Marshawn Lynch is quietly growing into his, and it’s mostly from fans wanting more of the man who’s constantly fined for ignoring the media.

The Wall Street Journal just provided an in-depth and quality look at his American Football Without Borders trip in which Lynch taught football to women, inspired kids and even paid for his own trip.

As part of a group called American Football Without Barriers, Lynch was one of several players who traveled to Istanbul in March for an off-season escape and to teach Turkish kids the mechanics of football.

“He was the first guy into it; he was the loudest guy there,” said NFL fullback Erik Lorig, another attendee. “He was the guy giving the electricity.”

Lynch teamed with Pittsburgh’s DeAngelo Williams to man the running back portion of the camp where college-age women and boys of various ages tried to stiff-arm and bull over two of the best running backs in the game. They were unsuccessful. “If I ever went to a camp in my life as a kid, I would want Marshawn to be my camp counselor,” said Todd Buelow, who helped organize the trip. (Lynch didn’t respond to requests to comment for this article.)

Lynch, who basked in not being recognized, was truly awesome to the people in Istanbul.

Lynch’s performance in Istanbul is now the stuff of legend. When one boy was distraught and nearly in tears about his performance on the field, Lynch took him off to the side for 20 minutes. Later, the boy ended up with a “Beast Mode” sweatshirt—Lynch’s nickname—and returned to field, playing at full-speed. When an attendee asked the boy’s father what Lynch told him, the father relayed that Lynch had given a 20-minute pep talk on how there are no losers on the practice field and that it is about learning lessons. Lynch has now flown to Brazil and Turkey with the group—on one leg of the flight, a fellow player said, Lynch refused to let the charity pay for his accommodations.

The legend continues to grow, and it’s all positive.

By Glenn Erby


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