For the fourth year in a row, John Lynch is a finalist for the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
On Tuesday, then 15 finalist for the Hall's Class of 2017 were announced, as they were culled from a list of 26 semifinalists. Lynch is once again one step away from induction, and he has a very strong case to make the final cut this year.
The best photos of safety John Lynch.
This year's candidates for enshrinement were revealed on a Gold Jackets Finalists special on NFL Network on Tuesday evening. Lynch, who was voted into nine Pro Bowls and won a Super Bowl ring with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2002, could be the fourth former Buccaneer to enter the Hall since 2013. Defensive tackle Warren Sapp got his gold jacket that year, followed by linebacker Derrick Brooks in 2014 and Head Coach Tony Dungy in 2016.
No player on the current ballot has been a finalist for more consecutive years than Lynch, who first made that cut in 2014.
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Lynch was instrumental in reshaping a stagnant franchise into a championship-caliber powerhouse in the 1990s and early 2000s, an era that culminated in the team's victory in Super Bowl XXXVII. Lynch won a Super Bowl ring with that 2002 team and later played four more Pro Bowl seasons with the Denver Broncos.
While most Hall of Fame classes contain one or two first-ballot shoe-ins, many Canton hopefuls have to wait several years due to the limit of five modern-era inductees per year. This could be the right year for Lynch, as was the case last year for Dungy. Of the 15 modern-era players who were finalists in 2014, Lynch's first year, only two have yet to be inducted: Lynch and kicker Morten Andersen.
Lynch was drafted by the Buccaneers in the third round in 1993 and he went on to play 15 NFL seasons, 11 of them in Tampa. He was selected to nine Pro Bowls, including four during his final four seasons with the Denver Broncos, and is best known as one of the most feared hitters in the history of the NFL. In addition to 24 interceptions and 13 sacks, Lynch logged nine seasons of at least 90 tackles. He was a three-time first-team All-Pro selection and a starter on the Buccaneers' 2002 Super Bowl championship team.