Marshawn Lynch

How Marshawn Lynch will keep pro football in Oakland after Raiders leave

How Marshawn Lynch will keep pro football in Oakland after Raiders leave

Marshawn Lynch quietly retired from the NFL after playing for the Raiders in what he thought was the team's last season in Oakland. 

The Raiders, however, will play one final season at the Coliseum this year before moving to Las Vegas and taking away professional football from Oakland. Well, not exactly. 

Although the Raiders are leaving town, Beast Mode is making sure there still is pro football in The Town.

The enigmatic running back will be a co-founder and co-owner of the Oakland Panthers indoor football team. As the Warriors also left town in their move to San Francisco, the Panthers will begin play this spring at the Oakland Arena, formerly known as Oracle Arena. 

Dieter Kurtenbach of the Mercury News was first to report the news Monday night.

“My whole intention was to come back and play with them [the Raiders] until they left,” Lynch said to Kurtenbach. “[Arena football] wasn’t something I was looking at -- not even a little bit. But when the opportunity presented itself -- I’m a big dude on believing in timing and (stuff). This, at the time, really made sense.”

Lynch met Panthers co-owner Roy Choi and team president Scott McKibben while watching his brother, Davonte Sapp-Lynch, playing in an Indoor Football League game earlier this year. The two told Lynch they wanted to bring a team to Oakland and once he knew they were serious, he was all in.

The Panthers will pay homage to Oakland's Black Panther history of the 1960s, and will be coached by former Piedmont High School coach Kurt Bryan. A formal announcement will be made Tuesday. 

Here's a look at several logos the Panthers will sport next season. 

Bringing the Panthers to Oakland will be a big boost as the city loses both the Raiders and Warriors. Nobody is more Oakland than Lynch, and he will always do whatever it takes to provide for his hometown.

[RELATED: Jacobs' strong debut shows he's key weapon after AB's exit]

“The [Raiders] will be leaving, but the fans will be here," Lynch said. "This is a good opportunity and a good timing to where you will still have those fans, that community, and the pride they bring.

"... The game will be grassroots to real Oakland. Not the new (stuff). The real Oakland (stuff).”

Raiders camp questions: Can Josh Jacobs become every-down running back?

Raiders camp questions: Can Josh Jacobs become every-down running back?

The Raiders were not what you would call a good rushing team last season. Only seven other teams averaged fewer than Oakland's 101.8 rushing yards per game, and only three other teams scored fewer than the Raiders' nine rushing touchdowns.

After seeing Marshawn Lynch call it a career, the Silver and Black used the second of their three first-round picks in the 2019 NFL Draft on Alabama running back Josh Jacobs, a selection most certainly made with the intent of him taking over the reins of the rushing attack. Teams typically don't use first-round picks on running backs and then not utilize them as bell cows.

There's no question that Jacobs looks the part. He's already one of the best pure athletes on the team. He's got a prototypical build, has tremendous vision and has even proven to be an adept pass-catcher. But can he be an every-down back?

Jacobs never played that role at Alabama. Over three collegiate seasons, Jacobs carried the ball a total of 251 times, but no more than 120 times in any one year. For comparison, six NFL running backs rushed the ball at least 250 times last season.

Thus, durability is an obvious potential concern. NFL athletes are bigger, faster and stronger than those in college, and Jacobs will surely feel the cumulative wear and tear that comes with the part. On the other hand, one could argue he's fresher than most rookie running backs, given his relatively light load in college.

In order for the Raiders' offense to take the step or two forward that coach Jon Gruden is hoping for, it's critical that Jacobs lives up to his lofty selection. Yes, receivers Antonio Brown and Tyrell Williams will open things up on the outside, and Doug Martin offers great security in a back-up role, but Jacobs is the only back on Oakland's roster capable of being a game-changer.

Given the additions of Brown and Williams, it's unlikely Jacobs will face a lot of loaded boxes, or at least until he puts some NFL highlights on tape. That should only help the rookie, as should the presence of mammoth offensive tackle Trent Brown, who was signed in free agency.

[RELATED: Can Raiders' O-line properly protect Carr this season?]

Gruden will be looking to get the ball in Jacobs' hands in every which way possible, and his ability to be an effective pass-catcher both out of the backfield and from the slot will help him stay on the field. If Jacobs can stay relatively healthy, he just might run away with the NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year award.

Former Raider Marshawn Lynch throws free carnival for kids of Oakland

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Former Raider Marshawn Lynch throws free carnival for kids of Oakland

Marshawn Lynch is from the Bay Area, and he loves his community. The Oakland native, and former Raider, has a shop in the area near Jack London Square, and even appeared in front of the Oakland City Council on behalf of the A's earlier this year.

That's where he calls home. 

In his latest act of kindness and support, the running back held a carnival on Tuesday for kids in the Oakland area -- and everything was free:

NFL cornerback Marcus Peters, Lynch's longtime friend who also is a native of The Town, helped put on the festivities as well.

There was food and rides in the West Oakland neighborhood -- and we're talking legitimate rides in what was originally thought to be something small.

But that's not what Lynch is about.

Good on you, guys.