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PHOENIX – Same song, different verse for Seattle Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch.
Lynch, facing a potential fine for violating the NFL’s media policy as well as its apparel policy, turned in a repeat performance at the Seattle Seahawks’ league-mandated media availability Wednesday.
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At Tuesday’s Super Bowl XLIX media day, Lynch answered every question posed with some slight variation of “I’m just here so I won’t fined,” for just under 5 minutes. He could be seen setting a timer as he sat down to begin Wednesday’s session. He again stayed for about 5 minutes, but he altered the approach slightly, answering virtually all of the questions with, “You know why I’m here,” uttering some variation of that phrase 14 times.
Lynch did offer one different response – to a question about what music he would listen to in his pregame work Sunday – when he said, “It’s a new song.” He waved to one media member from Seattle, and he timed the session on his smartphone.
When the timer hit 5 minutes, he said, “Thank you, I appreciate it,” and stepped away from the table.
Lynch had been threatened with a $500,000 by the NFL if he skipped media day and has accumulated $120,000 in fines since the start of the regular season for violations of the league’s media policy as well as on-field conduct.
NFL contracts merely require players to make themselves available to the media, an obligation Lynch apparently satisfied with his single answer. It is also unclear if the league could still impose a media fine since the league’s official policy contains no language about a player having to be available for just 5 minutes.
Under the league’s media policy, Lynch would also face fines if he does not attend Thursday’s league-mandated session at the resort hotel the Seahawks are using for their team headquarters this week.
Lynch could also face a fine for wearing nonleague sanctioned apparel to an official league event. He has worn a hat and sunglasses from his clothing line – Beast Mode – to both Tuesday’s media day and Wednesday’s session. However, the hat is made by New Era, which is an NFL sponsor.
Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said Wednesday he has no issues with Lynch’s conduct and praised him for being an excellent teammate.
“I think that you’re seeing a demonstration of a guy being himself and not being what everybody wants him to be,” Carroll said. “That’s why you continue to hear our players support him. He’s trying to do the best job he can being him.
“Maybe you don’t feel that’s what he should do, but that’s what’s going on. And in that sense he’s being true to himself. We understand that. I understand people would like to see him do different things and handle things in different ways. He’s not comfortable with that, so that’s what he’s telling you. He’s doing it exactly the way he knows how to do it best.
“So that conversation about supporting the player that he is, we talk about it all the time. What it’s all about is being a team member and he’s an incredible team member. This environment just isn’t one where you get to see him in the way you want to see him. You’re seeing him how he is, and in that regard, it is what it is.”
Team officials, league officials and officials from the NFL Players Association as well as Lynch’s representatives were in discussions this week about Lynch’s responsibilities. A year ago, at Super Bowl media day, Lynch showed up with a hood pulled up on his head, sunglasses on and said, “I’m just ’bout that action, boss.”
Lynch was fined $50,000 in November for violating the league’s media policy, and at that time he was informed by the league an additional $50,000 fine imposed last season would be collected, as well. Lynch was fined $20,000 by the NFL last week for an obscene gesture following a touchdown in the Seahawks’ NFC Championship Game win over the Green Bay Packers.
Lynch had been fined $11,050 in December for a similar crotch grab gesture in a game against the Arizona Cardinals.
Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson came to his teammate’s defense Wednesday.
“I just think that sometimes we focus on things that don’t matter and don’t make any difference,” Wilson said. “Marshawn is a great football player and a guy that puts his work in every day and is dedicated to the game of football and dedicated to his teammates. There are times I don’t think he should be fined, especially to extent that people try to fine him. That’s just my honest opinion.
“The guy loves the game. Sometimes people try to take away from people the way they are. I don’t think he should be fined, personally.”
ESPN Seahawks reporter Terry Blount contributed to this report.
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