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Brandon Mebane and Marshawn Lynch's Brotherly Bond Put to the Test

As a sophomore, Brandon Mebane welcomed a freshman running back to the Cal campus in the summer of 2004.

Never in his wildest imagination could he have predicted the relationship he'd form with this young man who went by the name of Marshawn Lynch.

"Never!" Mebane bellows with his charming laugh, reminiscing about their first meeting over a decade ago. "Out of anybody I've ever played with, I've played with him the longest."

The two would become close friends over the next three seasons with the Bears, with both declaring for the 2007 NFL Draft.  They parted ways as the Buffalo Bills selected Lynch 12th overall while Mebane headed to Seattle in the third round (85th overall).

However, just a few years later they reunited in the pros when Buffalo traded Lynch to the Pacific Northwest in 2010. Over the next six seasons, the two emerged as leaders on each side of the ball, guiding the Seahawks to a pair of Super Bowl appearances including a win over the Denver Broncos in Super Bowl XLVIII.

Success on the field is only part of the Mebane-Marshawn story.  The bond forged as young teenagers has grown exponentially over the past 13 years.  In fact, Lynch was in Mebane's wedding when he married his wife, Amena.

Come Sunday, the two will square off when the Bolts face the Raiders.  Even though they've lined up across from one another thousands at times at practice, this marks the second time they've played a real game vs. the other since a 2008 contest between the Seahawks and Bills.

Despite their close bond, Mebane says he'll have no problem laying the lumber into Lynch.

"I've competed against him for a long time.  Same college team and NFL team.  He's a competitor.  It's always a competition against him. We've been real close since day one, but we can turn that off and on.  It's going to be done on Sunday."

As Mebane prepares for the Week 6 AFC West clash, he says the 31-year old Lynch, back after one year of retirement, runs with the same punishing determination as the young kid he remembers at Cal.

"He definitely can still do a lot of the things he did his whole career."

Defensive Coordinator Gus Bradley has a lengthy connection with Lynch as well, dating back to their time together in Seattle.  He echoed those same sentiments as he prepares the Chargers for "Beast Mode".

"He's special, obviously. He runs with a certain demeanor…. He does (look like the same guy).  He runs angry. Keeps his feet moving. Physical.  (Gets) yards after contact.  He's very aggressive."

Russell Okung is another Charger with ties to Lynch, having blocked for him during the running back's heyday in Seattle.

"What makes him so special is his tenacity as a runner," he said.  "He is extremely angry every time he gets the ball, and he fights for something bigger in the moment.  He's amazing.  I saw him in the preseason, and he looked like he was coming back into form."

Still, no one's connection goes as deep as Mebane's, which is why Sunday will be a day he won't forget.

"We've been real close since day one," he said with a smile. "This is going to be (memorable)."

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