Marshawn Lynch takes some reps as Cal readies for opener abroad

It's not often a college football team has to stare down a five-time Pro Bowl running back in practice.

But that's exactly what happened when former California Golden Bears star Marshawn Lynch practiced with his alma mater Tuesday in Sydney. Cal opens the season against Hawaii on Saturday in Australia -- or Friday at 10 p.m. ET.

"He came out to practice [Tuesday], watched practice, actually suited out and took a couple reps as the scout team running back," Cal coach Sonny Dykes said by phone from Sydney.

Unfortunately for the Bears, Lynch no longer has any NCAA eligibility.

"I wish he did," Dykes said. "I told him, 'If you had one game left, we'd give it to you 50 times.'"

The 30-year-old Lynch, who announced that he was retiring from the NFL in February, played at Cal from 2004 to '06, rushing for 3,230 yards and 29 touchdowns and making 68 receptions for 600 yards and six TDs. He was a freshman on the 2004 Cal team that went 10-2 and finished No. 9 in the nation with Aaron Rodgers at quarterback.

Lynch spent the last five-plus years of his pro career with the Seattle Seahawks. He was drafted No. 12 overall in 2007 by the Bills, and spent his first four-plus NFL seasons with Buffalo.

Dykes said Bears players enjoyed having Lynch around the team, and that the ex-running back serves as a mentor and an ambassador for the program.

"He's been really great with our players and has interacted with their families," Dykes said. "He loves young people and trying to have an impact on them. He does a lot of things that people don't know about behind the scenes. We're lucky to have him around."
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