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Arden Key awestruck by 49ers' John Lynch at Combine meeting

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Arden Key met formally with 16 NFL clubs at the NFL Scouting Combine last week, and came across more than his share of coaches and general managers whose names he knew well. But the one with whom he was most in awe was San Francisco 49ers general manager John Lynch.

"I was star-struck when I shook his hand," Key said. "I had watched his highlights on YouTube, and you can see the tenacity and the passion he had for the game as a player."

The former Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Denver Broncos star, with nine Pro Bowls to his credit, is entering his second season as the 49ers' general manager. An edge pass rusher is a primary need for San Francisco, and the former LSU star believes he'd be a nice fit there.

"(Lynch) was a great guy. He was calm in the meeting room, trying to get to know me, very dialed in and looking at me in the eye the whole time," Key said. "He and coach (Kyle) Shanahan were both very impressive. I know 15 minutes (for a meeting at the combine) isn't a big window where you can totally understand a person, so that's why you fly out to meet with teams more in the weeks before the draft."

Each team is permitted to host 30 prospects on visits, and Key hopes San Francisco will be on his travel itinerary. But for now, he doesn't have any visits scheduled. He didn't run a 40-yard dash or test in the bench press at the combine, and he'll be training for both extensively leading up to LSU's April 4 pro day. In fact, he flew directly to Phoenix, back to the EXOS training facility where he prepared for the combine, when he left Indianapolis.

"I'm open to visiting a team before pro day, but I'd probably rather just focus on my training until then if possible," he said. "I'll still have a couple weeks to take visits after pro day, and I'll probably be traveling just about every day."

Along with running the 40 and testing in the bench press, Key intends to re-test in the vertical and broad jump at pro day, as well. He recorded 31 inches and 9-foot-9 in those events, respectively, at the combine.

"I've got a lot to get ready for, and everything I hear is that the coaches try to kill you at pro day," he said. "They want to push you to exhaustion and see what you can bring when you're tired. I'll be ready for that."

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