Marshawn Lynch spent six seasons with the Seattle Seahawks, leading the team to its lone Super Bowl victory in 2014.
Lynch sat out the 2016 season before returning to the NFL in 2017 by signing with his hometown Oakland Raiders on a two-year deal.
A year later, he’ll be going against his former team on Sunday at Wembley Stadium in London.
“Marshawn is a tremendous football player,” Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson told Seattle reporters this week. “He was a great teammate. He’s a guy who made a lot of plays and just – he has real grit. He really can find ways to make plays.
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“One of the coolest things about Marshawn is when you hand the ball off to him, you get to watch him run. Some of the moves that he makes, he’s one of a kind in terms of that ability. I have a lot of respect and love for him.”
Seahawks linebacker Bobby Wagner said he expects Lynch “to talk a lot of trash.”
“When we were playing with each other, he was always talking about (how) he was going to run me over but we never got a chance to go against each other,” Wagner said.
“This will be his opportunity. I’m definitely going to try to catch him slipping a couple of times. He thinks we’re going to go low. I’m not going to go low. I’m going to go high on him, maybe give him a forearm. It might be a flag, though.”
Raiders linebacker Marquel Lee said he can relate, but enjoys having Lynch on his side.“We had this thing where he’s always talking trash to me saying I’m not hitting hard enough or I’m not covering anybody,” he said. “Everytime he sees me slacking off a little bit, he’ll get in my face and tell me about it. I’m glad he’s on my team. He leads by example. He plays hard all the time. You see how fast he runs with the ball that I’ve ever seen. I feel like with his play and with him being an OG, he’s a great older figure. He lets you know about life and things of that nature.”
Raiders coach Jon Gruden describes Lynch as the “heart and soul of the Raiders right now” and is looking forward to seeing “more of Lynch” with the football.
“He had a lot to do, I think, with the Super Bowl ring that the Seahawks wear,” Gruden said. “He’s still running with that incredible physicality, he’s been durable, he’s practiced every day, behind the scenes he’s one of our leaders. He’s a little bit misunderstood by a lot of people, but believe me if you were coaching a football team, he’d be one of the first guys you’d want on your team.”