PFT Bucs Mt. Rushmore: Selmon, Sapp, Brooks, Barber
It may not actually be carved in stone, but if there was a Mt. Rushmore for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, it would include defensive end Lee Roy Selmon, defensive tackle Warren Sapp, linebacker Derrick Brooks and cornerback Ronde Barber, according to a fan vote conducted by ProFootballTalk.com.
Selmon, Sapp and Brooks were virtual no-brainers. Selmon and Sapp are the club's only players to be elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame and Brooks, who is eligible next year, is likely to join them on his first try.
Barber retired last month after 16 seasons with the most games played in franchise history. He actually finished third in fan voting with Selmon coming in fourth. Sapp received the most votes followed by Brooks.
Fifth was safety John Lynch (36 percent) followed by Mike Alstott (28 percent), Tony Dungy (24 percent), Warrick Dunn (16 percent), Jon Gruden and Monte Kiffin (12 percent), Hardy Nickerson (8 percent) and Paul Gruber (4 percent).
Selmon, the first player ever selected by the Bucs with the first overall pick in the 1976 draft, played nine seasons and was one fo the most dominant players of his era, earning six selections to the Pro Bowl. He finished with 78.5 sacks, 28.5 forced fumbles and 742 tackles before a back injury forced him to retire following the 1984 season. He was the NFL's Defensive Player of the Year in 1979 while leading the Bucs to the NFC Championship game, where they lost 9-3 to the Los Angeles Rams.
A community icon who was responsible for bringing football to the University of South Florida, Selmon died Sept. 4, 2011.
Sapp joined Selmon as only the second player to be elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Feb. He set the gold standard for under tackles in the NFL and is among only 12 players to be named to two All-Decade teams. Sapp helped transform a Buccaneers franchise from unlovable losers to Super Bowl XXXVII champions during the prime of his 13 NFL seasons that also included the final four years with the Oakland Raiders. He was a member of the league's All-Decade team for the 1990s and 2000s; defensive player of the year in '99; Super Bowl champion; seven-time Pro Bowl selection; and his 96 1/2 sacks are the second-highest career total for a defensive tackle.
Brooks played all 14 pro seasons for the Bucs and is recognized as one of the best linebackers in league history. Selected in the first round of the '95 draft along with Sapp, he was an 11-time Pro Bowl player and the NFL's Defensive Player of the Year in 2002, leading the Bucs to a win over the Oakland Raiders in Super Bowl XXXVII.
Barber retired last month after 16 seasons and finished with the most games played by a Buccaneer. The five-time Pro Bowl pick was selected by the Bucs in the third round of the 1997 NFL Draft and played his entire career in Tampa. He finished his NFL career with 28 sacks and 47 interceptions including eight returned for touchdowns.
Fans had a chance to vote from a list of 12 finalists that included Alstott, Barber, Brooks, Dungy, Dunn, Gruber, Gruden, Kiffin, Lynch, Nickerson, Sapp and Selmon.
Dungy said he would've included Alstott on the Bucs' Mt. Rushmore in place of Barber.
"He was the face of the franchise,'' Dungy said, who noted there should be an offensive player. Brooks said he would've incliuded Lynch to go with Selmon, Sapp and himself.