TAMPA — As his No. 99 jersey was retired and his name was added to the Bucs' Ring of Honor during halftime Monday night, Warren Sapp found a more personal moment than even this past summer, when he was enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
"My bust may seem comfy in Canton, Ohio, but my heart and soul is here in Tampa Bay," the former defensive tackle said in closing his remarks, thanking his teammates, coaches and fans.
Moments later, speaking to reporters and comparing the two great moments of his postcareer honors, Sapp said Monday's ceremony — his "99 SAPP" was unveiled as fans cheered and fireworks erupted — meant more because it was where his career happened.
"This felt a lot better than Canton, because this is home," Sapp, 40, said. "We raised this thing from the ground up, over there in the parking lot across the street. We moved over here and got a world championship. This is home."
Fans enjoyed video messages during timeouts, from former Sapp teammates Derrick Brooks and Ronde Barber and former coaches Tony Dungy and Jon Gruden, who were both in attendance. Sapp received his Hall of Fame ring and joined the Bucs' ring, surrounded by so many key players from Tampa Bay's 2002 Super Bowl team: John Lynch, Mike Alstott, Simeon Rice, Brad Johnson and more.
"When I think of my teams and the 16 years I played, there's one player that jumps to the forefront, for a lot of reasons," Barber told reporters after the ceremonies.
"For his play, obviously, and for his personality, the character that he was. That's Buccaneer for me. I'm glad I could be here for this."
Sapp is the fifth inductee into the Bucs' Ring of Honor, joining Hall of Famer Lee Roy Selmon, former coach John McKay, tight end Jimmie Giles and tackle Paul Gruber. Giles and Gruber, the only living members of the group, were present Monday.