Raymond James Stadium is the house that Warren Sapp built. Now he will be a permanent fixture inside of it.
Sapp, 40, the Bucs Pro Bowl defensive tackle and only the second Tampa Bay player to be 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 made during a Thursday, 1:30 p.m. news conference at One Buc Place and Sapp is expected to attend. Sapp's name and No. 99 will be unveiled during a Ring of Honor ceremony at halftime of an undisclosed regular-season game this year.
It will be the second induction ceremony of the year for Sapp. He is part of the Pro Football Hall of Fame Class of 2013 that will be enshrined during a ceremony in Canton, Ohio, Aug. 3.
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 that also included the final four years with the Oakland Raiders. He was a member of the league's All-Decade team for the 1990s and 2000s; defensive player of the year in '99; Super Bowl champion; seven-time Pro Bowl selection; and his 96 1/2 sacks are the second-highest career total for a defensive tackle.
On Tuesday, Sapp told the story of going up against seven-time Pro Bowl guard Chris Hinton when he played the Minnesota Vikings as a rookie. 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.''
Sapp became only the second Bucs player to be elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Feb., joining defensive end Lee Roy Selmon, who was enshrined in 1995 after six years of eligibility. Selmon was the first member of the Bucs' Ring of Honor at RJS and has been joined by former head coach John McKay, tight end Jimmie Giles and left tackle Paul Gruber.
All those names are adorned to the east side of the stadium. Sapp said he would love for his to be the first name on the west side of RJS.
"You're going to get me to stir things up, but I'd love to be at the 50 yard and the first one the west side (of the stadium),'' 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.''