Flashback Friday: Marshawn Lynch was one of SI's players to watch in 2006

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Marshawn Lynch returns lost wallet
Thursday April 13th, 2017

Marshawn Lynch is back in the NFL. After announcing his retirement in 2016, the former Seahawks running back has reportedly agreed to play with the Raiders—though a trade would be necessary first, since Seattle owns his rights to play.

This got us thinking back to 2006, when Lynch was a junior at Cal and favored to win the Heisman Trophy. In August of that year, the 5' 11", 217-pound powerhouse running back was featured prominently in a piece titled "The Biggest Man on Campus," alongside some of the sport's top players including Adrian Peterson, Ted Ginn Jr. and Brady Quinn. But even then, he was not a fan of the spotlight:

Upon seeing reporters headed his way after practice, Marshawn Lynch has been known to hide behind teammates, a playful–and futile–attempt to avoid interviews. Though he's cooperative when cornered, he isn't particularly interested in deconstructing how he does what he does when he carries the football. But Heisman Trophy campaigns are unlike political ones in that words matter far less than deeds, which is why Lynch, California's elusive junior tailback, is in position to make a serious run at the award.​

That being said, Lynch did his best to play nice in a competitive landscape.

Of course most of the Heisman voters are media members, so Lynch wants to make it clear that he has nothing against them. "It's just that I'm all about playing, not talking," he says. 

Lynch rushed for 1,353 yards and 15 touchdowns (including this game-winner for Cal complete with a ghost ride celebration) that 2006 season, but he didn't even finish in the Top 10 of Heisman voting—Ohio State QB Troy Smith walked away with the distinction that year. Click here for a full look at the magazine spread.

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