If this is the end of Marshawn Lynch’s career in Seattle and perhaps the NFL, he won’t have to go far from home to continue his earning capacity.
The Seahawks’ 29-year-old running back whose football future is uncertain is opening his first “Beast Mode” apparel store Friday in downtown Oakland. The mayor of Lynch’s hometown, Libby Schaaf, has declared Friday “Beast Mode Day” there.
Lynch and the mayor will be at his new store’s opening for a ribbon-cutting ceremony Friday, two days before Super Bowl 50 across the Bay in Santa Clara. Lynch’s store will open in the Old Oakland section of downtown, a couple miles south of where Lynch went to high school at Oakland Technical and college at the neighboring University of California. His store will sell shirts, sneakers, hats, and “other fashion items” displaying Lynch’s favorite “Beast Mode” icons.
A portion of first-day sales at his store will go to Lynch’s Fam 1st Family Foundation.
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His foundation is also benefitting from the online auction he began with eBay on Tuesday. The live auction runs through Feb. 12. Items up for bidding include two custom-made “Beast Mode” Jeep Wranglers and a signed Seahawks game jersey worn in November 2014 against the New York Giants.
What does a “Beast Mode” Jeep look like?
This entrepreneurial bend comes at a time Lynch may end up with more time to devote to his foundation and his brand.
He turns 30 in April. He played in just seven regular-season games this past season, the first of his nine-year career to be beset by injuries. He had his first major injury and surgery on Nov. 25, to fix an abdominal injury. He has two, non-guaranteed seasons remaining on his contract he extended before the 2015 so he could get $5 million more up front last year. No one with or around the Seahawks expected Lynch would fulfill his contract through 2017.
He has contemplated retirement during each of the last two offseasons, and Seahawks general manager John Schneider said Jan. 22 he believes Lynch is “leaning” toward retirement for good this time. The team is waiting to find out. If Lynch does not decide to retire, there is no way Seattle will keep his contract at the $9 million in base pay with an $11.5 million salary-cap charge for 2016. In the likely event he would refuse a renegotiation down to less money, the Seahawks would be faced with a choice of whether to perhaps release their franchise cornerstone from 2011 into 2015, the best run of seasons in the franchise’s 40-year history.
And if that happens, Lynch will now have a retail store and brand to grow in his hometown instead.