The annual two-week layoff between NFL conference championship games and the Super Bowl gives media ample time to say and do a lot of crazy and silly things, and to all but deify good football players as they prepare for the biggest game of their lives. This work is almost always over the top, but in many cases interesting tidbits of information come forth - particularly if a player that used to work for your favorite team is in the spotlight.
That is the case with Seattle Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch, who continued to be the subject of media scrutiny following a media day appearance that lasted all of six minutes on Tuesday. His brief appearance and unwillingness to speak prompted several response articles, including this interesting profile from Jim Trotter of Sports Illustrated. It's that Trotter piece that brings us back to the Buffalo Bills, and the man who orchestrated the trade of Lynch to Seattle in October of 2010: former GM and current personnel advisor Buddy Nix.
You may recall that in Nix's first year in the GM post, the Bills entered the season with not only Lynch (a 2007 first-round pick) and Fred Jackson at running back, but then-rookie first-round pick C.J. Spiller, as well. The high-profile trio lasted just four weeks together - with mediocre production all around - before Nix shipped Lynch off to Seattle. That came 10 months after Lynch's initial request to be traded, which Trotter reports came on December 31, 2009 - the day that the Bills introduced Nix as their new GM. Writes Trotter:
Lynch and his agent flew to Buffalo, sat in front of Nix, and said they felt it would be better if he were with another team. Lynch even skipped a part of the offseason workouts when Nix refused to deal him.
Nix had opportunities to trade Lynch during the 2010 NFL Draft, but opted to keep him despite his clearly being uncomfortable in Buffalo, and despite having multiple offers on the table. He finally acquiesced during the season, and Lynch was traded to Seattle on October 5, 2010. The trade netted the Bills two draft picks, which ultimately yielded offensive tackle Chris Hairston (Round 4, 2011) and linebacker Tank Carder (Round 5, 2012). Hairston has appeared in 25 of a possible 48 games in his career (15 have been starts), while Carder was released after his first and only training camp in Buffalo (he has spent the last two years in Cleveland as a reserve and special teams player).
Lynch, meanwhile, has rushed for 4,624 yards and 41 touchdowns since his relocation to the west coast, numbers that don't include his work in the postseason.
Trotter spoke with Nix, who relayed the story of the immediate aftermath of his trading Lynch to Seattle. When informed of the trade, Lynch began to cry.
"I said, 'What is it? This is what you wanted to start with,'" Nix told Trotter. "He said, 'I came here to get this team turned around and see it through and get it in the playoffs, and I failed at that.' It really bothered him. But that's the kind of kid he is. It was such a culture shock for him coming to Buffalo, but he had a lot of pride - still does - and didn't want to fail. He's a team guy and wants to win. That day told me a lot about him. I really liked Marshawn because when you lined him up out there, you knew you were going to get everything he had."
Nix will never be remembered as the most popular GM in Bills history, by any means, and the Lynch trade, in terms of pure yield and what Lynch went on to do in his new home, will most certainly not be remembered fondly. Lynch is also a divisive character - as yesterday reinforced - so Bills fans that watched him for parts of four years have well-established opinions on him. Nix's remembrance of the day Lynch was traded, however, sheds new light on ancient history, and perhaps new perspective, as well.
Super Bowl XLVIII is this weekend, and you're certain to see plenty of Lynch as Seattle looks to keep Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos' historically potent offense off the field as much as possible. This is an interesting time to reflect on Lynch and his Bills career; will anyone have a problem rooting for Lynch in the big game?