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Few castoff quarterbacks have come back to haunt Bucs

Jameis Winston becomes the seventh former Bucs quarterback to start against his old team.
Former Bucs quarterback Jameis Winston makes his first start against his old team Sunday at Caesars Superdome in New Orleans. In his first season as New Orleans' starter, Winston has led the Saints to a 4-2 mark.
Former Bucs quarterback Jameis Winston makes his first start against his old team Sunday at Caesars Superdome in New Orleans. In his first season as New Orleans' starter, Winston has led the Saints to a 4-2 mark. [ JOHN FROSCHAUER | Associated Press ]
Published Oct. 26
Updated Oct. 26

One of the most beleaguered, enigmatic quarterbacks in Bucs history has a chance Sunday to perpetuate a narrative both harrowing and hyperbolic within this community’s fan base.

Former No. 1 overall draft choice Jameis Winston, who has led the Saints to a 4-2 record, will become the seventh former starting quarterback in Bucs history to start against Tampa Bay. For decades, that very notion itself — ex-Buc prospering elsewhere behind center — has induced a collective cringe from Palm Harbor to Plant City.

But should it?

Granted, three onetime Bucs (Doug Williams, Steve Young, Trent Dilfer) ultimately led other teams to Super Bowl triumphs, and the best years of Vinny Testaverde’s two-decade career clearly came after his mostly mediocre tenure in Tampa Bay.

But it’s not like Williams never flourished here (he led the Bucs to their first three playoff berths), and Dilfer was a competent caretaker for Tony Dungy’s first playoff team (1997). Moreover, the Brad Johnson acquisition worked out okay. So has that Brady dude.

But Brady would have to collect a couple more Lombardi trophies to scrub the stain off this fact: Of the 26 quarterbacks drafted by this franchise, none has reached his second contract.

That includes the guy they’ll face Sunday. As that intriguing reunion looms, we break down how the Bucs previously have fared — head-to-head — against their former starting quarterbacks (QBs are listed with their record vs. Bucs).

Chris Chandler

Quarterback Chris Chandler, who lost all six of his starts as a Buccaneer in the early 1990s, later defeated Tampa Bay as a Houston Oiler in 1995.
Quarterback Chris Chandler, who lost all six of his starts as a Buccaneer in the early 1990s, later defeated Tampa Bay as a Houston Oiler in 1995. [ Times (1995) ]

Record as Bucs starter: 0-6 (1990-1991)

Record vs. Bucs: 1-5

Of the former Bucs starters who made more than one start against Tampa Bay, Chandler fared the worst by far against his old team. His only win came with Oilers on Oct. 29, 1995, when his pedestrian numbers (19-of-29, 167 yards, no touchdowns or interceptions) were glowing compared to Trent Dilfer’s three-interception day. In Chandler’s other five starts against the Bucs (three with the Falcons, one each with the Rams and Cardinals), he totaled three touchdown passes and seven picks.

Mike Glennon

Bears quarterback Mike Glennon (8), who made 18 starts for the Bucs between the 2013 and 2014 seasons, fumbles as he is hit during the first half of Chicago's 29-7 loss to Tampa Bay during the 2017 season.
Bears quarterback Mike Glennon (8), who made 18 starts for the Bucs between the 2013 and 2014 seasons, fumbles as he is hit during the first half of Chicago's 29-7 loss to Tampa Bay during the 2017 season. [ Times (2017) ]

Record as Bucs starter: 5-13 (2013-2014)

Record vs. Bucs: 0-1

After futilely attempting to salvage the Schiano era in Tampa, Glennon played with five other franchises. His lone start against the Bucs came during his only season with the Bears in 2017, when he threw for 301 yards but was picked twice and got only 20 yards from his rushing attack in a 29-7 Tampa Bay romp.

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Brad Johnson

As a 40-year-old Cowboys starter, former Bucs quarterback Brad Johnson helped lead Dallas to an ugly 13-9 win against his former team in 2008.
As a 40-year-old Cowboys starter, former Bucs quarterback Brad Johnson helped lead Dallas to an ugly 13-9 win against his former team in 2008. [ Times (2008) ]

Record as Bucs starter: 26-23 (2001-2004)

Record vs. Bucs: 1-0

The quarterback of Tampa Bay’s first Super Bowl title squad, Johnson was 40 when he faced his former team and coach (Jon Gruden) as a Cowboy on Oct. 26, 2008. He finished only 19-of-33 for 122 yards, was sacked three times and was booed frequently, but never turned the ball over in a 13-9 Dallas triumph. The Bucs, meantime, moved into Cowboys territory six times, coming away with only three field goals.

Josh McCown

Quarterback Josh McCown, who went 1-10 as a Bucs starter in 2014, was sacked six times when he faced his former team three years later as a New York Jet. Tampa Bay won, 15-10.
Quarterback Josh McCown, who went 1-10 as a Bucs starter in 2014, was sacked six times when he faced his former team three years later as a New York Jet. Tampa Bay won, 15-10. [ Times (2017) ]

Record as Bucs starter: 1-10 (2014)

Record vs. Bucs: 0-1

This hard-luck journeyman, who went 1-10 as a Bucs starter for Lovie Smith’s woeful 2014 team, faced Tampa Bay three years later as a Jet. He was sacked six times and picked off once, throwing his lone scoring pass with six seconds remaining in a 15-10 Tampa Bay triumph.

Vinny Testaverde

Former Bucs first-round draft choice Vinny Testaverde, who flopped during his six seasons in Tampa Bay, helped rally the Jets from an 11-point deficit in the final two minutes of a 21-17 triumph against the Bucs in 2000.
Former Bucs first-round draft choice Vinny Testaverde, who flopped during his six seasons in Tampa Bay, helped rally the Jets from an 11-point deficit in the final two minutes of a 21-17 triumph against the Bucs in 2000. [ BOYZELL HOSEY | Times (2000) ]

Record as Bucs starter: 24-48 (1987-1992)

Record vs. Bucs: 3-0

The No. 1 overall draft choice by the Bucs in 1987, Testaverde’s post-Tampa Bay win percentage as a starter (.465) easily eclipsed that of his six mediocre seasons under Ray Perkins and Sam Wyche (.333). In his three wins against the Bucs (two with the Jets), he went a collective 52-of-88 for 600 yards with three touchdowns and four picks.

The most dramatic: a 21-17 Jets triumph on Sept. 24, 2000, when he rallied New York from an 11-point deficit in the last two minutes. Testaverde’s 6-yard TD pass to Curtis Martin with 1:54 to play was followed seconds later by a Mike Alstott fumble, setting up Martin’s 18-yard halfback pass to Wayne Chrebet for the game-winning touchdown with 52 seconds remaining.

Steve Young

Former Bucs quarterback Steve Young, whose Hall of Fame credentials were earned three time zones from Tampa, was pummeled by the Bucs when his 49ers fell to Tampa Bay, 13-6, in the 1997 season opener.
Former Bucs quarterback Steve Young, whose Hall of Fame credentials were earned three time zones from Tampa, was pummeled by the Bucs when his 49ers fell to Tampa Bay, 13-6, in the 1997 season opener. [ Times (1997) ]

Record as Bucs starter: 3-16 (1985-1986)

Record vs. Bucs: 3-1

In terms of quarterbacks, the Bucs’ most glaring misread in nearly a half-century full of them was their decision to trade Young — who had no chance in the comical Leeman Bennett era — and draft Testaverde. Young’s Hall of Fame career in San Francisco would directly — and indirectly — torment Tampa Bay for years.

He trampled the Bucs in his first three meetings against the Bucs, totaling eight touchdowns and no picks in those contests, before his old team found a degree of atonement in the 1997 opener at Tampa Stadium. On the 49ers’ fifth play, Young rolled left but was chased down by Warren Sapp, losing his helmet as he went down. Hardy Nickerson then slid into Young with his knee, knocking him from the game.

Never faced Bucs

These one-time Bucs starters ultimately made at least one NFL start after leaving Tampa Bay, but never against the Bucs:

Steve DeBerg, Trent Dilfer, Ryan Fitzpatrick, Josh Freeman, Bruce Gradkowski, Brian Griese, Josh Johnson, Rob Johnson, Shaun King, Byron Leftwich, Luke McCown, Chris Simms, Doug Williams

Never faced anyone

These one-time Bucs starters never made another NFL start after leaving Tampa Bay:

Jeb Blount, Mike Boryla, Jeff Carlson, Parnell Dickinson, Craig Erickson, Joe Ferguson, Jeff Garcia, Jerry Golsteyn, Terry Hanratty, Randy Hedberg, Gary Huff, Mike Rae, Tim Rattay, John Reaves*, Steve Spurrier, Jack Thompson, Eric Zeier, Jim Zorn*

* replacement player during 1987 strike

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