Long before Marshawn Lynch and Aaron Rodgers were competing against one another in the NFL, they were part of one of the most famous teams in Cal football history.
In 2004, the former Seahawks running back and Green Bay Packers quarterback led Cal to a 10-1 season, losing only to top-ranked USC by six points. It seemed as if the Golden Bears were destined for the Rose Bowl, but instead, Cal was passed over by Texas for a spot in the game.
While the BCS snub still haunts Cal fans to this day, Lynch and Rodgers both went on to the NFL, carving out illustrious careers over the years. Nearly 17 years later, Beast Mode credits his former college teammate with having his back from Day 1.
“Me and A-Rod, I think he’s the reason I was able to pick up the game of football the way that I have,” Lynch told SB Nation’s Field Gulls Podcast. "When I was a freshman at Cal, he did something that got me out of trouble that I know I probably wouldn’t have. After that, I wouldn’t have had an opportunity to play no more, just because you know how sh*t goes. I think what A-Rod did for me, he put me in a position so where I could be able to get another play. Although I did everything wrong, I still scored on the play, but my coach was just like, everything had to be perfect, and I was the furthest from what he was looking for."
In 2020, Lynch and Rodgers were on opposite sides of the field as the Seahawks fell short in their quest to upset Rodgers’ Packers at Lambeau Field and earn a chance to face the 49ers in the NFC Championship Game.
Lynch walked into Green Bay’s locker room after the game to swap jerseys and the two exchanged lighthearted banter. But Lynch couldn't forget the moment his fellow Cal alum saved his bailed him out.
“More so, I was just doing some reminiscing about that,” Lynch explained. “And then he like “give me that jersey, man you know this, go ahead and take this thing.” It’s just like, we came a long way from Bear territory, so it worked out...
While Rodgers’ future in Green Bay is murky after a loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the conference championship, Lynch has all but said he is hanging up his cleats for a final time.
After coming out of retirement for a second time to help the injury-ravaged Seahawks backfield in 2019, Lynch’s so-called last ride in Seattle ended at chilly Lambeau Field, with a loss to one of his greatest friends.
"So, he was supposed to go ahead, you know what I mean, go ahead and let me get that one.”