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|Bills running back Marshawn Lynch will be playing his hometown team for the first time in his NFL career.|
ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. -- Buffalo Bills RB Marshawn Lynch spoke to local reporters Friday for the first time since last season.
Lynch still refuses to address his infamous May traffic incident in which he struck a female pedestrian in Buffalo's nightclub district and zoomed away. But the fact he spoke at all is newsworthy around these parts.
The Bills will host the Oakland Raiders on Sunday. Lynch has a large "OAKLAND" tattoo across his chest in homage to his hometown.
You're probably excited to play your hometown team.
Marshawn Lynch: Correct.
What will the reaction be back home?
ML: It's special. My first time against my home team. I've been waiting for it, and I've got some family coming in. My mom, grandmother, some cousins ... So that should be cool, too.
You were a Raiders fans growing up?
Are you still angry about the 'Tuck Rule' game?
Who was your favorite player?
ML: Jeff Hostetler and Napoleon Kaufman.
Who will your friends be rooting for on Sunday?
ML: If they're true Raider fans, they should be rooting for the Raiders. But they're going to be rooting for Marshawn, too. So it's all good.
How do you see this season unfolding?
ML: We're going to see. It's just the beginning right now. We're just going to focus on getting those wins and being accountable to the team.
Has Buffalo's running game hit its stride yet?
ML: I feel we have as a team. We've been winning, but there are still some rushing yards out there to be had for both me and Fred [Jackson].
What are your personal goals?
ML: Playoffs and to win.
Is there a desire to improve on last year?
ML: That's the goal, but last year I thought I was going to be involved in the passing game more than I was. I didn't get too many catches back there. I had my fair share, but just with offense that we have going on now, with me and Fred coming out of the backfield a little more and lining up at receiver, I think that's something that will be good for us.
How is the offense going through the first two games?
ML: It feels good. We're all comfortable with each other, so that could be it. But for the most part, like I said, we're comfortable with each other, and we're about putting up points.
Have you gotten used to taking handoffs from a Stanford guy?
ML: No, and I probably won't ever get used to it.
What has it been like to have fullback Darian Barnes blocking for you?
ML: I ran behind a fullback in college, but with Darian, it's like having another offensive lineman in front of you that can run. He's never scared. He'll run into anybody full-speed first. It's always good to have somebody like that on your team to have them in front of you carrying the ball is a plus.
How would you describe your conditioning?
ML: I did some intense workouts over the offseason. So I felt a little stronger. I felt a little faster just overall. I feel more comfortable out there.
Do you swim during the season?
ML: Tuesdays and Thursdays. It takes a lot of pounding off of my body rather than running.
How good do you think the Bills can be?
ML: We can be as good as we play on Sunday, and right now we're playing good. We'll continue to keep it up.