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Friendship trumps team for duo
By wire services
Published November 20, 2005
DENVER - When safety John Lynch became a free agent in 2004, the conventional wisdom was that he'd join his good friend, Jets coach Herman Edwards, in New York.
Instead, their friendship kept them from a reunion.
Edwards was Lynch's position coach in Tampa Bay, where the two developed a bond so tight that Lynch is godfather to Edwards' son, Marcus.
Their families will attend the game together today when Lynch and the surging Broncos face Edwards' injury-riddled Jets at Invesco Field.
Lynch called Edwards "a first-class guy who has as much character as anybody I've ever met."
So why not go play for him again?
Because, Lynch said, he didn't want Edwards to pay the price if he wasn't able to rebound from a neck injury that threatened to derail his career last year.
"In the back of my mind, I was coming off a neck injury and I went up there and saw what that media was a little bit about. And I said, "You know what, if I can't play healthy, they're going roast him for bringing one of his buddies in,' " Lynch said.
He said the two decided that his destination would be determined on what was "best for my family" and "best for his organization."
When Lynch instead signed with Denver, Edwards was disappointed professionally but understood.
"We're going to be friends the rest of our lives, whether he plays for me again or (not)," Edwards said. "You'd like for it to happen, it didn't work out. There was a better situation there."
Lynch recovered from his neck injury and returned to form last year, starting 15 games and recording 76 tackles. This season, Lynch has 42 tackles and one sack.
VIKINGS RELEASE CODE: The team unveiled its code of conduct Saturday during mandatory meetings, and the reception from players was mixed.
Several left the 77-page code and employee handbook in their lockers and others did not take the presentation from owner Zygi Wilf and vice president Kevin Warren too seriously.
"Live by the code, die by the code," one player quipped as he left the locker room.
"Everything was, "Be smart,' " veteran receiver Marcus Robinson said. "You're a professional athlete. You're a big fish in a small bowl."
Work began on the guidelines the day after Wilf's purchase of the team closed in June, Warren said. The document was not produced in response to any specific off-the-field embarrassments, of which the Vikings have had many - especially lately.
In early October, allegations of sexual misconduct involving several players on a boat party were brought forth by crew members on the charter cruise. An investigation has continued since then without any charges being filed.
"I think it is very important for all people in any organization to understand its leadership expectations," coach Mike Tice said.
EAGLES: Receiver Terrell Owens, suspended from the team two weeks ago after criticizing quarterback Donovan McNabb and the organization, appeared at a marathon arbitration hearing to decide whether his penalty should be lessened. Members of the organization, including coach Andy Reid, also gave their accounts of the events. Arbitrator Richard Bloch is expected to decide in the next few days.
PACKERS: Receiver Robert Ferguson's knee injury isn't as serious as originally thought, and coach Mike Sherman hasn't ruled him out of the game Monday night against Minnesota.
STEELERS: Former starting cornerback Willie Williams re-signed after being released last week.
DRAFT DECLARATION: Purdue defensive end Ray Edwards announced he would enter the 2006 draft. Edwards, a 6-foot-6, 270-pound junior, started all 12 games as a sophomore and the first six this season before losing his job to senior Rob Ninkovich.