Is Warren Sapp right about Gerald McCoy?
Pro Football Hall of Famer Warren Sapp, an icon with the beleaguered Tampa Bay Buccaneers franchise, served as a mentor to Gerald McCoy during McCoy’s nine seasons in Tampa.
With mentors like this, who needs detractors?
Sapp ripped into the former OU star after McCoy chided the Buccaneers for giving his No. 93 jersey to Ndamukong Suh, who signed with Tampa Bay after McCoy signed with the Carolina Panthers in free agency.
McCoy, from Oklahoma City’s Southeast High School, was released by the Buccaneers in May. In July, on FS1’s “Undisputed,” McCoy said he felt disrespected by the Bucs.
“I'm one of the best players to ever play in the organization,” McCoy said on the Fox show. “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.
"I earned that respect. ... Tampa hasn't been a winning team, and we all know it's hard to be considered a Pro Bowl, All-Pro person on a losing team, and I did it six years straight. That's hard to do. For the respect I received after doing that, they showed none, and I don't know why."
Sapp did not take kindly to McCoy’s words, telling PewterReport.com that “the thing that kind of threw me sideways was Gerald talking about … Sapp, (Derrick) Brooks, Lee Roy (Selmon), (John) Lynch, Ronde (Barber), nobody wore their numbers. Last time I checked, those were Hall of Famers and champions. We didn't go to one playoff game with him and not one damn divisional title, so, I think he owes some of those hundred million dollars back if you go ‘give it to me’ in that sense."
Sapp, Brooks, Lynch and Barber were defensive players on the 2002 Buccaneers, who won the Super Bowl. Selmon and Brooks, along with Sapp, are in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. They are the only three Hall of Famers who were predominantly Bucs.
So, is Sapp right? Well, sometimes you hate to admit it, but maybe. Tampa Bay has retired only three numbers – Brooks’ No. 55, Selmon’s No. 63 and Sapp’s No. 99.
That seems to be a clear criteria. Make the Hall of Fame, get your number retired.
Going into the Bucs’ Ring of Honor has not resulted in retired numbers for guys like Mike Alstott and Barber.
Tampa Bay has nine players in its Ring of Honor – guys like tight end Jimmie Giles, offensive tackle Paul Gruber, quarterback Doug Williams, to go along with the stars.
I ran a quick search on profootball-reference.com, which has a useful metric called approximate value, which tries to measure each player’s season and thus a career. It’s not a Bible – don’t follow it off a cliff – but it’s a handy tool for comparing players. McCoy’s career AV so far is 76, which is quite good. Sapp’s was 149. Barber’s 150. Brooks’ 191. Of course, Selmon’s was only 87 – his career was cut a little short – so again, don’t trust AV like it descended from Mount Sinai.
But it does appear that McCoy’s career is not headed to the Pro Football Hall of Fame, and the Buccaneers have a clear history of preserving retired numbers for only those who are Canton-bound.
"He didn't have no chips in his game,” Sapp told PewterReport.com. “No Defensive Player of the Year -- that's what Brooks and that's what Lee Roy Selmon did -- Lynch got his name in two damn Ring of Honors.
“What am I missing here, Gerald? You're talking about something silly. Come on, man -- stop. If you're mad, you're mad, but don't put it on the organization that the organization did it. Every NFL team has to move on."
"He's a damn good player. A damn good player. But not even close (to a legend). You damn sure don't get legendary status or tell somebody to put your jersey up if you don't take 'em to playoff games … not one playoff game.”
McCoy’s frustration seems clearly stoked by contract situations, which can become messy in the NFL. It’s sort of standard procedure for really good players to get cut late in their contracts, over money issues, and hard feelings arise.
But just because Sapp is a loose cannon, and McCoy is a beloved figure both in Oklahoma and maybe even on the Suncoast of Florida, doesn’t mean that Sapp is wrong.