Marshawn Lynch's highly anticipated interview with Showtime’s 60 Minutes Sports aired Tuesday night, providing a rare glimpse into the mind of the recently-retired Seahawks running back who chose to avoid the media during most of his career in Seattle.
Lynch told a story of how his uncle, former NFL cornerback Lorenzo Lynch, helped instill what would become a "Beast Mode" mentality in him at a young age.
"We went to his house one time, and he told me something like this: 'It's fourth-and-1, the running back's coming to the hole, I'm going to kiss that (expletive) in the mouth.' That's what he told me—'Smell his breath.' This was at a young age too," Lynch told Sports Illustrated's Jon Wertheim. "I think that's when it just clicked in my mind that if you just run through somebody's face, a lot of people ain't going to be able to take that over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over again; they're just not going to want that."
When asked if there was a deeper metaphor to that message, Lynch replied, "Run through a (expletive)'s face, then you don't have to worry about him no more."
Lynch also explained why he has been careful with the money he earned in his career, though he dispelled the myth that he has lived entirely off of endorsements and never spent a game check: "That's false. I'm human. I've made mistakes, been down that road. I've also made some good decisions."
Lynch's financial savvy, he explained, comes from having little money growing up.
"You ate cereal before, huh?" Lynch asked Wertheim.
When the interviewer said he had, Lynch added, "Have you ever had a roach in your cereal before? You haven't, right? If you came from eating cereal with roaches in it before, you wouldn't want to do that again, right? Once you've seen the lowest of the low, you don't want to go back."
Much of the interview focused on Lynch's relationship with his home town of Oakland, including the way the city has changed in recent years.
"What's mindboggling is that Oakland is so rich with history, and now the Oakland that you're seeing, they're putting up new high rises and condos and everything, and you just start to see it changing," Lynch said. "It's almost like a slap in the face, like, 'Wake your ass up, you don't see this (stuff)?' You start to see people coming through on bikes with buggies on the front, like, 'Where did that come from?'
"I don't have no problem with the change that's going on in Oakland; just give Oakland people an opportunity to do what it is that you're bringing to Oakland."
During the interview, Lynch sees a house with a for sale sign on it and takes down the number. His hope is to buy it and turn it into low-income housing. He's also eying a parking lot as a potential site for a community center for his Fam 1st Family Foundation.
Lynch's friend Kevin Parker, who works with Lynch on his foundation, calls Lynch "Mr. Oakland."
"That guy used to fly home every Tuesday to just come taste the air," Parker said. "Literally I've seen him come out of the airport, go get something to eat, go right back to the airport and fly back."
Lynch was also asked about Doug Baldwin tweeting out a request to Pete Carroll that no one be allowed to wear Lynch's No. 24.
"Doug's my boy," Lynch said. "Doug's a little edgy, but Doug's my boy… I feel like that was a big statement what he said."
Finally, Lynch made it clear that he is indeed retired despite any speculation that he could decide to play in 2016.
"No, I'm done," he said. "I'm done. I enjoyed my time playing, now it's time to watch my cousins do their thing. I enjoyed my time."
When pressed, Lynch added, emphatically, "I'm retired. Is that good enough? Which camera do you want me to look into? I'm done. I'm not playing football anymore. Thank you."