Marshawn Lynch isn’t spending his retirement just lying around and eating Skittles. It turns out that some time off was just what the the former Seahawks running back needed to bring out his inner philanthropist.
In February, Lynch joined current NFL players on a trip to broaden football’s reach in Egypt, and, earlier this month, he joined Bill Clinton in making improvements to a community center in his hometown of Oakland. More recently, he again linked up with some of his former colleagues on a trip abroad, this time to help build an elementary school in Haiti.
The mission was organized by Seahawks defensive end Cliff Avril, who is of Haitian descent, along with international charity Free the Children. In addition to building the school, Avril, Lynch, Lions linebacker Stephen Tulloch and Buccaneers tackle Gosder Cherilus hosted a mobile medical clinic and held a football camp in the impoverished country.
“It’s awesome to have their support, it’s awesome to be in a situation where guys are willing to take that step with you,” Avril said (via seahawks.com). “Marshawn wants to help actually build the school out there. There’s a lot of good guys in the NFL … It’s cool to have these guys’ support.”
Lynch retired in a way that would have been odd for anyone else, but was typical of his low-key, media-averse persona. During the fourth quarter of Super Bowl 50, when the sports world was fixated on the Broncos-Panthers battle, he tweeted out an image of a pair of green cleats hanging from a telephone wire.
On Friday, Lynch turns 30, old for a running back, but he appeared to have at least something left in the tank, and his teammates, who adored him, certainly wanted “Beast Mode” back. Instead, he appears happy to embark on a new chapter, in which the man of few words engages in actions that speak loudly of a desire to help those less fortunate.
Avril, of course, deserves plenty of credit for spearheading the recent trip. “Haiti is the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere,” he said. “For an island to have so many resources — it’s on the same island as the Dominican Republic, and people go there in a heartbeat — but right across the border, nobody wants to go there. It’s unfortunate it has a bad rep, but it’s an awesome country.”
It was awesome of the NFL players to go there and try to make whatever difference they could. In Lynch’s case, it’s cool to see a star athlete who gave away so little of what was on his mind reveal so much of what is in his heart.