Denver Broncos safety John Lynch said Monday that he's still pondering retirement even as he prepares for his ninth trip to the Pro Bowl.
"The answer is that I haven't made that decision yet. I'm not being evasive or anything. It's just being true with you that I haven't come to that time," Lynch said before a ceremony in which his foundation honored outstanding local student-athletes.
"I've spent a lot of time just being a dad, being a husband," since the Broncos' season ended without a trip to the playoffs for the second straight year, Lynch said.
Earlier this month, Lynch was named to his ninth Pro Bowl, replacing the injured Bob Sanders of Indianapolis.
"It's going to be a fun trip over there. I've stayed workout out the entire time, so I'm looking forward to that. And I think it will be a good time to get over there and be around some football and reflect on things a little bit," said Lynch, whose nine Pro Bowls rank second among safeties in NFL history, trailing only Ken Houston's 10 nominations from 1970-79 with the Houston Oilers and Washington Redskins.
Lynch has made it to Hawaii in each of his four seasons in Denver following a standout career in Tampa Bay, where he won a Super Bowl ring.
The 15-year veteran said he knows he can still play to his high standard but isn't sure he's willing to put in the work anymore to stay at that level or whether it's time to walk away healthy and focus on his family -- he and his wife, Linda, have four children -- and maybe a broadcasting career.
"I'm comfortable that I still can" still play at a Pro Bowl level, Lynch said. "Now, it's just, 'Can I put that energy into it that I need to play at that level?"'
The answer has been elusive.
Lynch said he doesn't have a timetable to make up his mind although he doesn't want to drag it out too long.
"Obviously, I'm not going to let this thing go on forever," Lynch said. "I'm a person who kind of craves certainty in my life anyway. When I know, you guys will know. I'm not trying to hold this from anyone. But I've just been consulting with my family.
"You don't know how much energy it takes to come back and do this thing, and if I come back and do it, I want to do it right."
It's not as though he's leaning one way or another or changing his mind every other day, he said.
"For a long time, I didn't even think about it," Lynch said. "Got away from football, took my family up in the mountains, skied a little bit. I don't know if I'm supposed to say that -- excuse me, I took my family skiing -- had a great time and it's not like I'm sitting laboring over a decision, just letting it come to me."
Lynch was dinged up quite a bit last season, missing a game with a groin injury and two more because of a stinger in his neck, which he suffered against Green Bay in late October. The neck injury had him worried at first because he experienced numbness in his hands but was reassured it was just a pinched nerve and unrelated to the neck surgery he had while playing for the Buccaneers.
Lynch said that while he was spooked by the neck injury, it's not a factor in his future because experts told him his neck was structurally sound and he finished out the final five games without any problems.
"Obviously, leaving the game in good health is part of it, but that specifically is not even something that's a concern of mine," Lynch said.
If Lynch returns in 2008, he'll play for his third defensive coordinator in three years. Secondary coach Bob Slowik was promoted to defensive boss after coach Mike Shanahan fired Jim Bates.
"I'm really excited. He's worked very hard in this league for a long time, and I think it's going to be a good fit," Lynch said. "He knows what Mike wants. I think he's going to do a nice job."