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John Lynch's life-changing week deserves to end with Hall of Fame nod


ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- **Hiring a Pro Football Hall of Famer to be your general manager has been a successful recent trend. Two of the last four Super Bowls were won by teams with Hall of Fame players making the personnel calls -- Ozzie Newsome in Baltimore and, of course, John Elway in Denver.

For the San Francisco 49ers and John Lynch, one key part of that equation is missing -- that Lynch isn't a Hall of Famer. That's something that everyone associated with the nine-time Pro Bowler hopes to see change on Saturday when the Hall of Fame selection committee meets in Houston.

Check out the best photos of John Lynch, a 2020 finalist for selection into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

It's already been a life-changing week for Lynch, with word breaking Sunday night that he agreed to a six-year contract with the 49ers to become their general manager. Now, as he begins the process of rebuilding the 49ers from the ashes of a 2-14 season, he hopes he will tackle that job with a gold jacket in his closet.

For the fourth consecutive year, Lynch is among the 15 finalists for up to five spots from the primary selection pool. And even though he played most of his career (10 seasons) with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Lynch's perennial finalist status and potential Hall selection likely would not be as viable without closing his career with four consecutive Pro Bowl selections after joining the Broncos in 2004.

This year, he heads into the process as one of just a handful of players to earn induction into two individual teams' commemoration of their greatest players. Just a week and a half after the Broncos inducted Lynch into their Ring of Fame, the Buccaneers made him the newest member of their Ring of Honor. That put Lynch alongside Pro Football Hall of Famers such as Charles Haley, Paul Warfield, Vince Lombardi, Jim Ringo, Sonny Jurgensen, Reggie White, Eric Dickerson and Marshall Faulk.

If Lynch is inducted, he will become the first pure safety to have played since 1981 to earn induction into the Hall of Fame. All of the other safeties to play in the last 36 years and join the Hall of Fame were also cornerbacks for a substantial portion of their careers.

"I think that's the sentiment that I feel most strongly about, and I've communicated [it] when asked by the Hall of Fame writers, that, hey, I certainly would like if it was me, but I think this is something that needs to change," Lynch said last year after being named a finalist for the third time. "That argument really doesn't hold water with me.

"Maybe at one point that position was one that wasn't of great import in football and on defenses, but I think as anyone has seen the position evolve -- and that's where I feel fairly good about being a part of that position changing, because early in football, they were just kind of a last line of defense."

Lynch is also one of two players at any position with at least nine Pro Bowl selections and two or more years in which he was a first-team All-Pro. The other, Brian Dawkins, is a first-time Hall finalist this year.

For three consecutive years, Lynch has come close. Now it should be his time.

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