RB Oakland Raiders
BeastMode is an investor in NRG Esports, an avid Call of Duty and Fortnite player and was even a character in a scene in Call of Duty Black Ops III campaign.
At NRG Esports, Lynch joined a star-studded investor group that contains Alex Rodriguez, Shaquille O’Neal, Ryan Howard and Jennifer Lopez, among other athletes and celebrities. The organization was started by Sacramento Kings co-owners Andy Miller and Mark Mastrov and has top-level talent in a variety of games including Overwatch, Rocket League and Fortnite.
He has been an outspoken advocate for Call of Duty for years and Treyarch – the developer of Black Ops 3 – rewarded him by putting him in the background of a scene in the campaign. Lynch called it “one of the highlights of my career.”

(He’s at the back table, sitting on the left, drinking aggressively)
He can also be found playing Fortnite and crashing Conan’s Clueless Gamer set to rip the heads off some fools in Doom.
Von Miller – LB Denver Broncos
The Clueless Gamer video that Lynch crashed was supposed to be between Josh Norman and Miller but if BeastMode wants in, he gets in.

Miller is also a huge gamer himself and thinks that gaming is a natural extension of NFL players competitive instinct.
“As athletes, we compete over everything, and a game like ‘Call of Duty’ is about as competitive as it gets,” Miller told ESPN’s Jon Robinson in 2012. “With the competitive aspect of the game, you can be down a couple of kills and you just want to come back. That’s what draws all athletes to ‘Call of Duty.’ There is just so much competitive spirit involved.”
He has been a gamer his whole life growing up on Tecmo Bowl and Contra as a kid. In addition to shooter games he also plays a lot of sports games but – at least at the time of that ESPN interview – said FIFA and NBA 2K were bigger communities than Madden.
“Everybody plays “FIFA.” Sure, there are guys on the team that love “Madden,” but what people might not realize is “FIFA” has the biggest online community out there, and “2K13” might be second.”
FIFA’s success as an esport has a lot to do with pure fluidity, it’s likely the best sports simulation gaming experience on the market.
Eric Berry – S Kansas City Chiefs
The Chiefs safety has battled more off-the-field adversity than just about anyone in the NFL. Most football fans will remember his fight with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma that forced him to miss multiple years; but what they might not know is the role that video games helped play in his recovery.
“The thing that kept me mentally sharp was playing video games. That’s the way I was getting reps,” Berry told SportTechie’s Mark J. Burns. “A lot of people don’t understand that visualization is one of the most powerful things you can do. Doing that through a video game where you put yourself through a situation in a first person point of view and you see it from a big picture point of view from how things work together, it can work wonders.”
Especially for someone missing the football field, Madden is the closest thing he could get for a while. In addition to Madden he also plays Call of Duty and told Burns that game can help with decision-making and critical thinking.
“The cerebral part of gaming, some people don’t look at it as a skill, that’s definitely a skill — to be able to think, react and maneuver so quickly,” Berry told Burns.
Tyreek Hill – WR Kansas City Chiefs
Hill is one of the most explosive players in the game today but when he’s not at practice or studying the playbook, he’s dropping into Fortnite games. According to comments on his Twitch stream on Reddit, he’s actually pretty good.
I play like three hours (at a time),” Hill told Deaundra Allen at the Kansas City Star. “I’m getting ready to set up my camera tonight so I can Twitch and people can see me play the game.”
His stream name is “imfasterthanya” but only has 2,100 total views as a channel. Especially during the offseason players need a way to fill time. Many find it through video games and studying the playbook, and for Hill it’s in that order.
“After I get done playing Fortnite, I try to schedule in some downtime for my playbook, watching film and watching other receivers,” he told the KC Star.
He plays with guys on the team like new quarterback Pat Mahomes and also talks trash to other AFC playoff rivals like Le’Veon Bell.


Joey Bosa – DE Los Angeles Chargers
Bosa has already made a name for himself as one of the standout young defensive stars in the league after the Chargers took him third in the 2016 NFL Draft. Coming from a national championship at Ohio State, Bosa was the man around Columbus. But following a violation of the school’s athletic policy, Bosa opted to shy away from the limelight and get a one-bedroom place off campus that had “little more than an Xbox, DVDs, and football gear,” wrote Sports Illustrated.
It was a place free from distractions, and for Bosa, a lifelong gamer, it was exactly what he needed. He finished the season as a first-team All-American and the Buckeyes went 12-1. The SI article doesn’t say what he was playing during that time, but according to an interview he did with Inverse, he has been a Call of Duty fan since he was young.
“I’ve been playing video games my entire life, ever since I had the Nintendo 64 that my grandma got me,” Bosa told Inverse. “Then I got my PS2 and have just been moving onto playing Call of Duty, and I’ve been a big gamer all of my life, me and my friends. It’s been a big part of our after-school time hanging out. It’s kept us off the streets and out of trouble.”
He found a reprieve from distractions through video games while growing up and while at Ohio State. Now he still plays with his friends back home, mostly Call of Duty, Rocket League and FIFA. I’ll bet head coach Anthony Lynn prefers him doing that than getting into the many distractions in Los Angeles.
This is part five of our division-by-division look at the overlap of the NFL and esports/gaming. The articles come out bi-weekly and the NFC can be found here with the West, North, East and South.

3 things the Seahawks need to do to make the playoffs

Thanks to a rough start that included an upset loss to the St. Louis Rams and a defeat in the hostile environment of Lambeau Field, the Seattle Seahawks are 0-2 and don’t look at all like the Super Bowl favorites they were supposed to be. It’s not too late for the Seahawks to right the ship, but their task is a serious one. With a great Arizona team cruising at 2-0 and competitive divisions around the conference prepping potential Wild Card teams, the Seahawks stand a very real chance of missing the playoffs. They also have a great chance to reverse course and head to the postseason – as long as they do these three things.
Bring back Kam Chancellor
Seahawks safety Kam Chancellor has been holding out for a better contract and hasn’t yet played a game for the Seahawks this year. By the standards of these things, you have to think that this holdout is going pretty well. With the Seahawks 0-2 and showing an uncharacteristic tendency to give up big pass plays, it’s time to start listening to Chancellor’s demands. Aaron Rodgers is good, but James Jones isn’t Jordy Nelson and shouldn’t be burning your secondary for 30-yard touchdowns in crucial situations. This is a defense-first team that relies on their secondary, and Kam Chancellor is an essential part of that.
Beat the Cardinals
The best thing you can say about the Seahawks’ first two losses is that neither was to the Arizona Cardinals. Sure, they lost a head-to-head with Green Bay that puts their odds of a conference-leading record on life support, but the Seahawks are in no position to whine about number one seeds right now. They need to win their division, and thanks to their schedule, they still technically control their destiny in that respect. Two wins against Arizona would make up for the two losses to start the season while giving the Seahawks an important tiebreaker. The two Arizona showdowns are the Seahawks ninth and 16th games. Don’t be surprised if the division comes down to the final week’s game in Arizona.
Throw the ball to Jimmy Graham
The Seahawks picked up Jimmy Graham to make a difference at tight end. So why aren’t they throwing to him? He was targeted just twice in the Seahawks’ loss to Green Bay. The biggest play by a Seattle tight end in that game came courtesy of Luke Willson. Jimmy Graham is better than Luke Willson. This should be a no-brainer.
Graham is explosive, of course, but he also needs to a threat in short yardage situations. There, he can draw defenders off of Marshawn Lynch (and vis versa). Targeting Graham benefits the entire offense. Why this isn’t already a huge part of the Seattle game plan is a mystery. Why pull of a blockbuster trade if you don’t plan to use the player you gain?
No time left
It’s going to take all three of these things – at least one big win against Arizona, improved play from Jimmy Graham, and the return of Kam Chancellor – to get the Seahawks back to the playoffs. Plenty of observers think the Seahawks can right the ship, but make no mistake: this situation is dire. Teams that start 0-2 miss the playoffs more than 95% of the time. The Seahawks are talented and should have better odds than that, but how good could their chances be? There’s no more time to lose. The Seahawks need to be better starting right now.
Follow @joemess17 on Twitter

Why does Marshawn Lynch hate speaking to the media?

I’m just here so I won’t get fined.
Nothing drew more attention during the Super Bowl week media sessions than that declaration, which Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch repeated 29 times during his obligatory press conference.
Why does Lynch go to such efforts to avoid answering questions from the media?
“I don’t think he likes to deal with the phoniness,” Michael Robinson, Lynch’s former teammate with the Seahawks, told NFP.
During their four-plus years together with Seattle, Robinson became so close to Lynch that he served as his unofficial spokesman and still refers to him as a “brother.”
Robinson made the point that Lynch feels the media too often dwells on negative stories and also that he feels his play on the field should speak for itself and not require further explanation.
If someone did want to glean more from Lynch about him as a person and player, Robinson said the best tactic is to go to one of Lynch’s community service events — especially those involving the Fam 1st Family Foundation — about which the running back is passionate.
Show real interest in that, and he would open up.
“If more media would come into his world during the offseason — and not only when they’re looking for a DUI story or something crazy like that,” Robinson said, “they’d get a lot more out of him.”
Instead, Lynch’s standoffish dealings with the media stand out drastically from those of the other most recognizable Seahawks — very polished quarterback Russell Wilson and very loquacious cornerback Richard Sherman.
Lynch conducts himself much differently.
“He marches by the beat of his own drum,” Robinson said.
Lynch’s bizarre behavior with the media reached its apex during the week of Super Bowl XLIX. His “I’m just here so I won’t get fined” comment became embedded in pop culture with everyone from Katy Perry to Tiger Woods facetiously repeating it in public.
Such sideshows may have been prevented if Robinson, his backfield mate who similarly overcame a rough upbringing, was still on the team.
Robinson, who last played for the Seahawks during their Super Bowl-winning 2013 season and now works for NFL Media, had his locker next to Lynch.
“I was able to diffuse some situations just because I understood where he was coming from, and we were able to get some quotes out of him during the week,” Robinson said. “He knows that I understand him. There were times where they’re asking questions, and I could tell it’s a little awkward moment and I would jump in and answer it.”
Some have theorized that the awkward open locker room sessions and press conferences could be a result of a social anxiety disorder, something that plagues more athletes than is commonly depicted. (Think Ricky Williams delivering interviews with his helmet on during his early days with the Saints.)
But Robinson insisted that Lynch does not suffer from an anxiety disorder.
“That’s not Marshawn,” he said. “If you go back to his Buffalo days before people viewed him in the light of ‘this great running back,’ he did interviews all the time.”
Riding that great running back, the Seahawks returned to the Super Bowl this season but lost on an infamous goal-line play.
Instead of running the ball to Lynch, who had rushed for 102 yards, Seattle attempted to throw a slant pass to wide receiver Ricardo Lockette, which Patriots cornerback Malcolm Butler picked off.
Some called it the worst the play-call in NFL history. Other conspiracy theorists even suggested that Seahawks coach Pete Carroll wanted to make the mediagenic Wilson the hero rather than the enigmatic Lynch.
Is Lynch peeved that he did not receive that last carry? Does he hold a grudge?
“I have not specifically asked him about the play — and if I did — I probably wouldn’t tell you anyway,” Robinson said, laughing. “But again, I know where this guy’s from. I’m from a similar area. You talk about a guy who’s dealt with best friends dying, best friends being locked up for life, fathers not being around. I mean real life stuff, heavy. Not winning football games is kind of down on the list — as opposed to being at the top.”
Though Lynch keeps the significance of football in proper perspective, it’s hard to imagine the Seahawks returning to the NFL’s most important stage next year without him.
But with just one year at $7 million left on his deal, rumors have swirled that he might hold out — or even retire.
Lynch takes a pounding. His violent style is so aggressive that it has been dubbed “Beast Mode.”
And many have suggested that, even though the 28 year old is coming off a season in which he ran for 1,306 yards and 13 touchdowns, he won’t subject himself to another year of such physical punishment.
Robinson hopes and believes he will continue playing.
“If I was a betting man — which I’m not,” he said, “I would bet on him playing next year for Seattle.”
Follow Jeff on Twitter: @JFedotin
Jeff Fedotin has written for Packers.com, Pro Football Weekly, ESPN The Magazine, the Lawrence (Kan.) Journal-World and Rivals.com. After graduating from Northwestern University, he interned for the Buffalo Bills. During his football playing days at Pembroke Hill (Mo.) School, Fedotin was known for his bad knees and even worse blocking.
 

Solutions to Marshawn Lynch's holdout

<p> The end of running back <a href="http://footballpost.wpengine.com/Marshawn-Lynch-holding-out-from-Seahawks-camp.html" target="_self">Marshawn Lynch’s holdout</a> doesn’t appear to be anywhere in sight with both sides firmly entrenched in their respective positions. The Seattle Seahawks expect Lynch to play under the four-year, $30 million contract (with $17 million in guarantees and additional $1 million in incentives) he signed in 2012 while Lynch would like his contract redone.</p> <p> Lynch is subject to a fine of $30,000 for each day of training camp he misses during his holdout. Since Lynch’s holdout reached six days on Tuesday, the Seahawks can also recoup $225,000 of his $6 million signing bonus. 15 percent of the $1.5 million prorated amount of Lynch’s signing bonus became recoverable on the sixth day of his holdout. Another one percent ($15,000) can be recouped for each additional missed day with a maximum of 25 percent of the prorated amount ($375,000) forfeitable during training camp. An additional 25 percent can be recovered if Lynch misses Seattle’s first regular season game. After four missed weeks of the regular season, the Seahawks can recover 1/17th of the prorated amount ($88,235) for each additional week of Lynch’s absence. The most that can be recouped from Lynch’s signing bonus during 2014 is $1.5 million, the entire prorated amount of his signing bonus. Teams will typically reduce or waive the penalties accumulated as a gesture of goodwill once a player ends his holdout.</p> <p> Contrary to reports, Lynch isn’t subject to a fine of one week’s base salary (1/17 of $5 million) for each pre-season game missed, which would be $294,117 per game. This fine is applied to players who signed contracts as unrestricted free agents. Lynch signed his current deal about a week before he was scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent.</p> <p> The Seahawks are content to follow their “Next Man Up” philosophy with 2013 second-round pick Christine Michael and 2012 fourth-round pick Robert Turbin serving as the primary ball carriers during Lynch’s absence. Michael and Turbin are the main components of Seattle’s succession plan at running back. The team was already planning on reducing Lynch’s workload before the holdout. The 28-year-old has a league-leading 901 rushing attempts over the last three seasons as the centerpiece of Seattle’s run-oriented offense. There has been speculation that the Seahawks could release Lynch in 2015.</p> <p> Lynch is adequately compensated by most standards. Although Lynch is currently the NFL’s sixth-highest paid running back by average salary at $7.5 million per year, he ranks third in the NFL in rushing yards (2,847), first in rushing touchdowns (23) and tied for fourth in yards from scrimmage (3,359 yards) since signing his deal. Lynch has the fifth-best cash flow in the first three years of running back deals ($22.5 million). He’s also fifth in compensation for running backs over the last two years with $17 million, ranking behind only Ray Rice ($25 million), Arian Foster ($23.5 million), Adrian Peterson ($19.75 million) and Chris Johnson ($18 million).</p> <p class="co_image co_image_right inline_right"> <img alt="Marshawn Lynch" src="http://cdn.cloudfiles.mosso.com/c1910342/media_center/images/rendered/blog/wysiwyg/lynch3-2286.jpg" />Should Lynch honor his current contract or does he deserve a raise?</p> <p> Lynch is in a different financial situation than Jamaal Charles, <a href="http://footballpost.wpengine.com/Chiefs-sign-Jamaal-Charles-to-twoyear-extension.html" target="_self">who received an additional</a> $5.1 million over the remaining two years of his deal as a part of a two-year, $18.1 million contract extension signed on August 23. Charles was dramatically underpaid. The $18.57 million Charles made from 2010 to 2013 was $1.57 million less than Lynch earned over the last two years.</p> <p> The Seahawks don’t have any plans to deviate from their position but might be able to quickly end the stalemate by extending an olive branch to Lynch where they attempted to rework his deal within its existing framework. Interestingly, fans are almost evenly split on Lynch’s holdout according to an ESPN.com poll. 51.2 percent are in favor of reworking his contract while 48.8 percent think Lynch should honor his deal.</p> <p> Lynch is scheduled to make $5.5 million this year with a $5 million base salary and $500,000 as a per game 46-man active roster bonus ($31,250 per game). His 2015 salary is $7.5 million consisting of a $5.5 million base salary and $2 million as a per game 46-man active roster bonus ($125,000 per game). Lynch also has a $500,000 incentive in each of these years for 1,500 or more rushing yards.</p> <p> One easy cosmetic change would be to convert Lynch’s $500,000 roster bonus into base salary to ensure that he earned the money. The per game amount is only payable if Lynch is on the 46-man active roster for that particular game. For example, if Lynch suffered a season-ending injury during Seattle’s fourth game of the season, he would only earn $125,000 of his $500,000 roster bonus. Percy Harvin, Richard Sherman and Earl Thomas <a href="http://footballpost.wpengine.com/Breaking-down-Richard-Shermans-57431-million-contract.html" target="_self">don’t have per game roster bonuses</a> in their contracts. Per game roster bonuses were a rarity in Seattle contracts when Lynch signed in 2012, but have started becoming more prevalent in their deals. Michael Bennett has $1 million and $1.5 million of per game roster bonuses in the last two years of the four-year contract he signed this off-season.</p> <p> The Seahawks could convert this year’s $500,000 rushing yards incentive into 2014 base salary, if not the entire $1 million in incentives for both years. The conversion would use $1 million of Seattle’s $7.55 million of existing salary cap room (includes Lynch’s $5 million base salary in calculations which isn’t counting while he is holding out). If the Seahawks wanted to spread out the cap hit over two years, the $1 million could be a signing bonus instead. The Seahawks are in good shape cap wise in 2015, with $116.922 million of cap commitments (top 51 players).</p> <p> Another possibility would be to also fully guarantee a small portion (no more than $1 million) of Lynch’s $5.5 million 2015 base salary. As an alternative, the amount guaranteed could be tied to Lynch’s 2014 performance. Seattle would insist on any 2015 guarantees containing an offset so Lynch couldn’t “double dip” (get paid Seattle’s guarantee and the entire amount of his contract with another team) if he’s released next year. Additionally, Seattle could convert Lynch’s $2 million per game roster bonus in 2015 or $2 million of 2015 base salary into a first day of the 2015 league year roster bonus. If Lynch wasn’t a part of Seattle’s plans next year, he would hit the free agent market while teams had all of their cap room available to sign players.</p> <p> Another impediment to reworking Lynch’s deal is that NFL teams are reluctant to establish contractual precedents, especially a precedent of giving into a player’s demands for a new contract through a holdout. Although teams should be able to easily make distinctions based on each player’s particular circumstances, they don’t want to send a signal to the other team members that they could get rewarded by holding the team hostage. Seattle doesn’t want to give Sherman or Thomas ammunition to approach them about renegotiating their deals in a couple of years because of how they handled Lynch’s situation.&l
t;/p> <p> Seattle did make some changes to Brandon Browner’s contract last year to give him the opportunity to earn an additional $250,008 in the final year of the three-year deal he signed in 2011. Browner received a $125,000 signing bonus and $125,008 as a per game 53-man roster bonus ($7,813 per game). Browner’s situation can be differentiated because he was only making minimum salary in his deal and a portion of the salary increase may have been a reimbursement for him accepting a four-game performance enhancing drugs suspension without pay at the end of the 2012 regular season instead of appealing so he would be available during the playoffs.</p> <p> Outside of a serious injury at running back or extremely poor performance of the rushing attack during pre-season games, it’s hard to envision anything else that could shift leverage before the start of the regular season. Unless Seattle eventually softens its stance, Lynch’s holdout will likely end the same way Maurice Jones-Drew’s did with the Jacksonville Jaguars in 2012. Jones-Drew returned to the Jaguars at the end of the pre-season without getting his contract adjusted.</p> <p> <strong>Follow Joel on Twitter:</strong> @<a href="http://www.twitter.com/corryjoel" target="_blank">corryjoel</a></p> <p> <em><strong>Joel Corry is a former sports agent who helped found Premier Sports & Entertainment, a sports management firm that represents professional athletes and coaches. Prior to his tenure at Premier, Joel worked for Management Plus Enterprises, which represented Shaquille O'Neal, Hakeem Olajuwon and Ronnie Lott. You can email Joel at jccorry@gmail.com. </strong></em></p>