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Ranking the 100 greatest Bucs: The countdown continues

Counting down from No. 75 to 51: A reminder of how difficult it is to sustain a full NFL career.
Steve Young was a supplemental draft pick of the Bucs in 1984 and started 19 games for Tampa Bay in 1985 and 1986 before he was traded to the 49ers for a pair of draft picks in 1987. THE ASSOCIATED PRESS [Tampa Bay Times]
Published Oct. 19

TAMPA — The players among this group gave us moments and memories, but didn’t quite have milestone careers.

In choosing the 100 greatest Bucs players of all times, we consulted long-time fans, folks who have covered the team past and present and then factored in career statistics, playoff appearances, Pro Bowl nominations and that unqualified “it factor” that some possess and others don’t.

You’ll find a lot of players who fall into that category. A durable running back with an underdog’s determination. A hometown hero who directs the upset of the Rams in 2000. A Super Bowl MVP and the steady guidance of one of the OBs (original Bucs).

No matter how you rate them, remember this list is here for you to appreciate. Check back later today to find the third installment of our rankings.

75 to 51

75. Neal Colzie (1980-1983)

Years after starring as a punt returner for the Oakland Raiders in Super Bowl 11, the talented defensive back produced 10 interceptions in 29 starts with Bucs. Colzie, an Ohio State standout and Coral Gables native, had his best year in 1981, recording six interceptions for 110 return yards.

Bucs and former Gators running back Earnest Graham enjoyed success during his early Bucs years. JAY CONNER/STAFF [JAY CONNER | Tampa Bay Times]

74. Earnest Graham (2004-2011)

Graham, a University of Florida standout, was a durable backup who played running back and fullback. His best season was in 2007 when he had 1,222 yards from scrimmage.

73. Steve Young (1985-1986)

Sometimes people forget the Hall of Famer played two years in Tampa Bay. He still ranks among the franchise’s top 15 passing leaders. Young always will be remembered for the “Snow Game” in Green Bay. The Packers drove him into a snowdrift during the game and his facemask became caked with snow. “I’m like, I can’t breathe!’’ Young said.

72. Steve DeBerg (1984-1987, 1992-1993)

DeBerg ranks seventh on the team’s all-time passing list with 9,439 yards. He held a lot of popularity with the fans, but always seem to find a way to throw interceptions, particularly across the middle.

71. Stylez G. White (2007-2010)

The former Arena Football League star started 23 games for the Bucs but recorded 24 sacks. He sacked current Bucs offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich twice and forced two fumbles in the 2007 Bucs’ 31-7 win over Atlanta.


Bucs kicker Connor Barth ranks among the team's all-time leading scorers. [JAY CONNER | Tampa Bay Times]

70. Connor Barth (2009-2012, 2015)

In two stints with the Bucs, Barth converted 83.8 percent of his field goals to score 477 points, good enough for third on the team’s career scoring list. Until Matt Gay creates a longer record, Barth will go down as the most successful Bucs kicker post-Matt Bryant. Of course, that’s not saying a lot.

69. Kwon Alexander (2015-2018)

In 46 starts, Alexander had 380 tackles, seven sacks and six interceptions before a knee injury cut short his 2018 campaign. His standout game came in Atlanta in 2015. He dedicated the game to his brother who had just passed away and proceeded to record 11 tackles, an interception a forced fumble and a rumble recovery. He signed as a free agent in the offseason with the 5-0 San Francisco 49ers.

68. Dewey Selmon (1976-1980)

Lee Roy’s brother made 65 starts at defensive tackle and linebacker, including four playoff games, for the Bucs. Along with older brother Lucious, the Selmons, from remain legends at the University of Oklahoma. Dewey earned a doctorate degree from OU.

67. Greg Spires (2002-2007)

An unsung hero who quietly went about turning in steady efforts as the other defensive end, opposite Simeon Rice, on the NFL’s best defense. He recorded 26 sacks in 87 starts for Tampa Bay. In 2002, the Bucs’ Super Bowl year, he tallied 47 tackles, 3.5 sacks, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery.

66. Marty Carter (1991-1994)

Carter ranks among the team’s all-time tacklers with 403 in 55 starts. He established himself as an active tackler in his second season, racking up 118 stops. Over the next two seasons, he averaged 111½ tackles before Chicago lured him away as a free agent.


Ricky Reynolds is one of the best cornerbacks in Bucs history. [JUNCO, VICTOR | St. Petersburg Times]

65. Ricky Reynolds (1987-1993)

Ranks among the team’s top 10 interception leaders with 17. Reynolds is considered one of the most dependable players in franchise history. He came to the team in the 1987 draft that also netted Vinny Testaverde, Ron Hall, Winston Moss, Mark Carrier, Bruce Hill, Henry Rolling and Harry Swayne.

64. Matt Bryant (2005-2008)

Bryant made 88.7 percent of his field-goal attempts, converted 372 of 375 extra-point attempts and in 2006, delivered an improbable 62-yard game-winning kick against the Eagles at Raymond James Stadium. But after the 2008 season, the Bucs released Bryant, and really, Tampa Bay’s placekicking has never been the same.

63. Keenan McCardell (2002-2003)

Jon Gruden made McCardell one of his veteran acquisitions after he took over as coach in 2002. McCardell emerged as a steady player and nabbed two receptions in the Bucs’ Super Bowl victory. In 2003, he took over as Tampa Bay’s primary receiver after Keyshawn Johnson was traded in a dispute with Gruden. McCardell would leave before 2004 in a similar dispute. Still, he ranks 15th on the team in career touchdown receptions.

62. Dwight Smith (2001-2004)

Another Super Bowl hero, Smith returned two picks for touchdowns to bury the Raiders. In January, USA Today ranked the 53 greatest players in Super Bowl history and Smith earned a spot at No. 46. No other Buc did, including Derrick Brooks, Warren Sapp and Super Bowl MVP Dexter Jackson.

61. Randall McDaniel (2000-2001)

McDaniel s best known for his Pro Bowl years in Minnesota, where he earned All-Pro honors seven times. He played only two seasons in Tampa Bay, but he did make the Pro Bowl as Buccaneer in 2000. He made the Pro Football Hall of Fame as Viking. Figures.


Broderick Thomas was known as "Bad Brod" during his days in Tampa Bay. [GARNETT, JOSEPH, JR. | St. Petersburg Times]

60. Broderick Thomas (1989-1993)

Four of the first five draft picks in 1989 are in the Pro Football of Hame: 1. Troy Aikman, 3. Derrick Thomas, 4. Barry Sanders and 5. Deion Sanders. Of course, in classic Bucs draft fate, Tampa Bay picked sixth. The Bucs chose Broderick Thomas, who really had no chance to match the exploits of those four. He did, however, have a better career than Tony Mandarich, the No. 2 pick that year. After a slow start in his first two seasons, and being shot at a nightclub, Thomas recorded 174 tackles and 11 sacks. He never reached those heights again and eventually landed with the Cowboys.

59. Jeff Garcia (2007-2008)

The last quarterback to guide the Bucs to the playoffs, Garcia completed 64 percent of his passes and produced 25 touchdown passes during his two seasons. In 2007, he earned eight wins in 13 starts and earned a bid to the Pro Bowl. Garcia, however, could not take the Bucs to victory over Washington.

58. Jeff Christy (2000-2003)

Christy’s third of three consecutive Pro Bowl trips came in his first year with the Bucs. The center went on to start 47 games for Tampa Bay and played on the Super Bowl champion team.

57. Shaun King (1999-2003)

The hometown hero helped Tampa Bay reach the NFC Championship game, and guided the Bucs to a 10-6 record in 2000. But he couldn’t hold on to the starting job. King gave way to Brad Johnson in 2001 and while he earned a Super Bowl ring as a backup, and started only one other game after relinquishing his role.

56. Brian Kelly (1998-2007)

Kelly recorded 22 interceptions and defended 99 passes in 79 starts for the Bucs. The defensive back’s eight interceptions the season the Bucs won the Super Bowl tied for the league lead with Rod Woodson. Kelly was a perfect Tampa Two corner who emerged after being involved in some key missteps, including getting beat by Ricky Proehl in the 1999 NFC Championship game (although his coverage was nearly perfect).

55. Gary Anderson (1990-1992)

A flashing comet in Bucs history, Anderson had 1,110 yards from scrimmage in 1990. He started his professional career with the USF Tampa Bay Bandits and is the fourth leading rusher in USFL history.


Safety Mark Cotney was one of the Bucs' most popular players during his heyday. [RIVENBARK, MAURICE | St. Petersburg Times]

54. Mark Cotney (1976-1984)

One of the team’s original stars, he recorded 17 interceptions for the Bucs and appeared in three playoff games. Cotney went on to become a successful Tampa businessman. He also recovered six fumbles.

53. Mike Washington (1976-1984)

Washington ranks fourth on the Bucs career interception list with 28, and returned three of them for touchdowns. Played in three playoff games, including the first one and the 100th game for Tampa Bay. Washington started 97 games.


Dexter Jackson celebrates after winning the Super Bowl and earning MVP honors [DAVID KADLUBOWSKI | Tampa Bay Times]

52. Dexter Jackson (1999-2002; 2004-2005)

Jackson sealed his place in Bucs lore with two interceptions and an MVP Award in Super Bowl XXXVII, but also proved to be a steady contributor, starting 86 games and had 17 career interceptions. We may end up talking about Jackson’s kids who continue to succeed as track athletes and in modeling.

51. Errict Rhett (1994-1997)

Rhett opened his career with consecutive 1,000-yard seasons, but a contract dispute saw him sit out 10 games and he never really recovered. Little known fact: Rhett emerged as one of Steve Spurrier’s first running backs at Florida and broke Emmitt Smith’s career rushing mark with the Gators, gaining 4,163 yards and scoring 34 touchdowns.

Contact Ernest Hooper at ehooper@tampabay.com. Follow @hoop4you


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