With the news coming across that former Buffalo Bills running back Marshawn Lynch has been arrested yet again, you can't help but think the brass at One Bills Drive are breathing a huge sigh of relief.
Though the significance of returns for the two draft picks (Chris Hairston and Tank Carder) have yet to be determined, the Bills come out looking like the winners of their trade in 2011 with the Seattle Seahawks.
It's not as though Lynch lacks true talent, he proved he has plenty with his outburst in 2012 for Seattle, racking up 1,204 yards and 12 touchdowns. Perpetually in the 'if he could get his head on straight he could be really good' category, the running back looked as though he may have turned a corner.
We all know about his hit-and-run incident in 2008, followed up by his weapons charge in 2009 -- after which Lynch vowed to change. He kept his nose clean and out of trouble for over three years once the NFL suspended him for three games in 2009.
On March 18, 2009, a little over a month removed from his weapons charge and just after his meeting with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, Lynch stood for 15 minutes and answered questions from the media.
With his most recent arrest, it seemed prudent to go back to the words he spoke over three years ago.
On why Commissioner Goodell, the Buffalo Bills, and the fans should believe he’s changed:
Well, I can only show you. It won’t be anything that I can say in words that’ll make you a believer, so you’re just going to have to see for yourself. I feel with the incident that I had, I’m young, but I’ve grown through those situations. What I’ve learned is that what doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger. And I’ve seen what those situations put me, my family, and the organization through, and that’s not what I’m about. When I got drafted to Buffalo, like I told you all before, I wanted to come here to play ball. I never had the intentions of getting in trouble or anything like that, but along the way, my road got rocky, and now it’s time to get the pavement straight.
On why he didn’t heed Commissioner Goodell’s message last year:
Like I said, I made a mistake. Poor judgment. It’s hard when you have a target on your back. He said he wouldn’t tolerate it. The first time was like a slap on the wrist, but this time he got to that ‘but.’ This time, I feel it really will stick. That’s not what I came into the league, to jeopardize my chance of playing, to do something that I love more than anything is to strap up my pads all through the week leading up to Sunday, and that’s one thing that I’m not ready to give up.
On what he means by ‘having a target on his back’:
They say that about athletes all of the time, that we’re under a microscope and that everything we do will be magnified. So that magnifying I feel is on my back, and that target is getting bigger with the two situations that I had. It will be like I’m a target and I need to know pretty much that there will be some people looking forward to me messing up again. I’m going to just let them know they shouldn’t hold their breath.
On if he needs to make significant changes in his life, or just make better decisions:
I say make some changes and basically make better decisions as well. Something that I’ve stressed is that I’m young, I’m still growing, and I know that’s probably not the last mistake that I’ll make, but I know no mistake will ever have me in this position where I’m talking to you guys again in a situation like this.
On if he believes he can improve his image in the eyes of the fans:
Well, some people are going to stay with the perception of me, but like I told the Commissioner, a lot of people well get judgmental about me until they meet me and actually talk to me and find out what kind of person I am. But like I told you, there won’t be any words to describe how that’s going to happen. So you’re going to see a change on my persona through actions.
No matter the contributions of the Hairston and Carder duo, the comfort of not having to deal with the headache of off-the-field transgressions, potential suspensions and a negative image is proof enough that the Bills seem like they won that trade.
It just goes to show talent does not supersede everything. It's opportunity to implement that talent that is only there for so long. Lynch now has the dreaded tag from the league office -- he's a repeat offender. How long might he be out this time? Eight games? A full year?
We'll find that out soon enough. But if Marshawn Lynch keeps going at his current pace, those opportunities that he's been afforded over the start of his career will quickly evaporate.
And each time he's in the news for all the wrong reasons and Fred Jackson is in the news for all the right ones, it just makes the Bills look smarter and smarter for dealing Lynch when they could.