ThePostGame spoke with Seattle Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch about a wide range of topics including concussions, Skittles, Roger Goodell, grills and "Call of Duty: Black Ops II."
ThePostGame: A big topic of discussion today is injuries, especially concussions. Do you think the NFL is doing enough to prevent things like concussions and other injuries?
MARSHAWN LYNCH: Well, I mean they took a big aspect out of the game as far as helmet-to-helmet hits, so therefore I think that's limiting the amount of concussions that players are getting. With the new technology and the upgrades to the equipment that they're making -- as far as the helmets, the new upgrades to the padding that they putting in, the chinstrap devices that they using to help keep the helmet on nice and tight -- so just the amount of equipment and the way the refs have been calling the game, I would say that they are doing a lot better, especially to stop concussions and everything.
TPG: Roger Goodell has been getting a lot of flack recently, from injuries to last year's lockout to Bountygate and beyond. You've been suspended and fined by him. How do you feel about Goodell as the commissioner?
LYNCH: That's a tough job for him. A lot of people would say that they're not a fan but at the end of the day, you know, decisions gotta be made. I mean, do we agree with the decisions that are made? No, we don't agree with all of them. Just with everything that's been going on, you know, he's got a lot on his plate. But that's out of my pay grade. I just stick to what I gotta do.
TPG: You have a lot of nicknames, from "Beast Mode" to "Money" to "Skittles." What's your favorite nickname and why?
LYNCH: My favorite nickname is just an abbreviation of my name, Shawn, 'cause it's been around the longest.
TPG: Are you a fan of the song "Beast Mode" by B.O.B.?
LYNCH: Yeah, that's not the only one though. There's a couple of them out there. I know Mistah F.A.B. made one, Lil' Boosie made one.
TPG: Do you have a "Beast Mode" playlist that is just songs called "Beast Mode"?
LYNCH: (laughs) Nah, I do have one to get ready for the games though.
TPG: What's on that playlist?
LYNCH: You know, some of the artists I just told you, uh, Lil Boosie, Mistah F.A.B., J. Stalin, Lil' Blood. A lot of Bay Area artists, but I get it down south too, Lil' Webbie.
TPG: We talked about how one of your nicknames is "Skittles" because you eat Skittles before every game. Do you stick to the classic red bag Skittles or do you venture outside of the box and eat other flavors too?
LYNCH: I'll eat all of them. Except for the sour ones. I'm not big on sour candy.
TPG: You're not even in the top ten rated running backs in this year's Madden. When you ask the average fan who the top running backs are in the league you hear Foster, Peterson, a lot of names before you. You had one of the greatest runs in playoff history against the Saints a few years ago yet it seems like people regard you as a second-tier back. Are you underrated?
LYNCH: It depends on who you're asking it to. Across NFL locker rooms, you'd have to ask them. But as far as the video games and what the media say, I mean, hey, when I show up to perform, they not sayin’ nothin’ but positive things about me, so I guess not.
TPG: Where would you rank yourself among NFL running backs?
LYNCH: I mean it's me; I rate myself as the best.
TPG: In an interview a few years back you said that if you weren't a football player you could have been a professional swimmer, and that you thought you would beat Michael Phelps in a race. You said that you would have been on the Wheaties box instead of him. Do you still think you could beat Phelps in a race?
LYNCH: (Laughs) Nah, hell no I don't think I could beat Phelps in no race right now.
TPG: Another thing you're known for is your many grills. What's your favorite grill that you've ever owned?
LYNCH: My favorite grill would probly be my two permanents that I got in. They been in for a few years now.
TPG: When did you get your first grill?
LYNCH: I was in the sixth grade.
TPG: Do you have a room or shelf that’s just filled with various grills?
LYNCH: No, I don't. Most of them end up lost or you just kinda wear 'em out and then you have to go get some more.
TPG: How often do people on the street tell you they need you to come up big in fantasy?
LYNCH: They not talkin' to me about how they got me on their fantasy team -- they got some Skittles for me or they screaming "beast mode!" at the top of their lungs.
TPG: So you get a lot of "beast mode!" from across the street type of thing?
LYNCH: From across the street, from off the bus, when I'm in my car and they see. Like, any chance they get they'll do it -- in a restaurant having dinner.
TPG: A lot of stories about you talk about your love of chain restaurants like Applebees and T.G.I. Fridays. What's up with that?
LYNCH: That was a joke! It was a skit that I did with ESPN and everyone jokes about it now. See what the media can do?
TPG: So you want the world to know that those aren't your favorite restaurants?
LYNCH: I mean I'll go and I'll eat there -- they cool, but it's not my favorite.
TPG: How are you liking the new jerseys this season?
LYNCH: They good -- we ain't wore the grays yet! I can't wait to see what those things like live and in action.
TPG: What do you think about Russell Wilson's performance so far this year?
LYNCH: Every week he's just getting more comfortable and playing more freely. As time been going you can tell that he's getting more comfortable and he's been making some real big plays. I'm not surprised that he's having the success he's been having because he's been a pro before, playing baseball (editors note: Wilson played minor league baseball with the Tri-City Dust Devils and Asheville Tourists), so I'm excited to see what he gonna do and continue to battle with him.
TPG: Tell us about your foundation, the Family First Foundation.
LYNCH: It’s back in Oakland. Just this last year we had a couple events. We trying to get a youth development center open. We do things like food drives during Christmas, turkey drives for Thanksgiving -- we've held a football camp for like the last six years. It’s all about giving back to my community and tryin' to help empower the youth.
TPG: Besides your work with the foundation, what do you do when you're not playing football?
LYNCH: I just been kickin' back, man. It's really time on your day off to just chill, regroup, get your body together and, you know, relax and try to get as healthy as you can.
TPG: Do you have a specific "chill zone" in your house?
LYNCH: No, not yet. Not until I get my "Call of Duty" and then it's gonna be right in front of my TV.
TPG: How long have you been playing "Call of Duty?"
LYNCH: The first one I played was Modern Warfare. I wasn't that good at it so it took me a couple tries and I kinda shied away from it. But being up in Buffalo there wasn't really too much to do. A lot of my teammates was tellin' me like, "Yeah man, we online doin' this and doin' that." So we took the time to get to know each other by teaming up on "Call of Duty: Modern Warfare," just going at it like that.
TPG: So a group of NFL players would team up and play online against random kids?
LYNCH: I mean yeah, it was crazy. You get on there and you can hear all these people talk. I wasn't as advanced as some of them; they had microphones so they was able to talk. The more I played, the more I got the hang of it and started to like the game.
TPG: Yeah, playing online is crazy; I'll die five times before I even get to shoot one guy.
LYNCH: (laughs) Die five times before you get one kill, huh? Yeah, I know somethin' about that.
TPG: Do you have a mic now?
LYNCH: Yeah, I got a mic now, so they can hear me.
TPG: Do you ever tell kids who you are and talk trash?
LYNCH: Nah, never (laughs).