GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Seattle Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch left the Super Bowl in much the same way he arrived: caring only about the people closest to him, running in a way that left witnesses stunned at his resilience and refusing to provide any material that would come close to filling a reporter's notebook.
It didn't take Lynch long to let the media know he still had nothing to say after the Seahawks' 28-24 loss to the New England Patriots in Super Bowl XLIX. As head coach Pete Carroll did a brief interview with NBC outside his team's locker room, Lynch strutted out behind him and headed for the bus. An assortment of family and friends followed in his wake, many wearing No. 24 jerseys and most refusing to say much to him. The only question Lynch did answer was an inquiry about whether he was surprised he didn't get the chance to score the game-winning touchdown when Seattle had the ball on the Patriots' 1-yard line. Lynch claimed he wasn't confounded and only said, "This is a team game."
Team game or not, there's little doubt Lynch once again was a major talking point in a week that revolved around his disdain for talking to media. He spent the three news conferences he did attend blowing off reporters' questions before bolting after a few minutes. He sparked constant speculation about whether he would be fined more than the $100,000 the NFL already had fined him this year for not making himself available to the media. Lynch also used two catch phrases -- "You know why I'm here" and "I'm just here so I won't get fined" -- so often they became easy material for late-night skits.
Easily lost in all that drama was the fact that Lynch prefers to do his talking on the field. On Sunday night, he did that again. Along with rushing for 102 yards and scoring a first-half touchdown, Lynch had a critical, 31-yard reception on Seattle's final possession and a 4-yard run that brought the ball to New England's 1-yard line with just less than a minute left in the contest. Then, on second-and-goal, things got weird.
Despite having two timeouts, New England let the game clock run for nearly 30 seconds. Just as crazy was the Seahawks' play call. Instead of handing off to the player known as "Beast Mode," Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson threw a pass toward wide receiver Ricardo Lockette that Patriots cornerback Malcolm Butler intercepted at the goal line. Seahawks offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell later explained that he was trying to call a play that would allow Seattle to skim more time off the clock before eventually scoring the game-winning touchdown. He also admitted he'd do things differently if given another chance because the play "didn't go the way we had hoped."
"You would've thought they would've run Marshawn in that situation because they had been running him all game," Patriots cornerback Darrelle Revis said. "But that was the decision they chose to make."
The question now is where Lynch goes from here. There were reports prior to the game that the Seahawks have been discussing an extension for him -- Lynch's contract expires after next season -- but there has also been serious speculation that he could be released this offseason. He rushed for 1,306 yards and scored a league-high 17 touchdowns, but Lynch does turn 29 years old on April 22. The Seahawks also have to find a way to sign Wilson and Pro Bowl middle linebacker Bobby Wagner to long-term deals.
Lynch didn't seem to be thinking about any of that as he walked out of the University of Phoenix Stadium on Sunday night. He laughed with some friends and kept a security guard close by to keep reporters at bay. Left in his wake was a world still wondering who Marshawn Lynch really is and a team that hopes it hasn't seen the last of him.
"He's a huge part of who we are," Seahawks left tackle Russell Okung said. "I don't understand the intricacies of [Lynch's future with the team], but I want him here with us. We love the guy."