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Wednesday, August 13, 2008
Lynch to Patriots? BINGO!


Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Graham
Lynch

The New England Patriots' defensive backs meetings have been moved to the Old Country Buffet.

For morning warm-ups, they'll gather at 7:30 a.m. for a brisk mall walk.

The Patriots put emphasis on getting younger for 2008, but once they see an aging warrior out on the street they apparently can't help themselves.

The Boston Globe and Denver Post are reporting safety John Lynch is in Foxborough, Mass., today to meet with the Patriots and undergo a physical. Not sure if it included a hearing test.

OK, we kid the old-timers. The Patriots have had enough to fill a bingo hall.

Linebacker Junior Seau turned 39 during the playoffs last year, and there are rumblings he could be back at some point. Strong safety Rodney Harrison will be 37 before the season is out. Tight end Marcus Pollard is 36. Linebacker Tedy Bruschi is 35.

The Patriots, even without Lynch, have 11 players on their roster with double-digit years in the NFL.

You'll need to add up the other three 80-man rosters in the AFC East to find as many players with that much experience. The New York Jets have six. The Miami Dolphins have four. The Buffalo Bills have one.

Lynch will turn 37 next month. He lobbied for his release from the Denver Broncos because he wouldn't receive adequate playing time, not with Marlon McCree there. The Broncos obliged Lynch two weeks ago.

Lynch is a nine-time Pro Bowler and a future Hall of Famer. He's a vocal leader and can hit like a freight train. But the reason he would have been a role player in Denver is that he has lost his speed. The range is gone. He was removed from the field last year on obvious passing downs.

He has zero interceptions and one sack in his past two seasons.

"I still have a great passion for the game of football," Lynch said when the Broncos released him. "I still very much love it in my heart. I still feel like I can compete at a Pro Bowl level, but the situation is going to have to be right. I'm not going to just play for any team or any situation."

How would the Patriots use Lynch?

He's pretty close to the same player as Harrison, a 36-year old leader who hits hard but isn't what he used to be in coverage.

If the Patriots use Lynch and Harrison both at the same time, tandems like Brett Favre and Dustin Keller sure would appreciate it.

But maybe Lynch is more accepting of a backup role with a Super Bowl favorite than he was with the Broncos.

Wining Super Bowls never gets old.