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One of the most professional and pleasant locker room personalities, Lynch has kept his head and his attitude upbeat throughout the roller coaster ride that has been the 2001 season. He echoes coach Tony Dungy's stand that the important thing for the defense is its willingness to get back to the basics of making reads and making tackles.


Known as one of the game's most brutal hitters and in his ninth season, Lynch has done nothing to dispel the myth. Whether it's the first stick or flying in to clean up runners working for extra yardage, Lynch continues to record highlight-reel plays and play a critical role in the Bucs' ability to stop the run and limit receivers.


Lynch's father, John, was a linebacker for the Pittsburgh Steelers. Lynch was born in Hinsdale, Ill., on Sept. 25, 1971 but grew up in California and attended Torrey Pines High School in Del Mar before moving on to a four-year career at Stanford University. At Stanford, Lynch played both quarterback and safety. He also was an outstanding baseball player and once had a 95 mph. In fact, drafted by the Florida Marlins in 1992 (66th overall), Lynch threw the first pitch in team history and his hat now resides in the Baseball Hall of Fame.


The John Lynch Foundation, a non-profit organization committed to developing youth by recognizing achievements and excellence, recently initiated the second annual Tackles for Tampa Bay program. Together with his wife, Linda, the Lynches will donate $100 per tackle, $500 per interception and $1,000 per sack to the foundation. Entering today's game, Lynch has 57 tackles, one sack and one interception. So far, the John Lynch Foundation has raised more than $200,000.

_ Compiled by Roger Mills.