Make us your home page

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Sapp could start glut of Bucs in Hall

Judging from discussions with many members of the selection committee, Derrick Brooks, left, is likely a first-ballot selection, as Warren Sapp, right, was.


Judging from discussions with many members of the selection committee, Derrick Brooks, left, is likely a first-ballot selection, as Warren Sapp, right, was.

TAMPA — Warren Sapp's improbable journey from a dirt road in Plymouth, near Orlando, to the steps of the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio, will be completed during his enshrinement ceremony Aug. 3.

"There will be two buses leaving from my mother's front door," Sapp said. "And listen to this. How wild are these numbers? George Halas Hall is 999 miles from the front door of my mama's house."

Sapp's No. 99 that he wore for the Bucs and Raiders was a fixture in the opponent's backfield during his 13 seasons. He was a member of the league's All-Decade teams for the 1990s and 2000s; defensive player of the year in '99; a Super Bowl XXXVII champion; and a seven-time Pro Bowl selection with 961/2 career sacks, second-most for a defensive tackle.

He will join Lee Roy Selmon as the only Bucs in the Hall. But they shouldn't have to wait long for company.

LB Derrick Brooks is eligible in 2014, and judging from discussions with many members of the selection committee, he is likely a first-ballot selection. Brooks was an 11-time Pro Bowl player and the defensive player of the year in 2002, when he led the Bucs to the Super Bowl victory over the Raiders. He also was a member of the All-Decade team for the 2000s.

Former Bucs and Colts coach Tony Dungy also is eligible for the Hall in 2014. Dungy might not be a slam dunk to be elected on his first try, though his accomplishments seem worthy. He went 139-69 (a .668 winning percentage) in 13 seasons, had an NFL-record 10 straight playoff appearances and won Super Bowl XLI as a head coach. (He also was a player on the Steelers' Super Bowl XIII winning team).

Some voters might believe Dungy should've won more Super Bowls, particularly with Peyton Manning in Indianapolis. But his overall contribution to the league might push him over the top. He was the first black head coach to win a Super Bowl.

And his success as a coach produced a stellar tree of minority head coaches that included Herm Edwards, Lovie Smith, Mike Tomlin and Leslie Frazier. In a league that just had eight head coach and seven general manager openings and did not have one filled by a minority candidate, Dungy's influence can't be overlooked.

RING OF HONOR: Sapp, who should receive his Hall of Fame ring in a ceremony at Raymond James Stadium during the 2013 season, needs to also be immediately inducted into the team's Ring of Honor and his No. 99 retired. That should be followed closely by Brooks and Dungy.

I'M THINKING: These thoughts:

Ronde Barber will return for a 17th season if the job and the money are right. Former Bucs coach Raheem Morris, Barber's close friend, told him to play until the wheels fall off. Barber's move to safety was a great one, and he showed no signs of slowing last season. We should know something by the beginning of March.

• The Bucs are perfect candidates to play in the Hall of Fame game Aug. 4 in Canton, Ohio. Not only is Sapp being inducted a day earlier — and the team would benefit from the history lesson — but it would let coach Greg Schiano start training camp a week early and play a fifth preseason game. The Bucs have not played in the game since 1998.

• When Schiano's 24-man coaching staff was officially announced last week, I thought: That's a heck of a lot of coaches, nearly one for every two players on the 53-man roster. Also, nearly half of them coached with Schiano at Rutgers. The man has a certain way of doing things, and he might not be easy to work for. Also, linebackers coach Bob Fraser — from Rutgers — was promoted to assistant defensive coordinator. That's a title I'm not familiar with, and you wonder why it was necessary to have an assistant for coordinator Bill Sheridan. Incidentally, Fraser was replaced by Robb Smith from, wait for it, Rutgers.

Sapp could start glut of Bucs in Hall 02/09/13 [Last modified: Wednesday, February 13, 2013 11:15pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. The people you meet along O.J. Howard Lane


    AUTAUGAVILLE, Ala. —The screen door hangs open to Laura's Country Kitchen but the dining room is empty with no one to feed.

  2. Lightning opens day two of draft by taking Russian forwards


    After taking a big defenseman in the first round, the Lightning opened the second day of the NHL Draft by selecting a couple skilled Russian forwards.

  3. Kids still playing for all the marbles — literally

    Human Interest

    In this world of pompous athletes, overbearing coaches, money-grubbing owners and a win-at-all-costs mindset, it's easy to become jaded.

    Eli Murphy, right, leans in to give Sierra Ricci the traditional king and queen kiss at the National Marbles Championship in Wildwood, N.J. Both of Allegheny County Pa., they won the girls and boys championship of the 94th annual National Marbles Tournament. [Associated Press]
  4. Lightning takes defenseman Cal Foote with top pick in draft

    Lightning Strikes

    CHICAGO — Former Avalanche defenseman Adam Foote said his son Cal lived in the locker room.

    Cal Foote, second from left, is welcomed to the Lightning by GM Steve Yzerman, far left.