Since Marshawn Lynch announced his decision to retire from the NFL in February 2016, the enigmatic running back never strayed too far from the news. He popped up in far-flung locales around the world, flip-flopped as he contemplated a return to football, spoke out on social issues and, of course, eventually reversed course all together on his retirement.
With Lynch officially reinstated as an active player and set to join the Oakland Raiders to play for his hometown, it’s worth recognizing that Beast Mode packed more intrigue into 14 months of retirement than most former players do in a lifetime. A look back at the most memorable on- and off-field moments from Lynch’s abbreviated retirement:
February 7, 2016: Lynch retires
Marshawn retires like only Marshawn can. Via Twitter, during Super Bowl 50, with a photo of his cleats hanging from a telephone wire. No news release, no press conference — just a wordless tweet.
February 2016-March, 2016: Lynch visits Egypt, rides camels
Lynch spends the first month of his retirement in Egypt, joining several pro football players with American Football Without Barriers. He’s spotted dancing on a camel and, later, visiting a children’s hospital and hooping with students. While in Egypt, he also coaches at a football camp.
May 25, 2016: Lynch reportedly eyes 2016 NFL comeback (part I)
June 6, 2016: Lynch tells SI and 60 MINUTES SPORTS “I’m done”
August 23, 2016: Lynch joins alma mater as scout-team running back in Australia
Joining a Cal practice on the other side of the globe, Lynch suits up a scout-team back. "I told him, 'If you had one game left, we'd give it to you 50 times,'" Golden Bears coach Sonny Dykes tells ESPN.
September 9, 2016: Lynch reportedly eyes 2016 NFL comeback (part II)
NBC Sports’ Mike Florio reports that Lynch is considering returning to the NFL. No regular season NFL football has transpired since he announced his retirement. (The Broncos and Panthers open the season that night.)
September 12, 2016: Lynch appears on Running Wild with Bear Grylls
In the episode of the reality survival show (filmed in June) Lynch visits the Corsican Mountains in France for two days. Lynch discusses his social welfare work with Grylls. And, he reaffirms that he will not return to football. Along the way, they hunt pig.
September 21, 2016: Lynch speaks out in support of Colin Kaepernick
During an appearance on Conan, Lynch says of Kaepernick’s national anthem protest: “I’d rather see him take a knee than stand up, put his hands up and get murdered.” On a less serious note, Lynch announces that he is launching a line of candy bars while on Conan.
September 24, 2016: Lynch opens second Beast Mode apparel store in Seattle
Think Lynch likes the number 24? Lynch, who wore the number on the Seahawks, opens his second store at 12:24 p.m. by signing autographs and snapping pictures with fans.
November 6, 2016: Lynch leads Cal out of the tunnel before Washington game, recreates injury-cart celebration
As the Golden Bears race out of the tunnel, Lynch swerves on a motorized cart he drives with his mother in the passenger seat. The spectacle celebrates the 10-year anniversary of Lynch’s cart ride in 2006 after a Cal win over the Huskies.
November 9, 2016: Lynch tweets “Now come together like butt cheeks!!!!! Yes Lawd the solid ones will feel this....”
This cryptic tweet sent out in the wake of president Donald Trump’s surprise victory on election night might have been a response to Trump’s win.
December 4, 2016: Lynch shows up on Seahawks sideline during game
December 22, 2016: Baron Davis joins Marshawn Lynch in hosting “Black Santa” event
The event, hosted at the original Beast Mode apparel store in Oakland, also features hip-hop recording artist Too Short. The event aims to celebrate diversity in the holiday season.
January 17, 2017: Marshawn Lynch visits Scotland, does wheelies on a Skittles bike
Lynch is spotted in Paisley, Scotland doing wheelies and narrowly avoiding buses. During his Scotland visit, he also spreads Skittles cheer in Houston, Scotland ahead of the Super Bowl (in Houston, Texas). He even declares himself a “bagpiper.”
March 17, 2017: Raiders reportedly interested in acquiring Lynch
ESPN’s Adam Schefter tweets that the Raiders wish to acquire Lynch either “through trade or by his release.” Lynch remains on the Seahawks’ reserve list.
March 20, 2017: Lynch’s agent says he misses football
Doug Hendrickson, Lynch’s agent, says on KNBR-AM in San Francisco that he has not spoken to Lynch about possibly joining Oakland, but that the halfback “does miss football, no question.”
April 5: Lynch tells Raiders he’s ready for comeback
Lynch plans to un-retire, NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reports. The news comes after Lynch meets with Oakland Raiders coach Jack Del Rio.
April 5-9: Lynch participates in arm wrestling contest in Las Vegas
At “The Pro Football Arm Wrestling Championship,” Lynch joins a group of at least 30 past and present NFL players including James Harrison and Kenny Stills. The NFL is reportedly investigating participants in the wrestling contest for potentially violating NFL gambling policies.
April 13: Lynch negotiates with Raiders, hints at return on Twitter (maybe)
April 14: Lynch agrees to terms with Oakland
Michael Silver of NFL media reports Lynch has agreed to terms with the Raiders, setting up his return pending a trade between Oakland and Seattle.
-- Tim Balk