Posted: Thursday October 26, 2006 12:50PM; Updated: Saturday October 28, 2006 8:33PM
From left to right, Marshawn Lynch, Robert Jordan and Michael Silver hanging out at Cal's Memorial Stadium.
Kimberly Hoidal/University of California
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He is the Man With the Golden Grill, and when Cal halfback Marshawn Lynch flashes his Fort Knox smile, there is a zero percent chance that I will fail to do the same (sans grill).
Given that my wife and I are both proud Cal alums, and our three kids have been properly propagandized, Lynch is certainly the most popular man in our household, and his approval rating got even higher last Saturday afternoon at Memorial Stadium.
After essentially putting the Bears on his back while scoring a pair of gorgeous, crunch-time touchdowns in Cal's 31-24 overtime victory over Washington, the Heisman candidate took his showmanship a step further. Jumping into a golf cart used to collect injured players, Lynch celebrated the game-clinching interception by linebacker Desmond Bishop (the Bears' other No. 10) by zipping madly around the field, finally parking in front of the student section while striking a dramatic victory pose.
Two days later in Berkeley, I tried to get Lynch, who earned Pac-10 Offensive Player of the Week honors for his performance (150 rushing yards, four catches for 53 yards on two sprained ankles), to take me for a ride. Instead, I stayed stationary at the world's most beautifully situated sports facility while kicking it with Lynch and his talented teammate and cousin, junior wide receiver Robert Jordan. And a killer, panoramic view of the San Francisco Bay did not stop me from grilling the most golden of Bears.
Silver: You two are cousins and are both from Oakland -- what are your first memories of playing football together?
Lynch: Me reversing field, making sick moves, jumping over people on one leg and landing on the same leg.
Jordan: The first time we ever played on the same team was when we got to Cal.
Lynch: He tried to get a little piece of me at summer camp.
Jordan: Yeah, we were at Cal's football camp and they had me playing DB. He cut into the secondary and I just dove at his legs. I made it look like I was making an effort, but it was just camp. I didn't need to be trying to hit somebody; I was trying to catch some TDs and make an impression.
Lynch: That he did do.
Silver: OK, so you guys have this thing when either of you makes a big play -- you make these hand signals, sometimes to people in the crowd. What's up with that?
Jordan (placing his middle fingers over his index fingers on both upraised hands): Twist and hook, baby. That's 'Family First.' All positive. We have to correct people all the time.
Silver: You mean, because they think it's a gang sign or something?
Lynch: Yeah, exactly. And that's not it at all. It's something for the family -- it lets us know we're well-respected and well-connected. The people in our family know what it means, and it ain't nothing like what some people think.