If you want to visit John Lynch in the Hall of Fame it won’t be in Canton, Ohio, but rather Cooperstown, NY. It won’t be a bronze bust you’re going to see but rather the Minor League jersey he wore when he threw the first pitch in Florida Marlins history. Drafted as a right-handed pitcher in the 2nd round (66th overall), Lynch was so close to pursuing a career in baseball that it wasn’t until he got a call from incoming head coach Bill Walsh that he finally decided to stay at Stanford for his senior season.
In 1993 the Buccaneers drafted Lynch in the 3rd round (82nd overall). Lynch played for eleven years as a Buccaneer, not only becoming an all-time fan favorite but also coming to be known as the backside leader of the original “Tampa 2.” Opposing receivers, tight ends, and running backs would be sure to account for the location of #47, and nobody was safe. Leaving Tampa Bay as a free agent in 2003, John played for the Denver Broncos for the next four years.
After a cup of coffee with the Patriots at the beginning of the 2008 season, Lynch announced his retirement from football and six days later joined NFL on Fox in the broadcast booth. Then, working as an analyst for Fox and having never worked a day in an NFL personnel department, Lynch interviewed for and got the position of 49er’s GM. The jury is still out on his performance running the 49er’s franchise, but early returns are polling positive.
As for that Hall of Fame talk. In case you rushed online and purchased tickets to Canton based on the opening sentence of this article, just hold on to that ticket a little longer. That bronze bust will be there someday.
Sources: ESPN.com, Wikipedia, Pro Football Reference