Raymond James Stadium is the house that Warren Sapp built. Now he will be a permanent fixture inside of it.
Sapp, 40, the former Bucs' Pro Bowl defensive tackle and the second Tampa Bay player elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame, confirmed he will become the fifth inductee into the team's Ring of Honor in 2013.
"I used to go to other stadiums and I would always look to see who was up there," Sapp said Tuesday. "It's a great honor and I was almost speechless when the Glazers told me. Everyone always said it was the house that Sapp built. Whenever we played, there was always a sign that said this is Sapp's house."
The official announcement will be 1:30 p.m. Thursday at One Buc Place and Sapp said he will attend. His name and No. 99 will be unveiled during a ceremony at halftime of an undisclosed regular-season game this year.
It will be Sapp's second induction ceremony of 2013. He is part of the Pro Football Hall class that will be enshrined Aug. 3 in Canton, Ohio.
Sapp, along with players such as Derrick Brooks and John Lynch, helped transform a Buccaneers franchise from unlovable losers to Super Bowl XXXVII champions during the prime of his 13 NFL seasons, the final four with the Raiders. He was on the league's All-Decade team for the 1990s and 2000s; defensive player of the year in 1999; seven-time Pro Bowl selection; and his 961/2 sacks are second-most for a defensive tackle.
Tuesday, Sapp told the story of going up as a rookie against seven-time Pro Bowl guard Chris Hinton of the Vikings. Randall McDaniel was the Vikings' other guard, so Sapp thought he'd try his luck with Hinton. "(Hinton) grabbed me, head butted me and called me names," Sapp said. "I went back to Randall McDaniel because I felt I might get my (butt) kicked but at least I won't get chastised.
"Years later, I was in Indianapolis covering the combine and I looked up and saw Hinton's name up on the stadium. I told Mooch (Steve Mariucci) I didn't know he had played for the Colts. He said, 'Yeah, they traded Elway for him.' That's what the Ring of Honor means to me. That's what it means when they put your name on the building and you know it will never come down."
In February Sapp was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame, joining Bucs defensive end Lee Roy Selmon, who was enshrined in 1995. Selmon was the first member of the Bucs' Ring of Honor at RJS and has been joined by former coach John McKay, tight end Jimmie Giles and left tackle Paul Gruber.
All those names adorn the east side of the stadium. Sapp said he would love to be the first name on the west side.
"You're going to get me to stir things up, but I'd love to be at the 50-yard line and the first on the west side," Sapp said. "That's where my mom always sat. And the teams that come into play us will be staring right at it. They'll be looking dead at it and they'll know the Bucs are coming right at you."
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Around the league
Blackmon suspended: The league suspended Jaguars wide receiver Justin Blackmon for the first four games of the 2013 season after his second violation in less than a year. The suspension also triggers language in his contract that voids future guarantees. It's Blackmon's third substance-related incident in less than three years; the former Oklahoma State star was also arrested on misdemeanor DUI in Texas in 2010 (later reduced to underage alcohol possession).
Tebow release: The Jets never talked to Tim Tebow about switching positions before releasing him on Monday, general manager John Idzik said, adding that it was a matter of numbers after the team selected former West Virginia quarterback Geno Smith in the second round of last week's draft. "(It) became apparent we had six quarterbacks, something had to give.," Idzik said on ESPN radio. Also, Smith left his agents at Select Sports Group after his unexpected drop in the draft, Newsday reported.
Information from Times wires was used in this report.
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Bucs ring of honor
2009: Lee Roy Selmon, DE, 1976-84
2010: John McKay, coach, 1976-84
2011: Jimmie Giles, TE, 1978-86
2012: Paul Gruber, OT, 1988-99
Warren Sapp, DT, 1995-2003, official announcement scheduled Thursday.