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Former Buc John Lynch hopes to get into Hall of Fame despite position

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His interception total (26) is kind of low. If you’re looking to knock John Lynch, you can begin there.

His teams won only one Super Bowl. That keeps him from being a slam dunk of a candidate.

He already has two teammates from his defense into the Hall. Other teams have more, but voters lose interest the more players a team has in.

But if you want to know the challenge that Lynch, the great of the Tampa Bay Bucs, faces in today’s Hall of Fame vote, it’s easy. He’s a safety. And most years, safeties need not apply.

It has been 19 years now since the Vikings’ Paul Krause made it to the Hall as a pure safety, and his election came after 19 years in the voting. The knock persists that safeties are really slow corners — never mind that coaches will tell you it’s a whole different skill set. Only kickers have it harder than safeties.

Oh, other players have gotten in — Ronnie Lott and Mel Renfro and Rod Woodson, but those guys all started their careers as cornerbacks. But guys who have played only safety have vanished from Canton.

Of course, it’s hard to quantify. Receivers have catches and quarterbacks have passes, and running backs have yards. But safeties are more of a challenge.

This year, a logjam has begun at the position. Brian Dawkins has joined the race with Lynch and former Broncos Steve Atwater, and former Seahawk Kenny Easley is the senior candidate.

In upcoming years, Troy Polamalu and Ed Reed will join the list.

For Lynch, a heavy hitter and sure tackler in the Bucs’ great defensive run, this might be the best chance he has to get into the Hall.

In Tampa, not many doubt he belongs.

Gary Shelton is one of the most recognized and honored sportswriters in the history of the state. He has won the APSE's national columnist of the year twice and finished in the top 10 eight times. He was named the Florida Sportswriter of the Year six times. Gary joined SaintPetersBlog in the spring, helping to bring a sports presence to the website. Over his time in sports writing, Gary has covered 29 Super Bowls, 10 Olympics, Final Fours, Masters, Wimbledons and college national championships. He was there when the Bucs won a Super Bowl, when the Lightning won a Stanley Cup and when the Rays went to a World Series. He has seen Florida, FSU and Miami all win national championships, and he covered Bear Bryant, Bobby Bowden and Don Shula along the way. He and his wife Janet have four children: Eric, Kevin, K.C. and Tori. To contact, visit

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