'The Golden Gladiator' author shares story of getting back on the football field at 64 years old
SARASOTA, Fla. - The game of football has always played a huge part in 72-year-old Michael Lynch's life, but many of his glory days on the gridiron aren't so distant.
After high school on Long Island, Michael played a little in college and then went on to play semi-pro football in New York. He even landed a tryout with the New York Jets in 1974.
"Lou Holtz was the only coach to ever cut me when he coached with the Jets," Lynch said.
In 1977, at 28 years old, he decided to call it a career. Fast-forward 35 years later and Lynch said he had an epiphany in 2012 while watching his nephew play high school football. He knew he had to get back on the gridiron.
At 65 years old, Lynch, who was living in Sarasota, asked the owner of the Millionaires, a local semi-pro team, if he could try out for the squad. Twenty practices later, he made the team.
For the next four years, Lynch lined up against guys in their 20s, many of whom played Division I college football.
Lynch said that while it added a few plays to his career highlight reel, being a part of the team was the best part.
"I was embraced. Loved those guys as much as they loved me. I wanted to be the best teammate I could possibly be," Lynch said.
Lynch said leaving the team at 68 years old was the hardest part of it all.
"It was literally the best four years of my life, that’s how much I loved it," Lynch said.
Now, Lynch has chronicled his story in his autobiography titled The Golden Gladiator. He hopes the book serves as inspiration to those still following their dreams of yesteryear.
"Most of us would like to get into that time machine, turn back the dial and go back to those glory days," Lynch said.
It turns out, if your will and determination are strong enough, the time machine's not required.