INDIANAPOLIS – John Lynch played two seasons under Jon Gruden in Tampa Bay. The two-time All-Pro safety won Super Bowl XXXVII working with the respected head coach, now back in the game after nine years in the broadcast booth.
Gruden was named Raiders head coach in January, a move that excited Raider Nation and caused a national stir. His second stint in silver and black comes after nearly a decade’s courtship from college programs, several NFL teams and Mark Davis’ relentless pursuit.
The 49ers general manager was excited to see his former coach get back in the game, and believes his presence is good for the sport.
“I think it’s great for football,” Lynch said Thursday at the NFL Scouting Combine. “I think Jon brings a lot. He brings a lot of enthusiasm, a lot of excitement. He’s tireless in his work ethic. I loved playing for him. It was a short tenure I had playing for him. I think two years and one of those years I was pretty banged up, but I loved playing for him. I think the league’s better when he’s involved in it.”
Gruden spent time away from coaching as Monday Night Football’s lead color analyst. Lynch broadcast games on FOX during a portion between his playing career and this new gig in Santa Clara, and believes Gruden will benefit from the access afforded to rights-holding broadcasters in pregame production meetings.
“You see the league through a different lens when you’re in those buildings,” Lynch said. “He did games like I did, and you get to go meet with head coaches. You get to go meet with general managers and quarterbacks. You can really learn a lot if you just listen. I think Jon has flirted with this (return to coaching) for a long time. I’ve talked to him. He’s excited.”