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Ex-Bucs safety John Lynch a Hall of Fame finalist again

Could this be the season the hard-hitting Bucs safety finally receives enshrinement?
John Lynch went to nine Pro Bowls and was a two-time All Pro with the Bucs and Broncos.
John Lynch went to nine Pro Bowls and was a two-time All Pro with the Bucs and Broncos.
Published Jan. 3
Updated Jan. 3

TAMPA — For the seventh straight year, former Bucs great John Lynch is a finalist for the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Lynch, the hard-hitting safety who epitomized the toughness of the Bucs’ Super Bowl-winning defense, is one of 15 finalists for the Class of 2020.

His first year as a finalist was 2014. Every other finalist from that year has since been enshrined in Canton.

Lynch is one of four safeties to be named finalists. Safeties Troy Polamalu (Steelers), Steve Atwater (Broncos, Jets) and Leroy Butler (Packers) are also finalists.

Also included among the finalists are running back Edgerrin James and receiver Reggie Wayne, two huge pieces of prolific Colts offenses of the early 2000′s, and Torry Holt and Isaac Bruce, two receivers who helped make the Rams’ “Greatest Show on Turf” offense one of the game’s most exciting.

Lynch played the first 11 seasons of a 15-year career with the Bucs as a key piece of the team’s vaunted defense that lead the franchise to its first Super Bowl in the 2002 season. Five of his nine career trips to the Pro Bowl came with Tampa Bay and he was a first-team All-Pro with the Bucs in 1999 and 2000. Lynch also had four Pro Bowl seasons with Denver. He is currently the general manager of the San Francisco 49ers.

Lynch was inducted into the Bucs' Ring of Honor in 2016.

The Hall of Fame’s selection committee will meet on Feb. 1, the day before the Super Bowl, and select up to five finalists to comprise this year’s class.

Cornerback Ronde Barber and defensive end Simeon Rice were semifinalists, but did not make the final 15.

This is the third straight season Barber, who was added to the team’s Ring of Honor this year, has been a Hall of Fame semifinalist. Rice has been a semifinalist in two of the past three seasons.

Contact Eduardo A. Encina at eencina@tampabay.com. Follow @EddieInTheYard.

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