Former Bucs coach Tony Dungy, safety John Lynch HOF finalists again

John Lynch, a third-round pick in 1993, spent 11 seasons with Tampa Bay.

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TAMPA, Fla. — Tony Dungy and John Lynch are Pro Football Hall of Fame finalists again.

Thursday night, the NFL announced that Dungy, a former Tampa Bay Buccaneers coach, and Lynch, a former Bucs safety, were among the 15 finalists to be considered for induction when the selection committee meets Jan. 31 in Phoenix.

Dungy, in his second year of eligibility, and Lynch, in his third, were both finalists for induction in 2014.

Dungy, 59, coached the Bucs from 1996-2001 and helped give life to a lost franchise. He led them to four playoff appearances in his last five seasons. He went 54-42 in the regular season during his time with Tampa Bay, posting a 2-4 record mark in the playoffs. In addition, he became the first African-American coach to win a Super Bowl when he guided the Indianapolis Colts to a victory in Super Bowl XLI over the Chicago Bears, coached by current Bucs leader Lovie Smith.

Lynch, 43, was known as one of his era’s most physical defenders. A nine-time Pro Bowl player and a four-time All-Pro, he had 787 tackles and 23 interceptions in his time with the Bucs from 1993-2003. He concluded his playing career with the Denver Broncos from 2004-2007.

Three players with Bucs ties are currently enshrined. Former defensive lineman Lee Roy Selmon was inducted in 1995, former defensive tackle Warren Sapp enshrined in 2013 and former linebacker Derrick Brooks was honored last year.

"Last year, it was an honor to be on hand to see Derrick Brooks and Aeneas Williams enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame, and it would be truly special to make a second consecutive trip to Canton this year to celebrate Tony and John getting in," Smith said in a statement. "Tony has played a large role not only in my career, but in my life, as one of my early mentors and I can’t think of a more deserving candidate for this ultimate career achievement. John was one of the cornerstones to all the success that we enjoyed here in Tampa, and his work ethic and passion for the game are things that made him one of the truly elite players to ever play the safety position. I wish them both the best of luck getting in this time around."