Marshawn Lynch is one of those guys who has always played by his own rules. The dominant running back known as “Beast Mode” spent 12 years in the NFL while more than living up to the promise he showed while playing college football at Cal—a stint that spawned a legendary incident involving an injury cart he took for a ride after a game.
Anyone who was lucky enough to watch Lynch do his thing in the NFL knows he was a force to be reckoned with on the gridiron. He appeared in the Pro Bowl on five occasions and won a Super Bowl with the Seahawks (and arguably came a handoff away from a second) by the time his career came to an end in 2019.
Of course, part of the reason he became one of the most popular players in the league was his nonchalant attitude and the absolutely electric personality that’s helped him remain an incredibly popular figure years after he made the decision to hang up his cleats.
While some people have a tough time pulling off the “I do what I want and don’t care who cares” approach to life, Lynch is able to do exactly that without coming off as arrogant; he’s a guy who’s clearly having fun and trying to maximize the amount of enjoyment he can squeeze out of his time on the planet.
Much like Manny Ramirez got away with his many “Manny Being Manny” moments, Lynch thrived in the spotlight despite making it pretty clear he could do without all of the attention he managed to attract.
At the end of the day, Lynch is just a carefree guy who always has his personality on full display, and that was definitely the case when he first started to make a name for himself in college.
Marshawn Lynch showed his true colors when he took an injury cart for a joyride in college
Lynch was a standout athlete in multiple sports at Oakland Technical High School and eventually decided to head to Berkley and play college football for the University of California after cementing himself as one of the most promising prospects in the country.
It didn’t take him very long to make a mark with the Golden Bears. He was listed as the backup RB when he debuted as a true freshman in 2004, but his ability to go Beast Mode on a regular basis allowed him to quickly ascend to the top of the depth chart while showing fans why he was so heavily recruited out of high school.
Lynch only continued to build on his success during his sophomore year, and in 2006, he emerged as a Heisman Trophy candidate during a campaign where Cal secured a share of the Pac-10 title and finished the season at #14 after kicking it off at #12.
By that point, Lynch had really proved he had what it took to take his game to the next level. It was a foregone conclusion he’d forgo his senior season to declare for the NFL Draft, and his performance as a junior would undoubtedly be a big factor in exactly just how high he’d end up going when everything was said and done.
Most people would have a hard time dealing with that kind of pressure, but Marshawn Lynch is not most people.
On October 21, 2006, Cal hosted the University of Washington for a showdown at Memorial Stadium. The Golden Bears boasted a 6-1 record and were ranked #11 at the time, and the fact that they were facing off against a conference foe meant the stakes were fairly high.
When the fourth quarter came to an end, the teams were tied at 24, but Lynch gave his squad the lead by breaking off a 22-yard TD run in the first possession of overtime. Washington took the field but immediately threw an interception, which gave Lunch and the Golden Bears an excuse to celebrate.
They did exactly that after the game-clinching pick, as the Cal sideline transformed into an absolute madhouse as players started jumping around and celebrating with their teammates on the field.
However, Marshawn decided to take things to another level with the help of the injury cart he commandeered before taking it for a spin on the turf.
I mean what a time to be alive.
We need more things like this in sports. While things could’ve gone south if someone had gotten in Marshawn’s path, they didn’t and he didn’t get in any real trouble (Cal’s head coach got a call from the AD asking to make sure it didn’t happen again, but the conference didn’t punish Lynch because it didn’t really have any rules against what he did).
What was going through his head? Well, based on what he had to say while looking back at the joyride, Lynch seemed to think the injury cart was basically begging him to drive it based on how the stars aligned at that moment.
We should all be thankful they did.