|Intro||American football strong safety|
|Is||Athlete Baseball player American football player|
|From||United States of America|
|Birth||25 September 1971, Hinsdale, Chicago metropolitan area, Illinois, USA|
John Terrence Lynch Jr. (born September 25, 1971) is an American football executive and former strong safety who is the current general manager of the San Francisco 49ers of the National Football League (NFL). He played college football at Stanford University, and was drafted by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the third round of the 1993 NFL Draft.
A nine-time Pro Bowl selection, Lynch earned a Super Bowl ring with the Buccaneers in Super Bowl XXXVII. He also spent four seasons with the Denver Broncos before retiring in 2008. After the end of his playing career, Lynch worked in the broadcasting booth as a color commentator for NFL on Fox games, and remained doing so until his hiring as the general manager of the 49ers in 2017.
Lynch was born in Hinsdale, Illinois. He attended Torrey Pines High School in the Carmel Valley/Del Mar area of San Diego, California, where he played football, baseball and basketball.
Lynch starred in baseball and football at Stanford University. He played football under head coach Dennis Green and played his senior season under Bill Walsh. Lynch began his football career at Stanford as a backup quarterback, but transitioned to safety before his junior season. Lynch planned on pursuing baseball after he was drafted by the Florida Marlins and head coach Dennis Green accepted the head coaching position with the Minnesota Vikings in 1992. Bill Walsh was hired as Stanford's new head coach and called Lynch in order to convince him to return for his senior season.
Lynch was drafted as a right-handed pitcher by the Florida Marlins in the second round (66th overall) of the 1992 Major League Baseball draft. He threw the first pitch in the organization's history as a member of the Erie Sailors; thus, his jersey with the Sailors is in the Baseball Hall of Fame. He played two seasons in the minor leagues with the Sailors and the Kane County Cougars, starting nine games and going 1–3 with a 2.35 earned run average.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers selected Lynch in the third round (82nd pick overall) of the 1993 NFL Draft. Lynch was the sixth safety drafted in 1993.
On May 15, 1993, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers signed Lynch to a two-year, $526,750 contract.
Lynch began his rookie season as a special teams player. He made his professional regular season debut and first career start in the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ season-opener against the Kansas City Chiefs and recorded one tackle during their 27–3 loss. On November 14, 1993, Lynch earned his third start of the season, replacing Marty Carter at strong safety. Lynch recorded a season-high six combined tackles during a 45–21 loss against the San Francisco 49ers in Week 11. He was demoted back to behind the backup strong safety after Week 12. He finished his rookie season in 1993 with ten combined tackles and two forced fumbles in 15 games and four starts.
Lynch remained as a backup strong safety under head coach Sam Wyche in 1994. In Week 11, Lynch collected a season-high four combined tackles in the Buccaneers’ 14–9 loss at the Detroit Lions. He finished the 1994 NFL season with 16 combined tackles in 16 games and zero starts.
Throughout training camp in 1995, Lynch competed against Barney Bussey to be the starting strong safety after it was left vacant by the departure of Marty Carter. Head coach Sam Wyche named Lynch the backup strong safety behind Barney Bussey to begin the regular season. On October 8, 1995, Lynch recorded two combined tackles and made his first career interception during the Buccaneers’ 19–16 win against the Cincinnati Bengals in Week 6. Lynch made his first career interception off a pass attempt by Bengals’ quarterback Jeff Blake, that was intended for wide receiver Darnay Scott, in the fourth quarter. On October 15, 1995, Lynch earned the job as the starting strong safety and had his breakout performance during a 20–17 victory against the Minnesota Vikings in Week 7. Lynch collected a season-high 11 combined tackles (six solo), deflected two passes, and made two interceptions off pass attempts by Vikings’ quarterback Warren Moon. Lynch attributes his performance to knowing Vikings’ head coach Dennis Green's impulses from playing under him at Stanford and studying Warren Moon's tendencies. Lynch remained the starting strong safety for the remainder of the season, but was inactive for three games (Weeks 12–14) due to an injury. On December 27, 1995, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers announced their decision to fire head coach Sam Wyche after they finished with a 7–9 record in 1995. Lynch finished the 1995 NFL season with 38 combined tackles and three interceptions in nine games and six starts.
On January 23, 1996, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers named Minnesota Vikings’ defensive coordinator Tony Dungy their new head coach. Head coach Tony Dungy and defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin devised a Cover 2 defense that became known as the Tampa 2. Throughout training camp, Lynch competed against Todd Scott to retain his role as the starting strong safety. Lynch was sidelined for the first two preseason games due to a rib injury. Head coach Tony Dungy named Lynch the backup strong safety, behind Todd Scott, to begin the regular season.
On September 8, 1996, Todd Scott tore his Achilles tendon and was sidelined for the remainder of the season. Lynch subsequently became the starting strong safety and played alongside Melvin Johnson. In Week 8, he collected five combined tackles and made his first career sack in the Buccaneers’ 13–9 loss at the Arizona Cardinals. Lynch made his first career sack on Cardinals’ quarterback Kent Graham for a five-yard loss in the fourth quarter. On October 27, 1996, Lynch recorded eight combined tackles and intercepted a pass by Packers’ quarterback Brett Favre during a 13–7 loss at the Green Bay Packers in Week 9. On November 24, 1996, Lynch recorded four combined tackles, forced a fumble, and made an interception during a 13–7 victory against the New Orleans Saints in Week 13. Lynch intercepted a pass by Saints’ quarterback Jim Everett to seal the Buccaneers’ win with 4:45 remaining. This became Lynch's second consecutive game with a fourth quarter interception to seal the Buccaneers’ victory. Lynch completed the 1996 NFL season with 100 combined tackles, three interceptions, two forced fumbles, and one sack in 16 games and 14 starts.
On September 5, 1997, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers signed Lynch to a four-year, $6.8 million contract. Head coach Tony Dungy retained Lynch as the starting strong safety to begin the regular season. He began the season starting alongside free safety Melvin Johnson. On September 19, 1997, Lynch was received a $7,500 fine from the league for an illegal hit on Minnesota Vikings’ wide receiver Chris Walsh while he was out of bounds. This became his second fine in the first three games as he also received a $5,000 fine for an illegal hit on 49ers’ running back William Floyd during the season-opener. In Week 9, he collected a season-high 13 combined tackles as the Buccaneers lost 10–6 against the Minnesota Vikings. He started in all 16 games in 1997 and recorded 110 combined tackles, two interceptions, and forced a fumble. Lynch was named to the 1998 Pro Bowl, marking the first Pro Bowl selection in the first five years of his career.
–Warren Sapp (1997)
(Regarding John Lynch as a teammate)
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers finished second in the NFC Central with a 10–6 record and earned a wildcard berth. On December 28, 1997, Lynch started in his first career playoff game and recorded eight combined tackles as the Buccaneers defeated the Detroit Lions 20–10 in the NFC Wildcard Game. The following week, he made three combined tackles during the Buccaneers’ 21–7 loss at the Green Bay Packers in the NFC Divisional Round.
In 1998, Lynch started alongside free safety Charles Mincy and cornerbacks Ronde Barber and Donnie Abraham. In Week 5, he collected a season-high 13 combined tackles during a 20–3 victory against the New York Giants. Lynch was inactive for the Buccaneers’ Week 10 loss to the Tennessee Oilers due to a neck injury. On December 13, 1998, Lynch recorded three combined tackles and made two interceptions as the Buccaneers’ defeated the Pittsburgh Steelers 16–3. Lynch made both interceptions off of pass attempts by Steelers’ quarterback Kordell Stewart. In Week 16, Lynch made six combined tackles, a season-high two sacks, and forced a fumble during a 20–16 loss at the Washington Redskins. Lynch sacked Redskins’ quarterback Trent Green for a 14-yard loss and forced a fumble that was recovered by teammate Steve White in the first quarter. Lynch complete the 1998 NFL season with 85 combined tackles, two interceptions, two sacks, and a forced fumble in 15 games and 15 starts.
Lynch returned as the starter and played alongside free safety Damien Robinson in 1999. In Week 10, Lynch collected a season-high 12 combined tackles and forced a fumble during a season debut 17–10 win against the Kansas City Chiefs. Lynch started in all 16 games in 1997 and recorded 116 combined tackles, two interceptions, forced a fumble, and was credited with half a sack. Lynch was named first-team A.P. All-Pro and was also selected to play in the 2000 Pro Bowl.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers finished first in the NFC Central Division with an 11–5 record and earned a first round bye. On January 15, 2000, Lynch recorded eight combined tackles and intercepted a pass by Redskins’ quarterback Brad Johnson during a 14–13 victory against the 1999 Washington Redskins in the NFC Divisional Round. The following week, Lynch recorded three tackles as the Buccaneers lost 11–6 at the St. Louis Rams in the NFC Championship Game.
On September 11, 2000, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers signed Lynch to a six-year, $24 million contract extension that included $5.6 million guaranteed. Head coach Tony Dungy retained the starting secondary from the previous season, including safeties Lynch and Damien Robinson and cornerbacks Ronde Barber and Donnie Abraham. In Week 6, he collected a season-high ten combined tackles during a 30–23 loss at the Minnesota Vikings. Lynch started in all 16 games in 2000 and recorded 94 combined tackles, three interceptions, and one sack.
Head coach Tony Dungy named Lynch the starting strong safety to begin the sixth consecutive season. He started alongside free safety Dexter Jackson in 2001. In Week 5, he collected a season-high 12 combined tackles (nine solo) during a 31–28 loss at the Tennessee Titans. He started in all 16 games in 2001 and recorded 87 combined tackles (62 solo), four pass deflections, three interceptions, and one sack. On January 2, 2002, it was announced that Lynch was selected to play in the 2002 Pro Bowl.
On January 14, 2002, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers fired head coach Tony Dungy after they finished third in the NFC Central with a 9–7 record and lost to the Eagles for the 2nd straight year the playoffs. New head coach Jon Gruden retained defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin and defensive backs coach Mike Tomlin. He also retained Lynch and Dexter Jackson as the starting safeties alongside cornerbacks Ronde Barber and Brian Kelly.
In a Week 7, he collected a season-high eight combined tackles during a 20–10 loss at the Philadelphia Eagles. On October 27, 2002, Lynch recorded three combined tackles, deflected three passes, and made two interceptions in the Buccaneers’ 12–9 win at the Carolina Panthers in Week 8. Lynch intercepted both passes off Panthers’ quarterback Randy Fasani. He finished the season with 64 combined tackles (41 solo), five pass deflections, and three interceptions in 15 games and 15 starts. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers finished first in the NFC South with a 12–4 record and earned a first round bye. The Buccaneers defeated the San Francisco 49ers 31–6 in the NFC Divisional Round. On January 19, 2003, Lynch recorded six solo tackles and broke up a pass during the Buccaneers’ 27–10 win at the Philadelphia Eagles in the NFC Championship Game. On January 26, 2003, Lynch started in Super Bowl XXXVII and made one tackle and one pass deflection during the Buccaneers’ 48–21 win against the Oakland Raiders.
Head coach Jon Gruden named Lynch the starting strong safety to begin the regular season, alongside free safety Dwight Smith. In Week 2, he collected a season-high 11 combined tackles (seven solo) during a 12–9 loss to the Carolina Panthers. Lynch was inactive for two games (Weeks 8–9) due to a shoulder injury. He finished the season with 72 combined tackles (50 solo), six pass deflections, two interceptions, and was credited with half a sack in 14 games and 14 starts.
On March 12, 2004, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers released Lynch in a salary cap related maneuver. Lynch offered to take a significant pay cut to remain with the team, but the offer was rebuffed.
On March 22, 2004, the Denver Broncos signed Lynch to a three-year, $9 million contract as an unrestricted free agent. Lynch signed a free agent contract with the Denver Broncos despite being courted by the two-time defending Super Bowl Champion New England Patriots. He also received an offer from the New York Jets, but opted not to reunite with head coach Herm Edwards who has previously been Lynch's defensive backs coach with the Buccaneers.
In the 2005 season, Lynch nearly made his second Super Bowl after the Broncos defeated the Patriots in the Divisional Round. But they lost to the Steelers in the AFC Championship Game.
Lynch served as the Broncos defensive captain in 2006 and 2007. On July 31, 2008, he was granted his release by the Broncos. Lynch said in a news conference that his lack of playing time heading into this season was a reason for his departure.
New England Patriots
Lynch visited with the New England Patriots on August 13, 2008, then agreed to a 1-year deal worth $1.5 million. However, on September 1, 2008, he was released from the team.
On November 17, 2008, Lynch officially announced his retirement from football. Six days later, he joined NFL on Fox in the broadcasting booth as a color commentator, and was paired with Chris Rose and Kevin Burkhardt.
Lynch was officially inducted into the Broncos’ Ring of Fame on October 23, 2016 in a ceremony at Sports Authority Field at Mile High, joining kicker Jason Elam and linebacker Simon Fletcher in the class of 2016. One month later, he was inducted into the Buccaneers Ring of Honor in a ceremony at Raymond James Stadium in November 2016.
San Francisco 49ers
On January 29, 2017, Lynch was named the general manager of the San Francisco 49ers.
On January 16, 2020, Lynch was named as the Pro Football Writers Association 2019 NFL Executive of the Year.
Lynch is married to Linda Allred, the older sister of his close friend and former NFL tight end John Allred. He and Allred had a run-in during a 1997 NFL game that resulted in Allred almost getting knocked out from a hit. His father, John Lynch Sr., is a retired radio executive in San Diego, a founder of the sports talk station XEPRS-AM 1090. His son Jake Lynch currently plays football at Stanford.