Bucs defensive tackle Warren Sapp earned Hall of Fame honors Saturday in New Orleans and will join former Bucs great Lee Roy Selmon as one of only two Buccaneers to grace the hallowed halls in Canton, OH.
In their 36-year history of football, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have had just one player to enter the Pro Football Hall of Fame – that was until Saturday.
Buccaneers great Warren Sapp received enough votes in New Orleans from the Pro Football Writers Association and will join legendary Tampa Bay defensive end Lee Roy Selmon as the only two Buccaneers who grace the hallowed halls of Canton.
Sapp was the most dominate defensive tackle of his generation and football teams, including the Buccaneers, are still searching for the dominant three-technique lineman in the mold of Sapp.
In nine seasons with the Buccaneers Sapp never had less than five sacks except in his 1995 rookie season. To put this in perspective Gerald McCoy made this season’s Pro Bowl with five sacks. During that nine-year stretch with the Buccaneers Sapp collected 77 quarterback takedowns, including his monster 1999 season in which the former Hurricane had an amazing 16.5 sacks.
Sapp left Tampa Bay following the 2003 season and spent the final four years of his career with the Oakland Raiders adding another 17.5 sacks to bring his career sack total to 96.5.
Sapp was selected in first round (12th player overall) by Tampa Bay in 1996 and was named to All-Rookie Team. During his career Sapp amassed 96.5 career sacks despite playing on interior of defensive line and recorded double-digit sack totals four times. Sapp was named 1999 NFL Defensive Player of the Year after helping lead Tampa Bay to first division title in 18 years. Sapp also recorded career-high 16.5 sacks and was a first-team All-Pro four straight times (1999-2002. The former Hurricane star selected to seven Pro Bowls and was named to NFL’s All-Decade Teams of the 1990s, 2000s.
Patriots head coach Bill Belichick talked to the Tampa Tribune’s Ira Kaufman – who is on the 46-member selection committee – about the impact Sapp made.
"The combination of Sapp and (linebacker Derrick) Brooks was absolutely devastating,'' Belichick said. "It was like facing Joe Greene and Jack Lambert, when the Steelers were dominant.
"But Sapp was the guy you had better take care of first. He was closer to the football and if you didn't handle Warren Sapp, all the rest didn't matter.''
Former Bears center Olin Kreutz also was complimentary of Sapp.
"He kind of revolutionized the three-technique position,'' said Olin Kreutz, a six-time Pro Bowl center for the Bears who faced Sapp twice a season in the old NFC Central division. "There isn't anyone in the game now in the middle like him.''
The Buccaneers issued this statement shortly after the announcement was made on Saturday.
"This is a proud day for the Buccaneers organization and Bucs fans everywhere," said Buccaneers Co-Chairman Bryan Glazer. "Warren played the game with incredible ability and passion. He was a leader on one of the best defenses in NFL history and helped to redefine the defensive tackle position. It is a fitting honor that he will be recognized as one of the greatest to ever play, and we could not be happier for him."
Sapp's fellow inductees are Larry Allen, Cris Carter, Johnathan Odgen, Bill Parcells, Curley Culp and Dave Robinson.
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