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.”
NBC Sports Bay Area and NBC Sports California are about to get a whole new look.
The home of Authentic Bay Area Sports will unveil its new state-of-the-art studio Saturday at 6:30 p.m. with "Sharks Pregame Live."
The sleek 2,270 square-foot studio boasts an interactive demo area and multiple anchor and reporter positions designed for movement and flexibility.
“Our new studios will provide our anchors, analysts and insiders the ability to provide the region’s most comprehensive, informative and entertaining sports coverage across multiple platforms,” NBC Sports Bay Area and NBC Sports California Senior Vice President and General Manager Matt Murphy said in a statement. "We’ve created a world-class facility that is designed for innovation and the creation of compelling content for local sports fans.”
Every part of the studio can be used as a broadcast location, thanks to the litany of large displays integrated into its architecture, and a sleek LED display running the length of the studio forms the backdrop for the main anchor area. Located at the network's headquarters at 360 3rd Street in San Francisco, the studio includes 120 LED tiles in all: 75 are in the walls, and 45 are on the demo area's floor.
The studio, which was designed as part of a partnership between NBC Sports and the design group at Jack Morton Worldwide, primarily will serve as the main set for Warriors, Giants and 49ers pregame and postgame shows, as well as news updates, press conferences, breaking news and magazine shows.
A secondary studio will debut with "Sharks Pregame Live" on Oct. 16 at 7 p.m., and it primarily will host NBC Sports California's pre- and postgame shows, news updates, press conferences and breaking news.
A pair of hometown heroes headline UFC Fight Night Sacramento on Saturday at Golden 1 Center.
Urijah Faber (34-10-0) will fight for the first time since Dec. 17, 2016, coming out of retirement to fight Ricky Simon (15-1-0) about 15 miles from Faber's collegiate alma mater of University of California, Davis. Faber isn't lacking motivation coming out of retirement, and can give the crowd in Sacramento something to cheer about.
So, too, can Folsom native Aspen Ladd (8-0-0). She is undefeated in her pro career, but will face a more difficult opponent in Germaine de Randaime than at any point so far in her career.
Here's the full card, which gets underway at 5 p.m. PT:
Undercard: Marvin Vettori (12-4-1) vs. Cezar Ferreira (13-7-0) [men's middleweight]
Undercard: Karl Roberson (7-2-0) vs. Wellington Turman (15-2-0) [men's middleweight]
Undercard: Josh Emmett (14-2-0) vs. Mirsad Bektić (13-1-0) [men's featherweight]
Co-main: Urijah Faber (34-10-0) vs. Ricky Simon (15-1-0) [men's bantamweight]
Main event: Germaine de Randamie (8-3-0) vs. Aspen Ladd (8-0-0) [women's bantamweight]
Here are the preliminary bouts, which begin at 2 p.m. PT:
Mike Rodriguez (9-3-0) vs. John Allan (13-5-0) [men's light heavyweight]
Andre Fili (19-6-0) vs. Sheymon Moraes (11-3-0) [men's featherweight]
Julianna Peña (8-3-0) vs. Nicco Montaño (4-2-0) [women's bantamweight]
Darren Elkins (24-7-0) vs. Ryan Hall (7-1-0) [men's featherweight]
Pingyuan Liu (13-5-0) vs. Jonathan Martinez (10-2-0) [men's bantamweight]
Lívia Renata Souza (13-1-0) vs. Brianna van Buren (8-2-0) [women's strawweight]
Benito Lopez (9-1-0) vs. Vince Morales (9-3-0) [men's bantamweight]
[RELATED: Predictions for UFC Fight Night Sacramento]
Here's how you can watch UFC Fight Night Sacramento on TV and online.
Date: Saturday, July 13 at 2 p.m. PT (prelims) and 5 p.m. PT (main event)
TV: ESPN (prelims)
Live Stream: ESPN+ (main event)