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NFL running back and Skittles connoisseur Marshawn Lynch retires

Seattle Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch, aka Beast Mode, is walking away from football, reported The New York Times. For 10 seasons Lynch polarized the league and its fans with his hard-running ways and off-the-field eccentricities, one of which was his intense love for Skittles.

The candy connection
According to the Seahawks, Lynch formed a connection with the confection during his teenage years. Lynch's mother, Delisa Lynch, used to give her son Skittles before youth football games.

"When Marshawn was 12 or 13, we'd go to his games and I'd always have little candies in my purse," she told the team. "Before the game, I would say, 'Here Marshawn, come and get you power pellets.' I would give him a handful of Skittles and say, 'Eat 'em up, baby. They're going to make you run fast and they're going to make you play good'."

Beast Mode hung on to his unique pre-game routine as he advanced through football's ranks. The running back munched on Skittles prior to high school contests, consumed pallets of the candy during his time at the University of California, Berkeley and accepted handfuls of if from generous Seahawks fans.

In 2014, the candy brand rewarded Lynch for his loyalty by signing him to a lucrative endorsement deal, reported ESPN. Before partnering with Lynch, Skittles had never established an official relationship with a professional athlete. To celebrate the deal, it released limited-edition Seahawks Skittles.

Over the years, the running back has held up his end of the agreement. Last year, he promoted Skittles on the home shopping network Evine Live, reported USA Today.

"You couldn't talk Skittles without talking about [me]," Lynch said during the live broadcast.

According to Sports Illustrated, Beast Mode also filmed a mock press conference for the company, a cheeky branded reference to his rough relationship with the press. Even when Lynch makes public appearances unrelated to Skittles, the candy comes up. During a segment on the TBS late-night show "Conan," he dove into a massive tub full of Skittles.

Taking a hit for the team
Beast Mode's connection with Skittles has netted him both cash and cultural clout. According to ESPN, it has also caused him some trouble. During a 2011 game with the San Francisco 49ers, Lynch wore a pair of Nike cleats featuring a multicolored Skittles graphic. The NFL cited the running back for a uniform violation and fined him $10,000.

Saying goodbye
When Lynch announced his retirement in a cryptic tweet on Feb. 7, fans and teammates wished the athlete well. Of course, Skittles did the same and offered Lynch a sweet retirement package.

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