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Cassius Marsh explains how Magic: The Gathering sharpens his mind


SAN JOSE — 49ers defensive end Cassius Marsh sat down with us to talk Magic: The Gathering, martial arts, and his new family member on the way.

Marsh was traded to the 49ers mid-last season from the Patriots, a team he was not very fond of. With the Patriots, Marsh posted 16 tackles, a sack, and a forced fumble. During his time with the Niners, he has collected 48 tackles, 7.5 sacks, and two forced fumbles.

Marsh has becomes recognized across the NFL for his trademark Taekwondo moves, where he throws a roundhouse kick into a jump spinning roundhouse. Marsh, however, says that the celebration just came to him one day and that he hadn’t practiced Korean martial arts since he was a child.

“I haven’t done Taekwondo since I was 13,” Marsh said, though he says the training has stayed with him. “I did it for seven years, so it’s kind of like riding a bike, so I can still do all the kicks and stuff.”

Check out his moves for yourself.

Marsh isn’t just an athlete. He’s also a nerd. He plays Magic: The Gathering, a trading card game by Wizards of the Cost, which was also responsible for the incredibly popular Pokemon trading card game. Magic: The Gathering is considered the most popular trading card game of all-time with a user base of 20 million players. But it isn’t cheap. One of the game’s rarest cards sold last year for a whopping $87,672. Marsh admits the hobby is expensive, but he’s is more interested in the mental challenge the game provides.

“I’ve been playing since I was 11 years old, so I love it,” Marsh said. “It’s something I’m very passionate about off the field. It’s a big-time mental game, so for me, off the field, it helps me escape after a long day at work, just get into my little nerdy world. It’s definitely helped me develop mentally. I don’t know how that’s translated to football, but it’s extremely challenging mentally.”

Marsh’s love for the game has taken him all over the world, as he’s competed in tournaments and regularly attended Magic: The Gather conventions. The offseason provides Marsh ample time to attend these events, including the Magic Gran Prix in Prague, which took place this past weekend.

“[At the event], they have several different tournaments, each day has different events,” Marsh said. “They do tournaments for rewards. They do drafts. It’s a lot like the [NFL] draft in some ways. You can come up on someone you really thought wasn’t going to be there, so it’s really cool. There’s so much that goes into the game.”

Former Seahawks teammate Doug Baldwin used to play with Marsh, though he admits there are not many other NFL players who share the same passion. That hasn’t stopped Marsh from trying to convert teammates, however. He says he’s tried to convince current teammates Dekoda Watson and Joe Staley to give it a try.

Marsh further defines himself with his large collection of tattoos, many of which tell stories of his heritage and personal beliefs. In a Facebook post, Marsh told the story of how his back piece tells the story of who he is, describing in detail how it represents his and his family’s story.

Tattoos of the NFL | Cassius Marsh, defensive end, Seattle. A polar bear head, surrounded by native American symbols and…

Posted by The MMQB on Thursday, August 3, 2017

Marsh also took the moment to announce that his girlfriend is pregnant with a baby boy, who is due in March. He expects this to take up the majority of his time this offseason. Upon returning from Prague, he says he plans to take his girlfriend on a proper babymoon, a vacation for them to relax before their baby is born.

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