SEATTLE — When Marshawn Lynch was brought to Seattle early in the 2010 season, he was acquired because the Seahawks desperately needed a running back.

What he ended up providing was an attitude and style that became the foundation for bringing the first Super Bowl title to the Pacific Northwest.

And for that, Lynch will forever hold a special place with the Seahawks. He may have been more of a headache off the field than anyone let on during his time in Seattle, but he’ll ultimately be lauded as the running back that got the Seahawks to a place they had never been before.

Without saying a word – big surprise – Lynch drew a lot of attention during the fourth quarter of the Super Bowl on Sunday night with a single post on social media. Just a picture, green cleats hanging from a power or telephone line, and a peace sign emoji. It was his way of saying goodbye from football, a decision that his agent Doug Hendrickson confirmed to The Associated Press on Monday saying Lynch intends to retire.

The mercurial running back who enjoyed avoiding media attention away from the field as much as he thrived under the spotlight with the ball in his hands is stepping away just before his 30th birthday.

“Since I’ve been here he’s been the heart and soul, the engine of our offense. A vocal leader. A great influence and one of the best teammates I’ve ever had,” Seattle wide receiver Doug Baldwin said last month of Lynch. “I can’t say enough about him.”

SUPER BOWL RATINGS: Setting television viewership records with the Super Bowl has become almost routine, but this year’s average of 111.9 million viewers for Denver’s victory over Carolina is down from the past two years.

That makes Sunday’s game the third most-watched event in U.S. television history, the Nielsen company said Monday. Last year’s down-to-the-wire contest between New England and Seattle keeps the record with 114.4 million viewers.

The Super Bowl had seemed to know no ceiling in popularity, setting viewership records in six of seven years until this one.

CBS, the nation’s most-watched network, had pushed the event hard the past few months, playing up the historical nature of the 50th Super Bowl game. But Denver’s 24-10 victory wasn’t a sizzler, with defenses dominating the marquee quarterback matchup between Peyton Manning and reigning NFL MVP Cam Newton.

FALCONS: Atlanta released a pair of defensive starters: longtime safety William Moore and linebacker Justin Durant.

Moore was a second-round pick in 2009 and one of the senior members of the team. He played in 76 games with 72 starts over seven seasons, earning a Pro Bowl selection in 2012.

But the hard-hitting Moore was plagued by injuries, playing all 16 games only twice in his career.

Durant was one of Atlanta’s biggest free-agent signings a year ago, brought in with the hope of adding big-play capability to the defense after the hiring of coach Dan Quinn.

n The Atlanta Falcons continue to shake up their front office, hiring Joel Collier as director of pro personnel.

EAGLES: Philadelphia released wide receiver Riley Cooper after six seasons.

Cooper’s best season came in 2013, when he had 47 catches for 835 yards and eight touchdowns. He played in half his team’s offensive snaps this past season.

BILLS: Buffalo running back LeSean McCoy is under investigation over a Philadelphia nightclub brawl early Sunday that left two off-duty police officers injured, one with a broken nose and broken ribs and the other with a possible skull fracture.

The incident occurred early Sunday morning after an argument broke out between McCoy’s party and the officers over a bottle of champagne.

SAINTS: New Orleans released four-time All-Pro right guard Jahri Evans, who has started for all 10 seasons since New Orleans drafted him out of Division II Bloomsburg in 2006.

BROWNS: Johnny Manziel’s ex-girlfriend says in an affidavit that he hit her so hard during a late-night confrontation that she lost hearing in one ear.

Colleen Crowley’s affidavit was obtained by KXAS-TV and published online Monday. Crowley suffered a ruptured eardrum, which is expected to eventually heal, Crowley’s lawyer, Kathy Kinser, told the television station.


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