Urban: Staying Classy in San Diego


Urban: Staying Classy in San Diego

Sept. 9, 2010

SAN DIEGO -- The early morning traffic was light, nobody was in line at curbside check-in at the Oakland airport, it took all of two minutes to get through security, and I scored a front-row aisle seat with nobody in the middle seat for the flight.And guess whose bags came off the luggage carousel first?All of a sudden I heard Sean Connerys character from Finding Forrester in my head.Youre the man now, dog!This is gonna be a cakewalk, I thought to myself, strolling confidently through the San Diego airport, bubbling in anticipation of the sunshine sure to blind me the moment I stepped outside. Ah, but the best laid plans of mice, men and overly optimistic journalists often go awry. That point gently peppered my melon shortly after I burst through the sliding glass doors that take travelers to the line of taxis.Sunny San Diego? Try soaked San Diego. Rain? Now it was the voice of John McEnroe, circa Wimbledon vs. Bjorn Borg, in my head.You can NOT be serious!!And then William Forrester returned, only with less of a regal Scottish lilt. Youre the wet dog now, man!Yet things picked up a bit from there. The cabbie actually knew where the Giants team hotel is; to my eternal fascination, thats never a lock in any big-league city, despite the high quality and downtown location of most such properties.Nobody in line at the front desk. I got to check in right away even though it wasnt quite 10 a.m.. And my room? Peep it in on my flip-vid page for this trip. Its gorgeous, big enough to host a small wedding reception, one block from Petco Park, and features a balcony that offers views of the back of the ballpark on one side and a waterway on the other.The sun even broke through by noon, so I went for a walk. Ran into Brian Wilson, who was strolling the streets solo and entertained me for a few minutes as only he can. Ran into Amy G, who walked a few blocks with me back to the hotel. There we ran into Barry Zito, headed out for breakfast.Now it was Ice Cube in my head.Today was a good day.Ah, but its not even close to over, now, is it? It still can, and probably will, get ugly at some point.Actually, it already had. As I walked out of the hotels front door, two teenage boys bum-rushed me, baseballs in hand. At 6-foot-6 and about 235 pounds, and with a job that often put me in places where professional athletes can be found, Im often mistaken for an athlete and asked for an autograph.Never mind that these people obviously have no clue that my signature would de-value their baseballs instead of the intended opposite. Its flattering in an odd way.Until, that is, I tell them Im a nobody.The mistake I make is in accepting the ball before I tell them. Youre not on the Giants? one of the boys repeated.No, I said with a laugh. But Im taller than all of them.To which the other boy snatched the ball out of my hand like Steph Curry stripping an Angolan point guard.As they stalked off, I heard one of them refer to me as a jackass.Thats when Ron Burgundy made his inevitable appearance in my head.Stay classy, San Diego!
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Here's to hoping Marshawn Lynch upstages the NFL Draft


Here's to hoping Marshawn Lynch upstages the NFL Draft

Marshawn Lynch is going to upstage the NFL Draft for a few moments by announcing his signing with the Oakland Raiders Thursday.

The problem with this is obvious. He can’t upstage it all day long.

The NFL Draft is one of those events that demeans all who come in contact with it, because it basically extols the three virtues the owners find most inspiring – dishonesty, bullying and treachery. Between everyone lying about everything they do, making players submit to the most revolting reputational indignities, and just good old-fashioned broken promises like, “If you’re there at 119, we’re taking you, oh wait, we suddenly hate you and your skill set,” the draft is largely a festival of misery.

Not universally, mind you. Some players love it, especially the ones who hit the lottery, get picked higher than they thought they would and go to the perfect team for their talents and temperaments. That’s not the usual road, but there you go.

But mostly, nah. And we’re not even getting into the cavalcade of media self-anointeds who think they know what they’re talking about but only serve to remind us that not everybody is a fun companion in a bar.

Now the disclaimer: If you like the NFL Draft, fine. Wallow in every minute of it with our blessing. It'll keep you from all level of other mischief, and it is relatively harmless fun if you can deal with the aesthetic unpleasantries to which we just referred. Just understand that you are spending 356 minutes of party prep for three days of partying and six days of cleanup. It's a hamster wheel of fun, but it is a hamster wheel.

But then there's Marshawn Lynch, who overcame being one of those draft casualties (because Buffalo didn’t work for him, and he didn’t work all that well for Buffalo, either), is coming out of retirement to be traded and then rendered a Raider in the time still allotted for them to reside in Oakland. As a distraction, this will play well enough. It sure beats DeMarcus Cousins being traded by Sacramento during the NBA All-Star Game.

I suppose this is a heart-rending tale of one man’s loyalty to his city (the right place at the right price), although there is the naggingly worrisome component that going back to football won’t be good for his overall health. It is the risk he runs, to be sure, and one can only assume that he has made a clearheaded choice, but this is not a spot that treats its recidivists well.

That’s recidivists, as in “folks who walked away happily, then found out they needed it too much for their own good.”

Frankly, there is no good reason not to want this to turn out well for Lynch (the Raiders can take of themselves with or without him, and within two years will do exactly that), but it is a case of bucking some daunting odds in what is too often a zero-sum game. That’s a level of risk that should make anyone queasy.

But it is what Marshawn Lynch wants, risks and all, and as a grown adult he should get the opportunity few are afforded – to chase and catch his dream until it stops being a dream and becomes a chore.

If it works out for the Raiders as well, fine. Lynch isn’t the one who will put them over the top in a conference dominated by three teams – New England, the Patriots and Bill Belichick – but if he finds the athletic closure he seeks, it ought to be good enough for the rest of us.

Especially if it even momentarily minimizes the rest of the hot rhetorical/gasbaggy mess that is Draft Night. If nothing else, here’s hoping Marshawn Lynch is the star of the night. That’s not the way to bet, of course, but a person can hope.

Source: Marshawn Lynch set to join Raiders, pending physical


Source: Marshawn Lynch set to join Raiders, pending physical

Running back is no longer a pressing Raiders need. They eliminated it just before this NFL draft by acquiring a good one for the team, a great one for the East Bay Raiders fan base.

Marshawn Lynch is going to wear Silver and Black.

The powerful running back and proud Oakland native has agreed to terms on a contract with the Raiders, a league source with knowledge of the situation confirmed on Wednesday morning.

The Raiders have also acquired his rights from Seattle in trade.

The deal and the trade is contingent on a physical. Lynch is expected at Raiders complex Wednesday to complete that formality and sign a contract to make everything official.

The news was first reported by NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport and Mike Garafolo before dawn Wednesday morning.

NFL Network reports Lynch agreed to a two-year contract worth $8.5 million. He's set to make a $3 million base salary in 2017. He can earn another another $2 million coming if he reaches 1,000 yards. 

The Seahawks and Raiders will swap 2018 draft picks to complete the trade. According to USA Today, Seattle receives Oakland's fifth-round pick next year in exchange for Lynch and their sixth round pick next year.

The Oakland Tech High grad and Cal alum retired from NFL football after the 2015 season, but wanted to return after a year away from the game. The 31-year old only wanted to return for his hometown team, and got his wish after prolonged contract talks.

A union is now a completed physical away from becoming complete. 

Raiders players were overjoyed at the news before that, including quarterback Derek Carr.

Former Seahawks teammate Bruce Irvin, who has been championing the Lynch-to-Oakland cause for weeks now, was thrilled to see Lynch join the squad.

Lynch is not expected to be a Las Vegas Raider. His contract runs through the 2018 season. The Raiders plan to play in the Bay Area until their new Las Vegas stadium is complete in 2020. They have lease options to play at Oakland Colsieum through the 2018 season.