Broncos’ Lynch playing last hometown game Monday? |

Broncos’ Lynch playing last hometown game Monday?

Bernie Wilson
Associated Press
Vail, CO Colorado
David Zalubowski/APDenver Broncos safetyJohn Lynch heads to his position during a morning session at the team's training camp this summer.

SAN DIEGO ” John Lynch grew up a Chargers fan and won a Super Bowl at Qualcomm Stadium.

On Monday night, the 36-year-old Denver safety may play his final game in his hometown when the Broncos faced the AFC West champion Chargers.

Although Lynch said he hasn’t made a decision, there have been whispers this could be his final season.

Lynch said he’s been taking his career on a year-by-year basis since his 10th season. This year, his 15th, won’t be any different.

“I know I can’t play forever, but I also know I still have a passion for this game. I have another year on my contract here and, right now, I’m just trying to find a way to beat San Diego and finish this season off,” Lynch said during the week. “Then I’ll sit down with my family and sit down with the Broncos and see where it’s at.”

Lynch said he’s healthy, although he admitted feeling unsettled after sustaining a stinger in his neck against Green Bay in late October.

“I was spooked earlier this year when I got another stinger and I felt it was the same stuff I was feeling back in Tampa when I had to have neck surgery,” Lynch said, referring to an operation following the 2003 season. “I kind of told myself, ‘If this stuff ever starts happening again, I’m done.’ So initially, I thought, ‘This might be it.’ “

After receiving reassurances from his doctor that it was simply a pinched nerve, he returned to action.

“Other than that, my body’s been very good to me throughout my career,” he said.

Lynch evolved into one of the NFL’s hardest-hitting safeties, was voted to eight Pro Bowls and helped Tampa Bay rout the Oakland Raiders in the Super Bowl following the 2002 season.

He had different aspirations coming out of Torrey Pines High and then Stanford.

“First of all, at Torrey Pines I was a quarterback thinking I was going to be the next John Elway. That didn’t work out and I moved over to safety. I really thought I was going to be a baseball player most of my college career,” Lynch said.

“Then my senior year, I had a great year and really found out that football was my passion. But even then, I was just trying to make a team down in Tampa. I think it was back in Year 4 or 5 where I realized, you know what, I can not only play this game, but I can do something special in this league.”

Even though the Broncos are out of the playoff chase, Lynch planned to play Monday night like he always plays.

“I think that I’ve really tried to play the game the way it’s supposed to be played,” he said. “Regardless, I’ve played on some bad teams early on, I played on a Super Bowl team, and I was always taught to put in a good day’s work regardless of circumstance. So these last two games, a lot of people say, ‘What are you playing for?’ Well, you’re playing because you’ve got an opportunity to get on the field. That’s the way I’ve always approached it and I’m proud of that.”

Chargers center Nick Hardwick enjoys playing against Lynch.

“He’s a definite impact player. He’s a pretty special player, big hitter. He knows how to contribute. He’s real fun to play against. He’s one of my favorites,” Hardwick said.

“I used to have a coach, Herm Edwards, down in Tampa; he used to talk about every time you step on the field, you’re essentially autographing your performance,” Lynch said. “You’re putting your signature on what you put on film.”

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