RENTON — Call it a $100,000 interview.
Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch spoke with the media Thursday, marking the second time this season he has been available to reporters. He had incentive to do so, of course, outside of offering praise to his teammates and thanks for the region’s loyal support. An NFL spokesman had explained Wednesday that Lynch’s $50,000 fine for declining interviews until last week is being held in abeyance, and that the fine would kick in along with an additional $50,000 hit if Lynch continued to avoid questions.
Seahawks fans had offered to help Lynch pay his original fine, to which he said Thursday: “I appreciated it. It was big time.”
That was actually one of the more expansive responses Lynch gave in 3 minutes and 45 seconds’ worth of questions and answers, noticeably longer than the roughly 1:23 in last week’s interview.
An answer that typified the session held in front of his locker came when asked what he remembers from his 67-yard touchdown run against the Saints in the playoffs three years ago, a memorable play that resulted in minor seismic activity around CenturyLink Field and earned the nickname “Beast Quake.”
Lynch said simply, “It was loud.”
“It was really loud,” he added.
And does he plan to rumble against New Orleans again, in a playoff game Saturday, particularly with seismometers being installed around the stadium?
“I hope so,” he said.
Lynch spent a fair amount of the time offering quick praise for his teammates — his offensive line, quarterback Russell Wilson, the wide receivers and also fullback Michael Robinson, who Lynch called “special … because of his head.”
Robinson, to be fair, had his arm around Lynch at the time and through most of the interview.
Lynch has also felt the support, albeit less literally, from fans during what has been a celebrated season. With Seahawks mania sweeping the region, he said, “It’s good for everybody, for the team, for the city. Hopefully we can just keep it going.”
“Huge” was how Lynch called the support of the 12th Man, adding he “can’t stress how huge it is.”
The hope is production from the running game will be equally substantial after Lynch was held to 45 yards on 16 carries in a regular-season meeting with the Saints, Seattle’s 34-7 win Dec. 2. For a guy that had been avoiding interviews, though, it should probably come as no surprise he wasn’t much concerned with individual attention.
“Last time we played them, it was pretty successful,” Lynch said. “We just hope for the same outcome.”
So no concerns about the rushing attack?
“We’re here to win games,” he said.
The Saints might have answered that question differently, specifically defensive coordinator Rob Ryan, who spoke about Lynch in a conference call with New Orleans media Thursday.
“I think he’s the premier power back in football,” Ryan said. “I love him and (San Francisco’s Frank Gore). They both pound that football. They run it hard, they run it the right way, they run it with the passion that those great backs do — and they’re rare.”