January 06, 2015

RENTON, Wash. (AP) There was never any explanation given for why the action took place. And considering Marshawn Lynch is at the center of the topic, that's not much of a surprise.

The handshake. The universal symbol of the business deal. And for the past year - with few exceptions - it's the way the Seattle Seahawks' standout running back has celebrated getting into the end zone.

''He's business. It's all business for him,'' Seattle cornerback Richard Sherman said. ''I don't think we've ever seen him celebrate - maybe once or twice he celebrates a touchdown.''

Some players have well-choreographed touchdown celebrations. Others take the opportunity for self-promotion when they score a touchdown.

Usually, that's not Lynch's style. And it serves as the ultimate counterbalance of Lynch as a running back: The simplicity of a handshake versus the fierce power and anger he runs with.

''I love the way he plays the game, he's extremely competitive,'' St. Louis linebacker James Laurinaitis said. ''Personally I think he's got a defensive player's mind-set. When he's out there it looks like he's always trying to find somebody to hit. I think it's funny to me his touchdown celebration where he just shakes the offensive linemen's hands, I always kind of laugh at that.''

For Lynch, the handshake celebration started last season during the NFC championship game. With Seattle trailing 10-3 at halftime, Lynch broke off a 40-yard touchdown run early in the third quarter to pull the Seahawks even. But instead of the typical helmet slaps that were part of Lynch celebrating with his teammates in the past, this time was different. After somersaulting into the end zone, Lynch stood up and was initially hugged by tight end Luke Willson.

But before anymore celebrating could take place, Lynch held out his right hand and proceeded to professionally shake the hand of every other teammate that approached.

That was just the beginning.

''It's really simply all it comes down to,'' Seattle wide receiver Doug Baldwin said. ''That's who he is. He's a business man on the football field. That's what he does. That's what he loves to do. No flare, no flash about it afterward. That's just normal Marshawn. That's just what he does.''

The handshake hasn't happened after every one of Lynch's career-best 17 touchdowns this season. When Lynch scored in overtime to beat Denver in Week 3, he was mobbed by teammates. When he bulldozed through multiple defenders to score against Oakland, Lynch hopped up and sprinted off the field.

But nearly every other touchdown this season, Lynch's formula has been finding those who block for him and professionally congratulating them for the work put in.

''That's his style. It's all about action,'' Seattle guard J.R. Sweezy said. ''That's the way he thanks us, congratulates us and we continue to play.''

And never once has Lynch explained his reasoning.

''It's understood. There's a cliche saying that, `what is understood doesn't need to be explained.' That's Marshawn in a bottle,'' Baldwin said.

The argument could be made that even at age 28 this was Lynch's best season. He was a second-team All-Pro selection. Lynch's 1,306 yards rushing were the second most of his career but he was also more of a threat in the passing game this season. Lynch finished with a career-best 367 yards receiving and four touchdowns, and his 37 receptions were the second most in his career.

''His production is really good. His pass catching has been really good,'' Seattle coach Pete Carroll said. ''Seventeen touchdowns they said, that's a fantastic football season and I think I've been saying it all year long this is the best I've ever seen him, most consistent and all that and he carried it all the way through the whole schedule and did a great job.''


AP Sports Writer R.B. Fallstrom contributed to this report.


AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org and http://twitter.com/AP-NFL

You May Like

Eagle (-2)
Birdie (-1)
Bogey (+1)
Double Bogey (+2)