John Lynch of 49ers calls for unity in Professional Football Hall of Fame speech

TOWNSHIP, Ohio – John Lynch delivered his keynote address Sunday night when he was inducted into the 2021 Professional Football Hall of Fame class.

Lynch, currently the 49ers general manager, was selected for nine Pro Bowls during his 15-year playing career as a hard-hitting safety with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Denver Broncos.

RELATED: Lynch Credits Walsh for HOF Speech

Here are the words he spoke during his 8.5 minutes at the desk following his presenters, his son Jake Lynch and Herm Edwards:

Thanks, Jacques. Such an honor to have you as a presenter. Thanks, Herm.

What a humbling honor. First of all, let me say that nothing in my Hall of Fame journey has been easy. I waited eight years as a finalist and then David Baker tells me I’m Peyton Manning. Thanks a lot, David.

Peyton and the rest of our 2021 class, congratulations. What a privilege to be inducted into this fraternity – the Professional Football Hall of Fame – with all of you.

As everyone here will attest, it takes a lot of conviction to get to this point. However, belief is not something that just happens. He has to be fed, a million times. A note, a pat on the back, some advice, some coaching. . . these are the things that promote belief in ourselves. Today I will recognize those who have done this for me.

I wouldn’t be here today without someone – my wife and my best friend – Linda Lynch. I met Linda in seventh grade in our hometown of San Diego. Linda, you inspired me as a man, father, husband and leader. For 15 years as an NFL player and nine years with the NFL on FOX, Linda wrote me a note that I had read before.

every game. She never missed one. His notes have always calmed me, focused and pushed me to be the best of myself. Baby, I love you more than you’ll ever know, and I’m so grateful to share this life-changing moment with you.

Our four amazing children: Jake, Lindsay, Lilly and Leah. . . each of you, in your own way, has provided me with an inspiration that cannot be described even with the full definition of love. My pride in each of you is endless. Hope I helped you build your self-confidence like you did for me.

My parents, John and Cathy, your standards and expectations have always been high – your love always unconditional. The Catholic faith that you instilled in me and with which you blessed me is my beacon. Where would I be without it? Where would I be without you two? Mom and dad, I am truly grateful and 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 a No.2 quarterback, I was sick of it.

I decided the best way for me to get onto the football field was to convert to safety. I want to thank the late and great Denny Green for guiding me in this life-changing decision.

Later that year, I was drafted in the second round of the Major League Baseball Draft by the Florida Marlins and thought baseball was going to be my future. Enter the late Bill Walsh.

Coach Walsh had returned to Stanford as a head coach in 1992, when Coach Green accepted the post of chief of the Minnesota Vikings. One day I got a call from Bill. **

“Hey, John, this is Bill Walsh. I’ve been studying our defense since last year, and John, you were our best defensive player.

Shocked, I told him, “Coach Walsh, with all due respect, I played it safe for a year and only played half the snaps. How can you arrive at 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, Bill Walsh style, he didn’t just tell me, he showed me. He showed a tape of me playing a play, then a possibly greatest safe play of all time, Ronnie Lott doing a similar play. There were only five coins on this tape, but after looking at it,

I was thoroughly. Coach Walsh, you gave me the confidence to follow my heart towards a career in the NFL. Without you, I won’t be on this stage today.

Pete Egoscue, you were more than someone to train me. You taught me to outperform my competition. It gave me my mental and physical edge.

There were many other coaches who were essential to my success: Monte Kiffin, Jon Gruden, Rod Marinelli and Mike Tomlin among them.

A special human being who saw something in me before I saw it in me is my co-host Herm Edwards. Herm had a vision of how I should play the safe position. He encouraged me to play with the passion, joy, physique and instincts that defined my game. Herm, you were also the first to tell me that I might have a bust in Canton someday, but only if I believed in it. We’re here, Herm.

Hall of Fame coach Tony Dungy has had such a profound impact on me on and off the pitch. It’s a true story: During his first team meeting as head coach of the Buccaneers, he told us, “Our job is to win championships here in Tampa, but if that’s all we are doing, we will not have done enough. He 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 sincere thank you to the Glazer family and all the Buccaneers for making my first eleven years in the NFL so meaningful and helping us host a World Championship in Tampa with Super Bowl 37.

To the late great owner Pat Bowlen, a true Hall of Fame member, the Bowlen family, Mike Shanahan and everyone at the Denver Broncos: Thank you for giving me such a great place to play for the past four years. of my career.

Now, for the past four seasons, I’ve had the honor of being the general manager of the San Francisco 49ers. Thanks to Kyle Shanahan, Jed York and the entire York family for trusting me.

Round Barber, your time is up, man. You are going to be here. Mike Alstott, Champ Bailey, Rod Smith – these are just a few of the great players I have been lucky enough to call teammates. There are so many to recognize, two guys here (Derrick Brooks and Warren Sapp) have supported me from day one. Together, we have forged an indestructible bond. and I am delighted to join you in Canton! **

Before concluding, I would like to say: The National Football League is the greatest metaphor for life that I have ever known. It challenges each of us who play this great game in any way we can. Everything in the game is difficult. It tests your willpower. It forces any man who wears a uniform to not only do his best, but to do his best. In football, we quickly discover that we are 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 work together.

Each of us comes from a different background. But, when we come together, we come together as a team. It doesn’t matter where we come from or our background. All that matters is achieving one goal: victory.

Tonight I advocate that we take the lead in football and come together as a people, as a great nation. Let’s find common ground through our shared values. Let’s celebrate and learn from our differences. Derrick Brooks of Pensacola, Florida. Warren Sapp of Apopka, Florida. And John Lynch of Solana Beach, Calif., Did. So, too, all of you can.

Thank you David Baker, to Ira Kaufman and the Professional Football Hall of Fame Selection Committee, my beautiful family, dear friends, coaches, teammates and all the fans, love you.

As my journey illustrates, one person can make a difference. I encourage each of you to be that person, who makes someone else believe that they too can be great!

God bless you all. Thank you.

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