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Lynch a victim of Gruden

Published March 14, 2004

Can there be any doubt Jon Gruden is cleansing the team of any remnants of the one Tony Dungy built? John Lynch was an icon of respect. If Gruden starts saying the old "it's going to take three years to rebuild the team" stuff, I hope he gets his walking papers in the same swell manner he gave them to Lynch. Where have all the heroes gone? Gruden released them.

>-- Dale Heindel, Palm Harbor

The release of John Lynch is evidence that character, competence and community involvement count for nothing in today's sports marketplace. The lame excuse in situations like these is that "tough decisions" need to be made and it's all a matter of "capology." The only tough decision the Bucs need to make is how they will explain to fans why their organization condones overpaid, chronic complainers, then gives up on an accomplished, selfless athlete who helped raise a failure of a franchise from the brink of extinction to a Super Bowl championship.

-- Dottie McQueen, Palm Harbor

In the past couple of days you have read all about John Lynch's accomplishments on and off the field, but more importantly, you have experienced them for 11 years. You have reveled in his triumphs, and now you share his pain. Many fans considered Lynch to be the heart of the Bucs. What will they be without their heart?

Lynch's departure is a prime example of the bottom line, backstabbing structure of pro sports. We constantly see players who are more concerned about their paycheck than their team, players who put individual stats before their team and players who could care less about the community. Pro athletes are only kept as long as they are considered useful. Then there are those special players who seem to be above the whole business aspect of pro sports, who make you forget about the ugly side. Lynch is one of those rare athletes who makes you believe he plays because he loves the game.

But now we have to say goodbye to the player that everyone loved. It is tough to see how the Bucs franchise let him go. It is tough to see the lack of loyalty.

He will leave Tampa Bay as a legend and nothing less.

-- Kevin Gleim, St. Petersburg

John Lynch was not much of leader, did not motivate, could not tackle and never did his homework. When he got hurt last season, the secondary stepped up spectacularly.

And if you believe that, I have some swamp land for sale.

Lynch's biggest mistake is that his name is "John" and there just isn't room for a guy named "John" to be a Tampa Bay favorite if his last name isn't "Gruden."

Good luck in Atlanta next season, Mr. Lynch.

-- Patrick McDaniel, Tampa

I am torn. On one hand you have a 32-year-old player who is coming off neck surgery, with $4-million that can be used to help upgrade other positions. We can't be sure if he will be the John Lynch we are used to.

On the other hand, he is John Lynch. He was and always will be the heart and soul of the best defensive team ever.

When this is all said and done, No. 47 will be in Canton with No. 63, Lee Roy Selmon.

-- Danny Johnston, Tarpon Springs

Injury sealed Lynch's fate

It was time for the Bucs to release John Lynch. He favored the injury the last half of the season, which kept him from making the ferocious hits for which he became famous. That injury was a career-ending injury for TV commentator Tim Green. Lynch is a great human being, but he's not the great player he once was.Michael Harris, Oldsmar

Yes, the decision to let Lynch go was tough, but let it go! It happens all the time in this life of salary-cap football. Since the Super Bowl victory, I am embarrassed to be a Bucs fan. Not because of the organizations personnel moves, or the elusiveness of Bruce Allen, or even the 7-9 record, but the way so-called fans cry about everything.

Did I read in the letters that someone wants Gruden and Allen gone and that Dungy would have won the Super Bowl in 2002 anyway? Jon Gruden is the best coach in the NFL, and we should feel lucky to have a coach with that much passion. I'm not saying that Chuckie makes the best decisions all the time, but get with it folks.

For all of you who want Gruden gone, put all of your Bucs' Super Bowl gear in the trunk of your bandwagon and go buy your Lightning gear. Lynch and Sapp are business decisions. Get over it.

-- John Clairmont, Orlando

Allen does roster magic

The general manager position of the Bucs looked about as enviable as the presidential vacancy of Haiti after Rich McKay fled in exile to Atlanta. With his hands tied, Bruce Allen is proving to be Harry Houdini reincarnated. I'm impressed with the talent the Bucs have either brought in or are looking to bring in. I like having a proactive GM to go along with the best coach and owner in the game.

-- David Eisenbart, St. Petersburg

Adding fuel to the feud

Is there going to be a follow-up article designed to incense the fans of the New York Yankees? Tom Jones' efforts to fuel this fire are more deserving of publication in the New York Post than the St. Petersburg Times. While it may be true that Red Sox fans are concerned with the Yankees acquisition of A-Rod, it appears the Yankees are the team pushing the panic button after the offseason acquisitions of the Boston club.

The feud to which Jones alludes is better termed an entertaining rivalry that has succumbed to the pressures of the almighty dollar. Unfortunately, these pressures render the Devil Rays and their economic brethren to the position of also-rans before the season's first pitch.

In spite of the efforts of Tom Jones, let's play baseball.

-- Mark Campbell, St. Petersburg


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