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John Lynch | Ring of Honor | Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Ring of Honor

John Lynch

John Lynch

As one of the most feared safeties of his generation and one of the most impactful figures in Buccaneers history, it was only a matter of time before John Lynch was enshrined in the team's Ring of Honor. Indeed, the elite defender was granted the honor in 2016, and was formally inducted in a halftime ceremony on November 3, 2016 as Tampa Bay faces the Atlanta Falcons on Thursday Night Football.

Lynch came to the Buccaneers as third-round selection (82nd overall) in the 1993 NFL Draft and, upon arriving in Tampa Bay, he joined a team in the midst of some mighty struggles. Despite four consecutive losing seasons to start his career, Lynch, along with teammates and fellow Ring of Honor members Derrick Brooks and Warren Sapp, helped form the foundation that would turn the franchise around.

Lynch dedicated himself to his craft, and his hard work paid off. The defensive back played 15 seasons in the NFL, starting 191 of 224 games for Tampa Bay (1993- 2003) and the Denver Broncos (2004-07). He finished his career with 1,277 tackles, 100 passes defensed, 26 interceptions, 16 forced fumbles, 13.0 sacks and eight fumble recoveries. He also started all 1 postseason contests in which he appeared, tallying 71 tackles, 12 passes defensed and two interceptions.

A captain on the Buccaneers' Super Bowl Championship team in 2002, Lynch's name is still prominent in the team's record book. He ranks fifth in games played (164), sixth in games started (132), fifth in tackles (973) and sixth in interceptions (23). He was selected to five Pro Bowls as a Buccaneer and four as a Bronco, and his nine total appearances in the all star game are tied for second-most in league history amongst career safeties.

Beyond simply his raw numbers, Lynch was consistently recognized as one of the most cerebral players on the field at any given time. Monte Kiffin nicknamed Lynch "The Closer," after noting the defensive back's penchant for late-game heroics – including an interception that sparked a comeback in the 1999 NFC Divisional Playoff Game against Washington and the pick that sealed Tampa Bay's 38-35 win over St. Louis in a 2000 Monday Night Football contest.

In fact, of his 26 career interceptions, 14 were secured in the fourth quarter and 11 of the 14 came when his team was either up or down by seven points or less. Lynch's talent for securing takeaways at such crucial moments ensured that 21 of his 26 picks helped his team win games.

Lynch made an impact off the field as well. He and his wife Linda formed the John Lynch Foundation in 2000, with a mission to develop quality young leaders through its community initiatives, including the Star of the Month, Lynch Family Legacy Scholarships, Salute the Stars and Lynch's Holiday Party. During his career, Lynch received numerous accolades for his work outside the game, being named a threetime Buccaneers Man of the Year, earning the Byron "Whizzer" White Award in 2006 and the Bart Starr award in 2005, being selected by teammates as the Ed Block Courage Award recipient in 2001 and twice finishing as a finalist for the Walter Payton Man of the Year award, along with numerous other achievements.

Lynch currently serves as the general manager of the San Francisco 49ers, helping guide the team to an NFC Championship in 2019. He has also been a semifinalist for the Pro Football Hall of Fame for seven consecutive years.