Sapp Q&A: From "Sapp Night" to texting Favre to Bucs w/out Brooks
We gave you an excerpt earlier of ex-Buc Warren Sapp's comments today at One Buc Place.
Here's some more tid-bits from Sapp's candid session with the local media, including him saying "I'm a Buc until the day I die."
(on Raheem Morris being the new coach)
Sapp: This game has a great way of humbling you and he had a humble background when he started here and now he has a team ready to follow him and so I'm going to give him as much support as I can, but I know it's going to be nightmare for him and he's going to have some sleepless nights. I just want to tap him on the shoulder and let him know you got the support of all the boys that you felt when you walked in this place. We're all behind you.
(On the Bucs new defense, and new coordinator, Jim Bates)
Sapp: I don't know. I mean, I know of him and I played against him for many years, but I don't know that much about him. But he's been in this league and nothing teaches you this game but this game. I'm sure he'll do a wonderful job for them. There's going to be a change, because we're not seeing Kiffin on the sideline, but it'll be all right. They don't play the Tampa 2 anymore, the horses don't pull that wagon anymore, they got a new system, they're going to call it all different names and different terminologies.
And sometimes that's good, because now, all these kids are going to learn the same thing at the same time and once you have everybody on the same page, I just like the numbers they have, because when you have your team and the come together and run together and live together and run this game together, I like their numbers. I like that.
(On what he thought about the way Derrick Brooks was let go, and what advice he' have for him)
Sapp: It's an ugly situation. It's an ugly situation for any 30-something dude in this league. It's just not an opportune time to, you know, be way under the cap or have a number that's not worth worrying about. It's just the economics of the game. Year after year, in 1999, when Hardy (Nickerson) came up and he was a free agent and all of a sudden, our leader that had led us to that point was gone. That's the business of the game, but it's hard to see that guy, in this place not be here. Forever and a day, that was the one piece, that was going to be here. I mean, I knew my day was coming. But not his.
(On if he thinks Brooks will end up playing somewhere else)
Sapp: If I had a team I'd wind up taking him in a heartbeat. But Warren don't have a team. Warren's team is the media now. I don't think he wants that.
(On if he liked the Bucs picking Josh Freeman)
Sapp: He has great upside, but as far as you can go up is as far as you can go up. That's the beauty of this league and the challenge that's presented, to look and see. Imagine Tom Brady at the 199th pick; nobody saw that. You don't see six straight Pro Bowls in Jesse Armstead at the 209th pick. You never know where your treasure is going to be found, But I like it. You talk about a monster standing in the pocket. If you've got an athletic, muscle-bound quarterback that can throw the ball anywhere, teach him the game and see what he can do.
(On if he thinks there will be a "Warren Sapp Night"?
Sapp: I would love it. It's something that would be fantastic. Everybody should have a chance to come back and say thank you for what these fans did for me all these years. I used to go in that north end zone and it was like my living room. It was an absolute pleasure to be in that place.
(On his take on Michael Vick)
Sapp: My take is, we've always been a country of second chances. That's the essence of us. Have some contrition for what you did, pay your price and come back and be a better person or show you're a little different person. But we've never been a one strike and you're out. That's never been our mentality on anything, so let's just take the venom out. The PETA people and all, just take the venom out.
This is a human we're talking about. The man went from being on top of the world to ... you can't go any lower than that. They won't even take his bankruptcy plan. How much more do you have to do? I understand that people love their dogs and it was a horrible thing, but has he paid his debt? I would think so. And if I had an offense and he could wildcat me to a win and a playoff, come on over, bud. This is a country of second chances. He hasn't done anything that eggregious. Not in my eyes. I don't do dogs, cats, nothing. Tropical fish is my thing. Get in the tank and I'll feed you over the top, that's it.
Q: What did you make of what happened here after you won the Super Bowl?
Sapp: It was in the locker room. We came back after winning the title and everybody knows the process in which you have to do to become whatever you became. Nobody had anything other to do than to come here and work. And then we get into the season and Keyshawn [Johnson] turns into, "I hate you, I hate your offense," and then we went through that for four weeks and [Coach Jon Gruden] finally makes a decision to get him off the team. And then you have guys in the locker room that were, "Well, I was with Key and this is right, this is wrong," and we do 7-9 and your season is gone and your championship run is over.
It all came from inside. You could watch the threads coming loose. You could see it mounting, and we were like, "How do we stop this?," And Brooks says, "Let's just play, man, we play our game, and we'll play through it." But ever time, something kept getting in. It just didn't feel right. Every time we came together, we weren't together. And every time we tried to get back to doing the things we did before, like the D-line Thursday night out, it was a fizz. Somebody was always, "I got something else to do." It wasn't a unit anymore. We'd gotten the prize and we all put our rings on and we just separated. We weren't a unit anymore. Then we come back the following year and I'm gone, John Lynch is gone, and we're trying to put the pieces back together and you got Kiffin doing his thing and Gruden pulling the other way trying to get him some pieces because he wants to light up the scoreboard.
But this thing was built on defense, and you look at the defensive side and it's not the same unit. So how do you base your team on a unit that you haven't made sure stayed intact and has the horses to pull the carriage? Now you've got an OK defense with an OK offense and nothing is special. You don't have a superior defense to be able play Buc Ball – 17 points a game.
(On how long it seems since he won a Super Bowl with the Bucs)
Sapp: It seems like yesterday. You spend your whole life running to that one Sunday afternoon, ready to go for the ultimate prize on the face of the earth. It seems like yesterday. I still remember them not introducing the teams and everything, the dude rolling around on the ground, the ball coming out – fumble. Of course it was a fumble. It's us.
(On if Tim Tebow could play QB in the NFL)
Sapp: I don't know. Because I used to just look at like, height, weight, size, whatever, can he throw the ball. The game is so much more than that now and he has all the intangibles. The fire, the leadership, all that. But can he drop back and do what the pro game is asking? I don't know. But I'd sure like to have him on my team and give it a shot because it looks impressive.
(On if he's tired of hearing about Brett Favre)
Sapp: I guess I'll do the Trent Dilfer. I had the text message. I said, this is Warren asking a friend, "What are you going to do?" And he asked me, "What do you think I should do?" I said, you know what, that's the end of this conversation. I just ended it. I just wish he'd make a decision and go with it, because I think he gets sick of it. I'm sure he's sick of looking at his phone and getting text messages from me and Dilfer and the rest of the guys that want to get the scoop. Just make the decision to let it go.
(On his attachment still with the Bucs)
Sapp: You have to believe that. I'm a Buccaneer to the day I die. That's the only thing I'll ever be. I went out to Oakland, played four years and won 15 games. I know exactly what it is and what I was in the middle of. I'm a Buc, buddy. I went over there to [old] One Buc Place and nearly cried when I saw it broke down like that. It hurt. It's a good place with fond memories. Some bad memories in there, too, some crazy days. But we got it right. And I look back over it, I spent nine years in Tampa and only three of them were losing seasons – my first two and my last one. The rest, we were on it.
(On if he'll have a hard time getting in the Hall of Fame)
Sapp: I didn't play for that. I never played for somebody that never played the game to say "I validate your career." That's never been my thing. I played for 44, 47, 53, my peers and those who played against me. If you had a ballclub and you had a defense, you were taking 99 with you. That's the only way I played. That's the only reason I played.
- JOE SMITH