Lynn likes pressure of having his coaching dad around
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There is no time for quick glances across the field, no opportunities for a loving father to keep tabs on his only son.
In the organized chaos of rookie mini-camp, the tutoring of young minds must come first for Jets running backs coach Anthony Lynn. And while he keeps a watchful eye on the offense, 22-year-old D'Anton Lynn, a former Penn State cornerback, runs drills with the defense.
The younger Lynn is one of three undrafted free-agent rookies signed by the Jets whose fathers played in the NFL. But unlike Matt Simms (son of Giants icon Phil Simms) and Joe Suhey (son of Matt Suhey, the fullback who opened holes for Walter Payton), D'Anton is the only one vying for a roster spot with his father a half-field away.
But that added pressure also helped fuel his decision to sign with the Jets.
"I kind of wanted that, because when you're faced against that added pressure, it gives you no choice but to perform at your best," said D'Anton, whose birth name is Anthony. "So with my dad being here every single day, just knowing that that's over me, it's just going to bring the best out of me."
Both said they at first were unsure how they'd balance their professional responsibilities. But within minutes of stepping on the practice field Friday, father and son had forgotten about one another.
"Him and I are so close and I'm so hands on with him," the elder Lynn said later that day in the Jets' fieldhouse. "I was a little concerned about looking over and seeing how he was doing, and if he was doing well or bad, and how that would affect me on the field and my mood. But I can tell you I didn't even notice he was on the field. So it was easier than I thought."
Said D'Anton: "They've thrown so much of the playbook at us, my head's been spinning out there. During practice, I forget he's even out there."
However, his father -- a former NFL running back who won two Super Bowl titles with the Denver Broncos -- admitted he'd likely be seeking scouting reports from the defensive coaches "if I didn't have anything to do."
When they leave the facility, "we'll be father-son," D'Anton said. But at all other times, his father remains "coach Lynn."
Their situation is unique, but having grown up around the NFL gives D'Anton a distinct mental advantage, he said. There also is very a strict standard in the Lynn home -- one to which the coach said his son always has adhered.
Jets coach Rex Ryan has complimented the cornerback's intelligence, tackling skills and versatility, adding that D'Anton also impressed special-teams coordinator Mike Westhoff. Despite only three days of practice, D'Anton is confident he has a shot to make the team.
"You don't make it to this level without that attitude," he said. "And all the guys that are on the team have that attitude or they wouldn't be here."