TAMPA — Hall of Fame defensive tackle Warren Sapp always has been a big supporter of Gerald McCoy. But Sapp disagrees with him about the status of the No. 93 jersey that McCoy wore with the Bucs.
McCoy, who signed a one-year deal with Carolina after being released by Tampa Bay in May, told The Undisputed on Fox Sports several months ago that the Bucs disrespected him by giving away his jersey number to free agent Ndamukong Suh.
McCoy indicated that he deserved to have his No. 93 taken out of circulation the way the organization had done with Sapp, Hall of Famers Derrick Brooks and Lee Roy Selmon, and John Lynch and Ronde Barber.
Sapp unloaded on McCoy, noting that in nine seasons McCoy never led the Bucs to the postseason despite being named to six Pro Bowls.
“They paid you all that money and you think somebody owed you something? No,’’ Sapp, 46, told the Tampa Bay Times on Wednesday. “You got nothing but first-ballot Hall of Famers or Hall of Famers up there on that stadium, and that’s what you get measured by. You get measured by playoff wins. How many playoffs did you win? He never was in a playoff game. We were in nine. We won championships. You got players up there who were the defensive player of the year. That’s what me and Brooks did. And Lynch is in two Ring of Honors. Come on. What are you talking about? You deserve something like this?
“Bad call, young fella. I can’t hold back on this. You can’t put it up against those bad a---- if you don’t have no (championships) in the game.’’
McCoy, 31, earned more than $110 million playing for the Bucs.
In a way, McCoy is right that the Bucs did break with their own precedent by giving away his jersey number so quickly to Suh.
Only eight players have made at least five Pro Bowls in Bucs history. Three had their jerseys officially retired, three more were unofficially retired and one went unused for two years. None had their jersey handed out a week later.
McCoy is third on the Bucs’ all-time sack list with 54½.
“I’m one of the best players to ever play in the organization,’’ McCoy told The Undisputed. “I’m going to say it. Usually I wouldn’t, but I’m going to say it. It kind of shows the respect and how they feel about me.
“It may seem like it’s just a number, but it’s bigger than that. It’s respect. That was a big part of the separation between me and Tampa, period, was the respect they showed to me all offseason. It just wasn’t there.”
On Wednesday, McCoy responded in a text to the Times, saying, “That’s cool. Everybody is entitled to their opinion. Moving on.’’
But Sapp wasn’t holding back.
“My line is always open to (McCoy), but not when you say you should have your jersey put up and nobody wear it,’’ Sapp said. “What the hell is going on here?’’
Contact Rick Stroud at email@example.com. Follow @NFLStroud.