Gerald McCoy is feeling underappreciated again. He says somebody has crossed the line this time. He's speaking out and suggesting he might be gone "soon enough" from Tampa Bay.
At least that's the message McCoy, the Bucs' five-time Pro Bowl defensive tackle, delivered during a brief rant on Twitter Monday morning.
"They won't appreciate you until you're gone," McCoy tweeted. "Soon enough though. Then we'll see.
"No more being quiet. I'm done holding my tongue. Believe that!
"You try and try with people but they don't get it. They push you and push you until you cross that line. Well line crossed."
It's unclear what or whom McCoy is referring to, but a likely candidate is former Bucs cornerback Ronde Barber, who also serves as the team's TV analyst during the preseason. In a story in Sunday's Tampa Bay Times, Barber was asked which Bucs players are "badass," a phrase used by coach Dirk Koetter to describe what he wants the identity of his team to be.
"But you see an attitude emerging, especially at linebacker," Barber said. "Those two guys, Lavonte (David) and Kwon (Alexander) have to be able to drive the bus, especially Kwon, because he has so much energy. If he can consistently be that guy, it will raise the defense. I love Gerald (McCoy), but for a defensive tackle to drive a team, he has to have a huge personality. I mean the personality of (Warren) Sapp or a John Randle."
A portion of the story was picked up by a fan website with the headline Gerald McCoy is no badass, says Ronde Barber. When asked by the Times about his critique Monday, Barber, who covers the NFL for Fox, said his comments were sensationalized.
"I can draw from my time playing of course, but I'm just an analyst now and in my opinion when I watch film, 93 (McCoy) is unblockable at times!" Barber said. "Most teams that I speak to game plan specifically for him. That anyone would assume I would say the best player on the defense isn't a bad dude is irresponsible and sensationalizing a quote to serve their own means."
About a half-hour after his three condemning tweets, McCoy attempted to douse the fire he started. "Training camp, 2017-18 season … LET'S GO!!" McCoy tweeted. "Now it's really time to go!! No more talking or tweeting."
McCoy, who has recorded 331/2 of his 421/2 career sacks in the past four seasons, isn't leaving Tampa Bay anytime soon. He signed a six-year, $95.2 million contract in 2015. The Bucs could part ways with him following the 2018 season and suffer only a $500,000 hit on the salary cap.
But there is no indication he's feeling underappreciated by the Bucs organization. "Not by us," general manager Jason Licht said Monday.
Rays pitcher Chris Archer wasted no time Monday supporting McCoy on Twitter.
"I admire your work on the field, passion off the field and desire to be great," Archer tweeted. "I appreciate you!!"
Bucs veteran players report to training camp on Thursday. Unintentionally or not, McCoy provided HBO's Hard Knocks its first storyline.
McCoy has never had to look very hard for a shoulder chip. From the time he became the third overall pick by the Bucs in 2010, he has had to play in the shadow of Sapp, a Pro Football Hall of Fame defensive tackle.
It's an unfair comparison for any player, but also inevitable. It's also hard to imagine McCoy's personality being more of a polar opposite than Sapp's, both on and off the field. McCoy's demeanor compares more favorably to Lee Roy Selmon's.
In fact, in their latest promotional trailer for Hard Knocks, HBO featured McCoy working out and running the steps at Raymond James Stadium.
"Sure, you sacked a couple of quarterbacks," the narrator said. "Put up some impressive numbers. But at the beginning of each new season, you're just a blank slate again … you're not truly great yet. But you can be."
In April, McCoy said three "credible sources" at the Pro Bowl in January gave him a "reality check" about what he has accomplished during his time in Tampa.
"The gist of what it is, is I haven't done enough to lead this team," McCoy said. "Simple as that. If this team goes to the next level, as much as you need a franchise quarterback and those things are great, this organization, this team to win a Super Bowl was built on defense. That guy in the middle is what makes everything roll. Of course, they brought 99 (Sapp) to me numerous times. Any dominant defense had a dominant guy in the middle and basically, I just haven't been enough for my team."
McCoy took something else personal on Monday. It remains to be seen what it will mean when he crosses the white lines.