John Lynch of 49ers calls for unity in speech in the Pro Football Hall of Fame
CANTON, Ohio – John Lynch delivered his speech on Sunday night following his induction into the 2021 Pro Football Hall of Fame Class.
Lynch, currently the general manager of the 49ers, was selected for nine Pro Bowls during his 15-year career as a hard-hitting security guard with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Denver Broncos.
RELATED: Lynch Attributes Walsh in HOF Speech
Here are the words he delivered after his moderators, son Jake Lynch and Herm Edwards, in his 8 1/2 minutes at the lectern:
Thanks, Jake. It is an honor to have you as my moderator. Thank you, Herm.
What a humbling honor. First, let me say that my journey to the Hall of Fame has not been easy. I waited eight years as a finalist and then David Baker tells me I’m following Peyton Manning. Thank you very much David.
Peyton and the rest of our 2021 class, congratulations. What a privilege to be inducted into this brotherhood – the Pro Football Hall of Fame – with all of you.
As anyone up here will acknowledge, it takes a lot of faith to reach this stage. However, belief is not something that just happens. It has to be looked after a million times. A note, a pat on the back, a piece of advice, coaching. . . These are the things that encourage belief in ourselves. Today I will acknowledge those who did this for me.
I wouldn’t be here today without one person – my wife and best friend – Linda Lynch. I met Linda in seventh grade in our hometown of San Diego. Linda, you have inspired me as a man, father, husband and leader. For 15 years as an NFL player and nine years at the NFL on FOX, Linda wrote me a note that I read earlier
every single game. She’s never missed one. Her notes always calm me down, kept me focused, and pushed me to be my best. Babe, I love you more than you will ever know and I am so grateful to share this life changing moment with you.
Our four great children: Jake, Lindsay, Lilly and Leah. . . Each of you have given me inspiration in your own unique way that even the full definition of love cannot describe. My pride in each of you is endless. I hope I have helped you build your belief in yourself as you did for me.
My parents, John and Cathy, your standards and expectations were always high – your love was always unconditional. The Catholic faith that you instilled and blessed me is my model. Where would I be without Where would I be without the two of you? Mom and Dad, I’m really grateful and I love you.
My sister and brother, Kara and Ryan, you have always supported me. Please know where you live in my heart.
I went to Stanford University as a quarterback and a baseball player. After two years as No. 2 quarterback, I was sick of it.
I decided the best way for me on the soccer field was to switch to safety. I want to thank the late, great Denny Green for guiding me through this life changing decision.
Later that year, I was drafted into the second round of the Major League Baseball Draft by the Florida Marlins, believing baseball would be my future. Enter the late great Bill Walsh.
Coach Walsh had returned to Stanford as our head coach in 1992 when Coach Green took the job at the Minnesota Vikings. One day I got a call from Bill. **
“Hey John, this is Bill Walsh. I studied our defense from last year and John, you were our best defensive player. “
I said to him in shock: “Coach Walsh, with all due respect, I played safety for a year and only played half of the snaps. How can you come to this opinion? “
He just said, “The movie. I watched it and you can be a Pro Bowl Safety in the NFL. “
When I got back to school, he not only told me, in true Bill Walsh fashion, he showed me too. He showed me a tape that I was doing a play on, and then a play, perhaps the greatest sure of all time, Ronnie Lott, doing a similar play. There were only five tracks on this tape, but after seeing it
I was fully there. Coach Walsh, you gave me the confidence to follow my heart into an NFL career. Without you, I’m not on this stage today.
Pete Egoscue, you were more than just someone who trained me. You taught me how to outperform my competition. That gave me my mental and physical advantage.
There were many other coaches who were essential to my success: Monte Kiffin, Jon Gruden, Rod Marinelli and Mike Tomlin among them.
One special person who saw something in me before I saw it in myself is my co-host, Herm Edwards. Herm had a vision of how I should play the security position. He encouraged me to play with the passion, joy, physicality, and instinct that made up my game. Herm, you were also the first to tell me that one day I might do a bust in Canton, but only if I believe it. We are here, Herm.
Hall of Fame coach Tony Dungy had a huge impact on me on and off the pitch. This is a true story: in his first team briefing as the Buccaneers head coach, he said to us, “Our job is to win championships here in Tampa, but if that’s all we do, we haven’t done enough.” went on to talk about the responsibility we need to give back to our community. Tony, thank you for being the man you are.
A heartfelt thank you to the Glazer family and everyone at the Buccaneers for making my first eleven years in the NFL meaningful and for helping us bring a World Cup to Tampa in Super Bowl 37.
To the late great owner Pat Bowlen, a true Hall of Famer, the Bowlen family, Mike Shanahan, and everyone at the Denver Broncos, Thank you for giving me such a great landing spot to play for the last four years of my career .
Now, for the past four seasons, I have had the privilege of serving as general manager of the San Francisco 49ers. Thank you Kyle Shanahan, Jed York, and the entire York family for the trust you have placed in me.
Ronde Barber, your time is coming, man. You will be here Mike Alstott, Champ Bailey, Rod Smith – these are just a few of the great players I have been able to call teammates. There are so many to appreciate that two guys here (Derrick Brooks and Warren Sapp) have turned their backs on me from day one. Together we forged an unbreakable bond. and I am overjoyed to join the two of you in Canton! **
Before I close, let me say: The National Football League is the greatest metaphor for life I have ever known. It challenges each of us who play this great game in every possible way. Everything about the game is difficult. It tests your will. It forces every man who puts on a uniform not only to do his best, but to do his best as well. In football, we quickly discover that we are only as strong as our weakest link. If we are to achieve the goals we have set for ourselves, we must all learn to play together and pull together.
Each of us comes from a different area of life. But when we huddle together, then we come together as a team. It doesn’t matter where we come from or what background we have. Only one goal is important: victory.
Tonight I advocate that we take the lead in football and unite as a people, as a great nation. Let us find common ground through our common values. Let’s celebrate and learn from our differences. Derrick Brooks from Pensacola, Florida. Warren Sapp from Apopka, Florida. And John Lynch of Solana Beach, California. So can all of you.
Thank you David Baker, Ira Kaufman and the Pro Football Hall of Fame Selection Committee, my lovely family, dear friends, coaches, teammates and all the fans, I love you.
As my trip shows, one person can make a difference. I encourage each of you to be the person who makes others believe that they can be great too!
May God bless you. Thank you.
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