Buccaneers.com users asked John Lynch to look back over his illustrious career
John Lynch, two-time Pro Bowl safety for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, sat down with Buccaneers.com on Friday, September 15 to engage in an interview constructed by Buccaneer fans. As part of the popular 'Your Turn' series, Lynch answered questions that were sent in on this site by the team's fans, and the first half of that interview was posted later that day.
Two days later, Lynch stepped onto the turf in the Pontiac Silverdome and helped the Bucs break the Lions' backs with a dominating 31-10 road win. Lynch effectively sealed the victory in the fourth quarter with his first interception of the season and the 13th of his illustrious career. It was another brilliant moment for a man whose career has become increasingly defined by big plays at key moments.
In the second half of his 'Your Turn' interview, Lynch discussed what he considers his most memorable plays ever. He also handed out some advice to a worried high school player and gave kudos to his position coach, Herman Edwards.
To watch that interview on video, please click here. What follows is a full written transcript of the proceedings.
Moderator: Welcome back to the second half of the Your Turn interview with John Lynch, all-pro safety for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
We've covered a lot of great topics so far, including some of the best quarterbacks you've played against, but we've got some great stuff to get to, so let's dive right back in.
Matthew from St. Petersburg, Florida: What advice would you give to a high school football player after his team has lost a crucial game? What more can I say to our team other than "It was last week, it's in the past. It's not the end of our season?" This is my senior season, and we will not go down again.
John Lynch: Well, I like your attitude. I think what you can do, the main thing, is go out and lead by example. That's one thing we do so well around here. You have to practice, and you have to practice hard and you have to practice effectively and efficiently in order to play well on Sunday. For you, it would be Friday nights, I guess.
So, I would encourage you to go lead by example. Don't save yourself in practice. Go make yourself a better player every play, every single practice, and I think that will rub off on your teammates. And if they're not doing it, then maybe it's time to talk to them all. But I wish you the best of luck and it sounds like you're on the right track with your attitude. Best of luck to you.
Mark from Palm Harbor, Florida: Since Herman Edwards has been here with Tony Dungy, it seems like just about everyone they've drafted or picked up in the secondary has very quickly developed. To name a few, you, Ronde Barber, Damien Robinson, Donnie Abraham, and Brian Kelly just get better and better, not to mention Dexter Jackson, Floyd Young, and Shevin Smith, who would probably start for several other teams, plus David Gibson who looks like he's going to be a good one too.
My question is: Do Dungy and Edwards have a terrific eye for talent that would develop anywhere, or are they doing a great job of developing the talent they get?
John Lynch: That is a very astute question, and I think you've hit it right on the head. I think it's a combination of both. They're both great talent evaluators; Herm, prior to being with the Bucs, was in the scouting department with the Chiefs, so he got to look at a lot of football players. He was a player himself, and I think he's just got a knack for picking the type of guys that will not only succeed in the NFL but will succeed in this system.
And then, second of all, he's one of the finest teachers – or not one of the finest, he's the finest teacher – of football players that I've been around. He's just a treat for any player to play for, and I think players that have the opportunity…you see it. We've got a guy, Anthony Midget, who just came on the practice squad from Atlanta. A player that had played here before told him, if you have the opportunity, which sometimes these practice squad players do, go to Tampa. Whether that's going to be the place you end up playing or not, go there because you'll learn more in the time that you're there than you will anywhere else.
Jennifer from Tampa, Florida: It is great to see you and your wife, as well as other Buccaneer players take an active roll in the community. What exactly is your foundation set up or (youth groups, hospitals?) and how would you find out more information to assist or donate to your fund?
John Lynch: I appreciate that. Giving back to the community is something we're passionate about doing. The community in Tampa has been very good to us, and I think we just try to do what we can.
Our emphasis is on youth. One of our programs is the 'Salute the Stars' program, where we recognize and reward student-athletes for their work in the classroom and on the field and in community service. Ones that have shown exceptional effort, as part of that, we do 'Star of the Month' where we recognize middle school and high school athletes here in Hillsborough. That's been a great program. At the end of the year, we have the 'Salute the Stars' banquet where we hand out the 'Star of the Year' for those of the 'Stars of the Month' that have distinguished themselves the most.
We also give scholarships, the Lynch Legacy scholarships, for kids who have exhibited these talents on and off the field, who have shown that they've maybe faced some hardship and battled through it. They want the opportunity to continue in college and otherwise might not without a little assistance.
We're very active in the Boys & Girls Club. I grew up in a Boys & Girls Club and I'm a great believer in what they do for kids, the positive influence they have on kids. We're just starting our foundation, so those are the programs we have. It's a youth-driven foundation.
For more information, you can call our foundation office at (813) 223-4447.
Another program that we're going to be introducing here soon is Tackles for Tampa Bay. Tackles for Tampa Bay is going to be a performance-based program where Linda and I are going to pledge (funds) for sacks, interceptions, tackles and every Buccaneer win. We're going to pledge so much money, and we're challenging corporations to get involved there. We're also going to have pledge cards for individuals, on which they can pledge what they see fit. I think it's a great cause, and we're certainly passionate about seeing it through and we'd appreciate any help.
Bobby from Grand Rapids, Michigan: I was just wondering how you would rate my cousin Mike Alstott as a person and as a team member.
John Lynch: Ooh. He's a great guy and a great teammate. Mike's a fun guy to be around and he's obviously a pleasure to watch. We were joking around at the press conference when I announced re-signing. People asked why I didn't want to test the free agent market, and I said the biggest reason was probably that I didn't want to try to tackle Mike Alstott. He's a great player, but he's a good guy and a good friend of mine.
Louis from Tampa, Florida: When the team was in the playoffs, and you lost to St. Louis, how did you cope with the feeling of being so close?
John Lynch: It was a bad, bad feeling that sat with you the entire offseason. I had a feeling that it wouldn't leave us until we were able to get back on the field, and that was the case. I think what you try to do with that, though, is turn it into some sort of positive energy. The way we did that was by using it as motivation, to know what a great feeling it was getting that far, playing in the NFC Championship Game, the atmosphere involved with it, knowing we were that close to it and how bad it hurt. That sat with us the entire offseason. I think our entire team used that as motivation to get back to that point and try to take it one step further.
Mike from Tampa, Florida: John, you appear to be such a mild, easy-going person off the field. How do you get yourself geared up to be the big hitter you are on the field?
John Lynch: That's a question that a lot of people ask, and there are a lot of guys on this team that are like that. Derrick Brooks is the same way, a pretty mellow guy who gets on the field and he's vicious. It's just the game we play, and it's just an attitude that we take onto the field. And we do it every time.
I don't practice like that. I'm not out here trying to kill my teammates, but you get on the field and I think the competitor in you just comes out. That's the way I play and that's the way I have to play to be successful, and I enjoy doing it.
Dan from Orlando, Florida: Do you tape the games on your VCR and then go back and watch them like a fan would? Like the Redskin playoff game?
John Lynch: I do. Our video guys get the tv copies, but I don't go back and watch them. I have them all in storage at home and it will be nice to have for my kids someday, and probably for me when I'm done and I want to go back and take a look. As for right now, I know a lot of guys do, and I know Monte Kiffin spent the whole offseason doing that, but I haven't done it as of yet.
Kelly from Sarasota, Florida: The Bucs play "D" with such intensity, will they be able to keep it up all year long?
John Lynch: I think so. That's a good point. A lot of teams can have little stretches of brilliance. When we look at what we did at the end of last year and how we've started out this year, it's certainly special and clearly better than anyone else. We've played good defense around here for a long time, but the key is that this is a marathon and not a sprint. We've got to continue. That's the great thing about the NFL…you're challenged every week and you can't rest on what you did last week. This week will be a test, and the week after that will be a test, and so on and so forth. You've got to go out there every week and play your best stuff are you aren't going to have success.
Rich from Edmonton, Canada: What do you do to prepare yourself before games? What is your pregame routine?
John Lynch: Right before games, generally – it differs a little if you're on the road or at home – but, generally you get over there two-and-a-half hours before the game, plus or minus two minutes. For me, I go through a stretch routine that I do. At that point, you're just getting really focused in your mind, visualizing playing the game, visualizing plays that you think they might try to attack you with. You get yourself physically ready by getting loose, stretching.
The team keeps a basic routine that we do week in and week out. Then you strap it on and you play.
Pete from Knoxville, Tennessee: John, what is your most memorable play/hit in any of the games you've played?
John Lynch: I think the most memorable play is the one you mentioned, the interception against Washington, which kind of started to turn the tide in that game. Any time you can make a big play in a big game that helps your team win, that's special. It was playoff football, and it was a neat moment.
As far as my favorite hit, there's any number that stand out, but I think the one that stands out the most was in '96, our last game in the Big Sombrero. Was the last game in the Sombrero against Detroit in the playoffs? '97?
'97 in the playoffs against Detroit. Barry Sanders had kind of been my nemesis throughout my career, and we'd not had a lot of success playing him. He's such a hard guy to get a hit on…thank God he's not playing any more! He was always so hard, you could never get a hit on him. Not only did he elude you, but whenever you thought you had a good shot, he'd turn his body at the last second. He just never allowed anyone to get a good hit on him.
I had a situation where I kind of had players on both sides and I really went in and gave him a good lick. That was kind of vindication for a lot of times in which he had gotten us. So that's a hit that stands out in my mind. I had the opportunity to play in the Pro Bowl that year with Barry, and he let me know that that was the best he'd ever been hit. To have a guy like that to tell you that, that's fun, that's something that sticks in my mind.
Moderator: I think that's memorable for all of us, because, as you said, you just never saw Barry take a direct hit.
Well, that's all the questions, John. It was really nice of you to spend this time with us and give us such insightful answers.
John Lynch: I enjoyed it. Thank you.