The Oakland Raiders are on their way to Las Vegas following the 2019 season, but Bay Area native Marshawn Lynch is making sure there will still be professional football available for fans.
According to Dieter Kurtenbach of the Mercury News, the five-time Pro Bowler co-founded and will co-own the Oakland Panthers of the Indoor Football League. The name pays homage to the city's Black Panthers history, and the team will play in the Oakland Arena.
Kurtenbach noted there will be a press conference Tuesday to formally announce head coach Kurt Bryan, the ownership group and the team name.
"My whole intention was to come back and play with them until they left," Lynch said of his time with the Oakland Raiders. "[Arena football] wasn't something I was looking at—not even a little bit. But when the opportunity presented itself—I'm a big dude on believing in timing and (stuff). This, at the time, really made sense."
Lynch played for the Buffalo Bills and Seattle Seahawks during his prime, establishing himself as one of the best and most physical runners in the league and winning a Super Bowl with the NFC West squad.
He joined his hometown team prior to the 2017 campaign and played his final two seasons in silver and black. He appeared in just six games in 2018 but impressed in 2017 with 891 rushing yards and seven touchdowns.
"This is a given. I'm in with this," Lynch said of his new venture. "The [Raiders] will be leaving, but the fans will be here. This is a good opportunity and a good timing to where you will still have those fans, that community, and the pride they bring."
Kurtenbach detailed how Lynch first became involved with the Panthers, pointing out he met team president Scott McKibben and co-owner Roy Choi while watching his brother play in an IFL game in Arizona.
Choi also owns two other teams in the league.