Tom Jones' two cents
The Bucs announced last week that Warren Sapp will be the fifth person inducted into their Ring of Honor. Just like the four previous inductees, Sapp is certainly deserving. But one name remains missing from the Ring, and it would appear this name will go on missing for years.
Again, you can't argue with any of the names already in the Ring. There isn't one you look at and think, "Hmm, he doesn't belong.'' They all belong.
Lee Roy Selmon was the first honoree, in 2009. The defensive end was the logical first choice. He was the first and, at the time, only Hall of Famer in Bucs history.
The next year, John McKay, the team's first coach, was inducted. He, too, made sense.
Tight end Jimmie Giles was the next selection, in 2011. He was a bit of a surprise choice but a deserving one.
Then came 2012. Based on the first three to go into the Ring and when they played for the Bucs, Williams seemed next in line. But the Bucs jumped ahead to Paul Gruber. It was then we all realized the offensive tackle was the bridge from the old creamsicle Bucs to the modern day, Super Bowl-pewter Bucs.
And so, here we are with Sapp being the first of the more recent Bucs going into the Ring.
This was Sapp's year with his induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame coming this summer. It was only natural he go into the Ring in 2013.
Next year should be Derrick Brooks' year. He likely will be elected to the Hall of Fame, then join Sapp in the Ring.
Suddenly, it looks like planes lining up on a runway with the Super Bowl-era Bucs waiting their turn to move into the Ring. After Sapp and, I assume, Brooks will come, in no particular order, John Lynch, Mike Alstott and Ronde Barber. Somewhere in there will be coaches Tony Dungy and Jon Gruden. Maybe owner Malcolm Glazer eventually goes in.
We might be looking at 11 or 12 names before Williams is even considered.
When you have a franchise that has been around since 1976 and you're honoring only one person per year, there is going to be a waiting list and some names are going to be left out longer than they should. Some deserving names might never get in.
But don't you get the feeling the Bucs are purposefully not inducting Williams?
Let's face it: Williams and the Bucs have had a rocky relationship. They, essentially, were married and got divorced, got remarried and divorced again. When Williams left the Bucs front office in May 2011, it was a contentious split.
You have to wonder if Williams will be honored as long as the Glazers own the team. Maybe everyone is scared of what Williams might say about the Bucs if given an open mike in front of 50,000 people.
That's too bad because regardless of whatever issues Williams and the Bucs have had with each other, he had a major impact on this franchise. He quarterbacked the Bucs to their first three playoff appearances and became one of the most popular athletes in Tampa Bay history.
Put it this way: He was popular enough and good enough that someone should honor him. Someone like the Bucs.
Fire and ice
Warren Sapp was full of good cheer last week when it was announced the Bucs were retiring his number and putting him into their Ring of Honor. He praised former coach Tony Dungy. He praised former coach Jon Gruden, adding (in a good way), "He was a nut.'' He even praised the late kooky owner of the Raiders, Al Davis. • But when asked to describe his relationship with former Bucs defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin, Sapp said, "Fire and ice.'' • Huh? • "It could be as hot as all outdoors and as cold as the arctic — both poles,'' Sapp said. • Sapp admitted he and Kiffin had different philosophies on defense, including how to rush the quarterback. But Sapp also pointed out how Kiffin loved the spotlight. • How do the two get along today? • "We're good,'' Sapp said. "We're not great, but we're good. That's all I can say about it.''
Rays pitcher David Price went on a Twitter rampage to criticize umpire Tom Hallion after a dustup last week in Chicago. I understand why Price was upset. Hallion verbally accosted Price during a game even though Price never said anything to him. Price claims Hallion cursed at him, and Hallion called Price a "liar.''
Hallion was fined $1,000 (Price was, too, by the way.) Price still wasn't satisfied. He wants Hallion to apologize. And I get it. I wouldn't want anyone calling me a liar either. But Price needs to let it go. Everyone was fined. Now let's move on.
The last thing Price needs at this point is to prolong a feud with an umpire. It serves no purpose. Nothing good can come out of it. Just drop it already.
Bad hit, worse comment
The Senators' Eric Gryba hit the Canadiens' Lars Eller with a blindside shot to the head Thursday night, giving Eller a concussion, facial fractures and severe dental damage. Gryba isn't known as a dirty player, and he likely didn't mean for Eller to be injured. Still, it was a disrespectful hit, the type the NHL is desperately trying to eliminate from the game.
So shame on Ottawa coach Paul MacLean for blaming Montreal's Raphael Diaz for passing the puck and putting Eller in a vulnerable position — kind of like a quarterback leading a receiver into a hard-hitting defender. When the coaches and players make excuses and can't show the proper respect for each other, these ugly incidents will continue to happen.
Three things that popped into my head
1. Once again, the Redskins' nickname is under scrutiny because it is offensive to Native Americans. The name is never going to be changed. Still, I find it outrageous when those out there tell others they shouldn't be offended by something. Non-Native Americans not finding it offensive doesn't mean a thing. If Native Americans are offended by that name, who is anyone to tell them they shouldn't?
2. Last April, the Blue Jays were 12-11. This April, after all the offseason trades and signings, the Jays were 10-17.
3. For those who think NBA player Jason Collins announced he was gay so he could cash in financially, you should know this: Collins has made more than $32 million over his career. He doesn't need the money.