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Ricardo Lockette credits Marshawn Lynch for keeping him afloat

Seattle Seahawks v San Diego Chargers

SAN DIEGO, CA - SEPTEMBER 14: Running back Marshawn Lynch #24 and wide receiver Ricardo Lockette #83 of the Seattle Seahawks stand in front of cooling fans on the sideline during a game against the San Diego Chargers at Qualcomm Stadium on September 14, 2014 in San Diego, California. (Photo by Donald Miralle/Getty Images)

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It’s easy enough to view former Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch as a bit of a cartoon character, in part because he has so willingly gone along with the show.

Whether he’s grabbing his crotch or toying with reporters (and the league) with his distaste for interviews or riding camels in retirement, Lynch seldom shows what you’d call a serious side.

But when former teammate Ricardo Lockette feared for his life because of a neck injury, Lynch was much more than a teammate, and showed a side of his personality very few people see.

A lot of people don’t know the real Marshawn,” Lockette wrote in The Players Tribune. “They don’t understand what kind of a man he is, and how much he does for his people in Oakland. My goal in life is to have 10 percent of the effect that Marshawn has on people’s lives.

“When I was taken to the hospital in Dallas, Marshawn stayed in my room with me the whole first night. This dude had me laughing so hard that he was putting my damn life in danger. I’m laying in bed with a full neck brace, just trying to stay still, and he’s just being Marshawn — talking to the nurses, making jokes, being crazy. . . .

“What I’m gonna actually remember is moments like that night in the hospital. Just the laughter and the love, even in the toughest moments. I mean, I’m laying there in a neck brace, I can’t move, I just cried my eyes out, and here’s a guy who just wants to make me laugh and forget about the pain.”

Of course, that kind of jokester fits with the free-spirited persona Lynch has been willing to show — and market. But Lockette described a friend who was there when he needed him the most, who tried to lift him up in his darkest hour. And that’s something a lot of people who only watched Lynch on the field might have never imagined.