Training camp breaks today, which means it’s the last day in Napa for the Raiders. Next up after this is the second preseason game. Then when they return to practice, it will be at their Alameda facility as they get back into their regular season routine. There are just 24 days remaining. Number 24 these days in Oakland is none other than Beast Mode himself.
RB Marshawn Lynch
The enigmatic running back came out of retirement after one year out of football in order to suit up for his hometown Oakland Raiders. Last time he suited up for an NFL game was the 7th game of the 2015 season. He was battling an injury that season and was placed on injured reserve. The following offseason, he announced his retirement at just 29 years old.
Beast Mode’s last full season was 2014 when he ran for 1306 yards and 13 touchdowns averaging 4.7 yards per carry and leading the Seahawks to a second consecutive Super Bowl. It would have been their second Super Bowl win had they given the ball to Lynch near the goal line instead of trying to pass the ball over the middle where it was picked off.
Now Beast Mode is back. He worked out the details of his return with the Raiders on a new 2-year contract and the Seahawks on a trade and then made his return to football official.
Now 31-years-old, and nearly two years since his last NFL snap, there are varying opinions on how Lynch will perform for the Raiders this season. He has the Raiders feature back job behind the NFL’s premiere interior offensive line, so there’s plenty of reason to think he can return to his Pro Bowl form of 2014.
Who wore it best: CB Willie Brown
One of the greatest Raiders ever, he spent his first four NFL seasons in Denver. The Raiders acquired the All AFL corner in a trade in 1967 and spent the final 12 seasons of his Hall of Fame career in Oakland. In that time he was named All Pro four more times and to the Pro Bowl 7 more times. He also made the huge, game-clinching interception that has been immortalized as Bill King shouting "Old Man Willie" picked off the Fran Tarkenton pass and returned it 75 yards for the score.
He is tied for the most interceptions (39) in franchise history and also had 7 postseason interceptions with three of those returned for touchdowns. He retired following the 1978 season and immediately became a defensive backs coach for the Raiders. He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1984.
Honorable Mention: S Charles Woodson
The only man who could rival Willie Brown. The Raiders made this Heisman Trophy winner the 4th overall pick in the 1998 draft as the only ever primarily defensive player to win the Heisman. CWood locked down the right side of the field for eight seasons in Oakland, being named to the Pro Bowl his first four seasons and All Pro once. In the process, the Raiders had their most successful seasons in the past 30 years, including a trip to the Super Bowl.
In 2006, at the age of 30, he was allowed to leave as a free agent, signing with the Green Bay Packers. He spent seven seasons in Green Bay, winning a Super Bowl and being named NFL Defensive Player of the Year.
Then in 2013, at the age of 36, he was released by the Packers and returned to Oakland where he said he had "unfinished business". The Raiders made him a safety and he started every single games his final three NFL seasons — a total of 11 seasons — in Silver & Black. He is a lock as a first ballot Hall of Famer.