By Raisa Bruner
February 4, 2019

For some, the Super Bowl is a pretty big deal. For others — like football running back Marshawn Lynch, who helped the Seattle Seahawks in their 2013 Super Bowl win against the Denver Broncos — perhaps it’s old hat now.

At least, he definitely was keeping it cool when Lynch appeared in a pre-Super Bowl LIII event on the field before the game in Atlanta alongside other players, dressed very casually in a sweatsuit while rocking a beanie, with a backpack slung over his shoulders. (In contrast, the other players were attired in full suits and ties.) They were assembled for the presentation of the Payton Man of the Year award, which this year went to Chris Long of the Eagles; it honors a player’s community service work.

But it was Lynch who stole the show — even as he tried to avoid the spotlight, crouching down behind presenter JJ Watt. Lynch, who currently plays for the Oakland Raiders after a brief retirement from the field after the 2015 season, has also been a subject of conversation beyond his abilities on the field in past years: in 2017, he stayed seated during a rendition of the national anthem, drawing the ire of President Trump on Twitter. He followed that up by wearing an “Everybody vs. Trump” t-shirt.

And now his Super Bowl LIII move is inspiring viewers, who are appreciating his willingness to veer from the expected norm.

Write to Raisa Bruner at raisa.bruner@time.com.

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