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Tuesday, March 2, 2021

Former Celina High School player named interim coach of Buffalo Bills

The Buffalo Bills have hired a Bobcat and a Red Raider.

Anthony Lynn, who played for Celina High School and Texas Tech University, was named interim head coach of the Buffalo Bills following the departure of Rex Ryan. Ryan was fired Dec. 27, along with his brother, defensive assistant Rob Ryan.

Offensive coordinator Lynn will serve as the interim coach for Sunday’s regular season finale against the New York Jets at the Meadowlands.

Lynn is also considered a candidate to replace Ryan permanently because of his familiarity with an offense that is closing in on leading the NFL in rushing for a second consecutive season.

Lynn, a long-time Ryan assistant, was promoted to coordinator in September, when Ryan fired Greg Roman after an 0-2 start. and will likely receive consideration for the job permanently. Lynn began working under Ryan starting in 2009 with the New York Jets. Lynn has been considered for head coaching vacancies several times, being interviewed by the Jets after the 2014 season and by the Miami Dolphins and San Francisco 49ers after last season.

At Texas Tech, Lynn was a running back, playing for the Spike Dykes-era Red Raiders from 1987-91. He ended his career in top 10 for career rushing with 1,911 yards and 17 touchdowns on 481 carries at Texas Tech. He earned All-South West Conference honors in 1990.

As an NFL player, Lynn was an undrafted free agent with the Giants in 1992 but was released after training camp. He made the 1993 Broncos roster and saw action in 13 games but spent 1994 on injured reserve after breaking his leg. Lynn spent the 1995-96 seasons with the 49ers. Following his time in San Francisco, Lynn rejoined the Broncos spending three seasons as a back, winning back-to-back Super Bowl championships with Super Bowls XXXII and XXXIII. He retired in 2000 and began coaching.

Lynn spent two years close to home as the Cowboys running backs coach from 2005-2006. While in Dallas, he oversaw Julius Jones and Marion Barber III as the two combined for over 1,500 yards on the ground both seasons.

But his years in Dallas also nearly ended his life when Lynn and fellow offensive assistant coach Todd Haley went out for pizza during training camp in Ventura, California. Lynn was the victim of a hit-and-run drunk driver automobile accident on Aug. 20, 2005 as he crossed the street. According to news reports from the time, both of Lynn’s lungs collapsed, several ribs were broken and he had severe cuts. Lynn recovered and he and Haley have remained close, even though they now work for opposing teams.

Lynn’s coaching has earned him accolades over the years. Since 2009 Lynn’s teams (Jets ‘09-‘14, Bills ’15) have rushed for 15,588 yards—which ranks as the most combined yards on the ground in the NFL over that time period. Lynn’s first year with the Bills saw his group rank as the best in the league—as the Bills notched both the top rushing attack in the NFL in yards (2,432) and yards per carry (4.78). The Bills rushing attack also proved to be incredibly versatile in 2015, as three Buffalo rushers surpassed the 500-yard mark (LeSean McCoy-895, Tyrod Taylor-568, Karlos Williams-517) for the first time since 1962.

Lynn has two children from his first marriage. D’Anton Lynn, his son, was also played as a Celina High School Bobcat and was a defensive back at Penn State. He was signed as an undrafted free agent in 2012 and is currently a defensive assistant coach, now working under his father, at Buffalo. Lynn’s daughter, Danielle, is a senior at the University of Oklahoma, majoring in Human Anatomy and Physiology. Lynn’s current wife, Stacey Bell Lynn, worked last as a news anchor at WNBC in New York City and now resides in Buffalo.

The Bills play the New York Jets on Sunday. Both teams are out of contention for the playoffs, but Lynn will hope to show he has the skills for a shot as an NFL head coach. – 

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Robert Francis
Robert is a Fort Worth native and longtime editor of the Fort Worth Business Press. He is a former president of the local Society of Professional Journalists and was a freelancer for a variety of newspapers, weeklies and magazines, including American Way, BrandWeek and InformatonWeek. A graduate of TCU, Robert has held a variety of writing and editing positions at publications such as the Grand Prairie Daily News and InfoWorld. He is also a musician and playwright.

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