SANTA CLARA (CBS SF) — Before he was the general manager of the San Francisco 49ers, John Lynch was a hard-hitting safety in the NFL and for his play he was named to the NFL Hall of Fame Saturday night.

Fittingly, the honor came on the eve of a the Super Bowl showdown between the Tampa Bay Bucs and the Kansas City Chiefs. Lynch — who was a nine-time Pro Bowl selection — earned a Super Bowl ring with the Buccaneers in Super Bowl XXXVII.

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As a general manager, Lynch has masterminded the transformation of the 49ers into one of the league’s top franchises and guided them to the Super Bowl last season where they lost to the Chiefs.

“Over the last four years, John’s leadership has been instrumental in building a sustainable championship culture here with the 49ers. We are so happy for the Lynch family as they celebrate this wonderful accomplishment,” said 49ers CEO Jed York.

“John has certainly earned the right to be called a Hall of Famer and take his place in Canton among the all-time greats of the game,” York continued. “Opponents knew him as a smart and physically intimidating player, while his coaches and teammates knew him to be a tremendous leader.”

Lynch took to social media Saturday night, calling the honor humbling.

“I wanted to share some special news with you,” Lynch said on Twitter from Tampa. “Two weeks ago on Championship Sunday, I received a pretty special knock at the front door of our home in San Diego, surrounded by my family and loved ones, I got the news that I was going to be enshrined into the class of 2021 in the Pro Football Hall Of Fame.”

Lynch, always a team player, thanked his teammates throughout his career.

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“I want to thank all my teammates of all the great teams I’ve had the pleasure and honor to play for,” he said. “That’s going back to Torrey Pines High School, Stanford University, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers where I was drafted in 1993… Played 11 years here from the yuks to the world champs.”