Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Hard-Hitting Questions

In the return of ‘Your Turn’, Pro Bowl S John Lynch discusses his trademark tackles, and much more


S John Lynch told Buccaneers.com users that he believes he has become more of a complete player in recent seasons

When Buccaneers.com users learned that John Lynch, the Tampa Bay Buccaneer safety that hits like a falling anvil, would be the next guest on 'Your Turn', they flooded the site with questions.

Your Turn pairs a prominent Buccaneer player or representative with a list of questions submitted directly by Tampa Bay fans around the nation. Over 1,300 questions were sent in over just a few days, of which a representative sample of 20 were chosen for Lynch's interview.

Still, Lynch could answer about half of those submitted questions with one word: 'leverage.'

What do we mean by that? Read on. The following text is a full transcript of Lynch's interview. Or click here. That will launch a video of the interview, which includes the user's name and hometown with each question that is used.

Your Turn with John Lynch, Part One.

Moderator: It is Friday, September 15, 2000 and we're joined today by all-pro safety John Lynch of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. John, like the rest of the team, is in the middle of preparations a first-place showdown already this Sunday in Detroit. So thanks for taking some time out from that today.

John Lynch: Thank you. It's good to be with you.

Moderator: As you know, John Lynch is the latest of our core players to sign a long-term contract to stay with our team, and he really needs very little introduction to Buccaneer fans. Two-time Pro Bowler, three straight 100-tackle seasons and, by many accounts, the hardest hitter in the National Football League.

We received over 1,300 questions for you, John, so this could take a while!

John Lynch: Really? It's nice to know there's that many fans out there.

Moderator: Just kidding, of course. We've culled it down to about 20 questions and a representative sample of what the fans wanted to know. So if you're ready, we'll dive right in.

John Lynch: Alright, let's do it.

Jon from Lincoln, Nebraska: You are one of the few hard-hitting safeties left in the game. Why have so many teams gone away from having a heavy hitter in the secondary?

John Lynch: I appreciate the compliment, but I don't know if that's necessarily the case. If you look within our own division, the safety we play this week, Ron Rice, is a big hitter. I could name a bunch, but I think they're still there. I know that when I first came into the league, the remnants of the run-and-shoot were still around and, basically, they were having cornerbacks play safety as teams shifted.

The need for big safeties that could also do other things came in vogue, and this whole league is kind of cyclical. Now teams like Chicago and New England that we saw in the first two weeks are teams that spread you out. So I think that the safeties that have the ability to do both are the ones that thrive in today's game.

Jennifer from Oneonta, NY: John, you are my favorite Buc! Was there any doubt in your mind that the Bucs would extend your contract?

John Lynch: First of all – Oneonta, New York. I played some minor league baseball there. The Yankees team's up there in the New York-Penn League. But the question was about my contract? It wasn't a doubt whether they were going to make the effort. I've never been a free agent in my career, taken it actually up to free agency. Prior to this, I had done a contract that I had extended the year before. There was a side of me that said, 'Let's go see what you can do.'

Free agency in this business today is how you go and test the waters and see what your market will bring. A side of me thought that that might be intriguing, but really, we have a good thing here. I enjoy playing here. I think that they felt it was a good fit. In the end, I thought we'd be able to get something done. Even if we had not gotten it done prior to the season – as it was it went a week into the season – at the end of the year, that didn't mean that I would have definitely left. It would have meant that I had the opportunity to as a free agent, but I would have given the Bucs the first opportunity to re-sign me. And I was pretty confident all along that it would happen.

Moderator: I think we're all glad that it got done on Monday, and if anybody would be interested to see what you said that day, that video is available on Buccaneers.com.

John Lynch: Yeah, that's a neat deal. I know a lot of my friends and family are enjoying the web site. It gives them a little more access to what we're doing out here.

Chris from Scotia, New York: Was there any particular weight-training exercise that you did to help hit like a ton of bricks or is it all coming from your will, desire and heart?

John Lynch: I think the answer to that is that it's a combination. But what I try to do in my weight training is…too many people these days just focus on trying to look good, lifting weights in order to do that. Often times you're seeing athletes become bound up. I work with a trainer in San Diego, Pete Egoscue, with a number of NFL players. He's an ex-Marine, so he's got us doing everything. We go through obstacle courses.

The bottom line is, you've got to be able to put your body in position. There used to be, and there still is, an adage in football that the low man wins. The same applies to hitting. You have to be able to give yourself the leverage. If you can get up and other people…so, I'm constantly in the offseason, whether it be logs or fence posts, we're going under those and exploding. Other than that, I do the basic lifting that everyone does. But functional training is what I do.

Bill from Tampa, Florida: During last Sundays game the announcers commented on you taking a little off your hitting and playing more heads up. Do you feel that you aren't hitting as hard as the last previous years, are you easing up on the velocity of your trademark hits, or were these guys just running out of things to say on such a lopsided game?

John Lynch: I don't think they're running out of things to say. I think what they're trying to allude to is that, when I first came into the league and in college, I always went for the big hit. What I've learned now, and Herm Edwards has been very instrumental in this, is that there's a time and place to still come up and pack the punch and really go for the big hit. And then there's the time to make the good, sure tackle. Not that you have to sacrifice anything to make a good, sure tackle, but there's times when you can go for that hit and not wrap up and worry about those things. But ninety percent of the time, you're job is to get the guy down.

I don't come with any less gusto. I think you still see the big wallops, but I think I've become much more of a sure tackler.

Lisa from Athens, Georgia: I teach 7th grade in Ga. and my students are some of your biggest fans, perhaps because I come from Tampa Bay....they would like to know if you have any words of encouragement for them on how to be a success?

John Lynch: I would say it always goes back to the basic values. I think the neat thing about athletics is that you can apply (their values) to life and vice versa. They go back to the same things: working hard, believing in yourself, having confidence in yourself, not letting anyone tell you that you can't do something. If you set your mind to something…I'm a huge believer in that. My parents always instilled that in me, that if you set your mind to something, work hard enough and focus, the sky's the limit.

I would just tell them to do all those things and, obviously, work hard in school. Even for athletes, it's the first thing you tell them if that's all there interested in. When you're in it sometimes, that's all you can see. In order to give yourself the best opportunities, by doing well in school you're going to open up all kinds of doors for yourself. And challenge yourself. Challenge your mind and you can do great things.

Roland from Sanibel Island, Florida: John, I know your hometown is San Diego. Do you ever have any desire to play for the Chargers? And what do you think is the biggest difference in Southern Cal life as opposed to living on the Gulf Coast of Florida?

John Lynch: That's easy. The summer months, the heat. Tampa's a beautiful spot, but San Diego probably has a climate second to none. They're both places I've grown to love. We'll probably, at the end of my career, head back to San Diego and probably still split time. The fact is our family's out there and that's more than anything why we do go back to San Diego. Our families, both my wife's and mine, still live out there, and we don't want our kids to miss out on that. But they're both actually very similar, both coastal communities. They have a lot of similarities, other than the heat and humidity.

David from Land O' Lakes, Florida: How do you plan to keep up the same intensity of play for the next 6 years?

John Lynch: I don't think that will be a problem. That's something that just…when you lose that it's time to hang it up. I don't see myself losing that in the next six years. I think I've got enough teammates here that if I ever do would slap me in the head. I just don't think that's my nature. I'll always bring that to the game. Like I said, as soon as that ever starts to wane, which I don't think it will, it's time to hang 'em up.

Moderator: In fact, you're ready to sign another contract after this one.

John Lynch: Absolutely. Rich (McKay) was saying that this contract will secure you as a Buccaneer for life and I told him he's going to need one more contract to do that. I plan on playing for awhile.

Mo from Tampa, Florida: You hit so hard. I know the other guy really feels it, but how sore are you the morning after a game?

John Lynch: Ah, it depends. Some weeks you're sore when you get a little nicked, but generally I think if you're playing in the NFL and you're playing hard, you're going to be sore. But hopefully the other guy's a little more sore than you.

Mario from New York, New York: This week, your opponents Herman Moore, Germane Crowell and Johnnie Morton have a significant height advantage. How will you prepare to compensate for this?

John Lynch: Our corners play against big receivers week in and week out. We play against great receivers week in and week out. Those are three great players, but we feel like our corners do a good job matching up against anyone. We don't do anything different when we're playing tall receivers. The thing you have to do against good receivers is attack the football. Good receivers go up and get it, and these are three guys that run good routes and go get the ball, so we've just got to be aggressive and continue to do what we're doing. And when the ball's up in the air, we've got to go attack it.

Freak (Larry) from Los Angeles, California: John, congrats on a much deserved bonus and contract extension. I would like to know which NFL QB has been the hardest to read as far as their eyes not locking onto their receivers and also which QB is the smartest at audiblizing at the line of scrimmage? In other words, who are the really shrewd QBs in the NFL?

John Lynch: When you speak of the toughest to read with their eyes that I've played against, I think that was my first game here. I had the opportunity as a Buc back in '93, the first game, to line up against the Chiefs and Joe Montana as the quarterback.

Most quarterbacks in this league – and the offenses are set this way, it's not that they're not doing a good job – what they're doing is not reading a particular player but reading a side of the field. That's just the way the West Coast offense runs and it's pretty much what all offenses are predicated on. You read your progressions, one, two, three, but they're all on the same side of the field. Montana had that unbelievable ability to see that one, two and three but also to see the other side of the field. It was something uncanny and it was an experience playing against him.

Brett Favre does a great job of (audiblizing). We play against him twice a year and he has a good feel for us. We've got a good feel for their offense, but he's always done a very good job of putting them in great positions to make plays.

Moderator: That concludes the first half of our Your Turn interview, John. Thanks for some great stuff. If you'll stick around, we'll come back and answer the rest and put the video up in a few days.

John Lynch: Alright.

Moderator: That's great, because we still have a lot of good questions to get to, including your most memorable hit ever. Thanks again, John.

NOTE: The second half of John Lynch's Your Turn interview will be posted on Buccaneers.com on Tuesday after the Buccaneers return from Detroit.

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