While the Raiders are leaving Oakland for Las Vegas at the end of the season, running back Marshawn Lynch is keeping pro football in the Bay Area. He joined the ownership group of a new professional arena football team that will debut in Oakland next spring as a member of the Indoor Football League, reports The Mercury News' Dieter Kurtenbach.
According to Kurtenbach, there will be a press conference Tuesday to announce head coach Kurt Bryan, the team name and the ownership group. Lynch is helping launch the Panthers, which is a nod to Oakland’s Black Panthers history of the 1960s.
Lynch, a Bay Area native, retired after last season after two years with the Raiders. He returned to the NFL in 2017 after taking a year off following his time with the Seahawks where he found success.
"My whole intention was to come back and play with them until they left," Lynch told Kurtenbach of his time with the Raiders. "[Arena football] wasn't something I was looking at—not even a little bit. But when the opportunity presented itself—I'm a big dude on believing in timing and (stuff). This, at the time, really made sense."
The Panthers will play at the former Oracle Arena, which is now called the Oakland Arena after the Warriors left to play at Chase Center. The season is expected to feature seven home games.