NEWARK, N.J. (AP) — Seattle Seahawks star Marshawn Lynch made an early exit at Super Bowl media day, then returned to Tuesday’s session just in time to possibly avoid a hefty fine from the NFL.
The running back, wearing a hood and dark sunglasses, abruptly left the required session at the Prudential Center, walking out after 6½ minutes.
He later came back and stood on the side of the media area, doing interviews with the Armed Forces Network, Deion Sanders for the NFL Network, and a Seahawks Web reporter. Lynch also talked to teammates and signed footballs and a helmet for fans in the stands.
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 45-minute availability.
One reporter asked, “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 The NFL put the fine on hold, saying it would be rescinded if his behavior improved.
“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.
At media day, Lynch was standing on the floor of the covered-over hockey rink among a cluster of about 100 reporters. There were eight podiums set up for Seattle stars and coach Pete Carroll, plus nine other separated areas separated from the throng. Lynch wasn’t positioned at any of them. The team decided to put him among a group of players standing behind barriers with reporters on the other side.
Lynch answered a half-dozen questions before walking away. He came back a little bit later, off to the side of the interview zone, but close enough to hear questions. And to answer them, had he felt so inclined.
He generally didn’t.
Lynch watched as the clocked counted down to zero and, when it was announced the Seattle portion of media availability was over, he left for good.
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.
Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said Tuesday of Lynch’s actions:
“He’s such a major factor on our football team, 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.”
What do you think? Should Lynch be made to attend the media event?
(AP Photo: Seattle Seahawks’ Marshawn Lynch stands against a wall during media day for the NFL Super Bowl XLVIII football game Tuesday, Jan. 28, 2014, in Newark, N.J.)