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Lynch Helps Solidify Line
August 8 2002
By Bryan Hersh of 49ers Paradise
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It took one pre-season game, two starting offensive lineman getting injured, three free agent centers signing with the 49ers, and countless botched snaps before the 49ers realized that there backup center should really be Ben Lynch. On Wednesday the 49ers re-signed Lynch who has been with the 49ers since 1999.

Lynch was tendered a contract offer earlier this off-season, which was later rescinded. Since then hes been working out and waiting for a team to call. He was quite offended when the 49ers signed center Ben Fricke (who has since been released to make room for Lynch), but was clearly more than willing to re-join the 49ers.

At center, Lynch has played well. Last season he played through immense pain when Jeremy Newberry went down, and did a good job. That of course should come as no surprise, as Lynch has been nothing but good and reliable since joining the 49ers.

With Lynch back on the team, the 49ers are expected to move Dave Fiore back to his left guard position. They will also move Matt Willig (who was filling in for Fiore) to the right guard spot in place of Ron Stone. The team still hopes to get Willig some practice time at the tackle position. Of course when Newberry returns to the lineup, Lynch will take a back seat and nearly everything will return to normal (especially if Stone returns at the same time).

With Lynch the 49ers have added key depth to their offensive line, one of the shallowest areas of the team. Rookie Eric Heitmann can now focus primarily on the guard position, and that will be key to his development, since rookies have enough to deal with in learning just one position. It will also give Fiore some much needed practice at his position. Lynch is expected to be in practice today.

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