Bucs co-chairman Bryan Glazer introduced Warren Sapp as the fifth member of the Ring of Honor on Thursday then made a surprise announcement that caught even Sapp off guard.
As the auditorium at One Buccaneer Place began to fill for Warren Sapp’s Ring of Honor induction press conference on Thursday afternoon, several familiar faces began to appear. Some were thinner, some well over their playing weight and some with sprinklings of gray in their hair and beards. Sapp's former teammates began arriving one by one to support the Bucs newest Ring of Honor inductee.
Among them were Mike Alstott, Tony Mayberry, Ian Beckles, Dwight Smith, Chuck Darby, Steve White and even former head coach Tony Dungy. A handful of others, including current head coach Greg Schiano, came to hear the Bucs’ second ever Hall of Famer be officially announced as the fifth member of Tampa Bay's Ring of Honor.
After Sapp had been introduced by co-chairman Bryan Glazer, and also had his chance to speak, Glazer stepped back up to the podium for another announcement that surprised everyone – none more than Sapp himself.
“The only way to keep a secret in this building is to not tell anybody,” Glazer said. “So I have more thing I want to add that nobody knows about and its not in the press releases or anything you have today, but on November 11 this year, under the lights of Monday Night Football, not only will we be putting Warren Sapp’s name in the Ring of Honor, but we will also be telling the world that no one else will ever wear the No. 99.”
Sapp became emotional when Glazer made the announcement having to gain his composure before speaking again. The late Lee Roy Selmon is the only other Buccaneers player to have his jersey retired.
After the press conference Dungy commented about Sapp’s early days.
“(I remember) he was a little bit of a loose cannon and watching him out at practice and Rod saying,” I’m not going to take your personality from you, but we are going to get perfection,” Dungy said. “Once I saw that on the practice field, there no was no question in my mind what he was going to do.”
General manager Mark Dominik, who began his Buccaneers career in June 1995 as a pro personnel assistant, witnessed first hand and admired the development of Sapp over the years.
“I think the press conference itself just now explains why Warren Sapp is in the Ring of Honor and Hall of Fame,” Dominik said. “Intense competitor; loves the game. Very few have the passion that Warren does. I think that is what separates the great ones, is that they practice and they live it ,and Warren did both of those. So when it came to game day that was easy and fun and where he explodes and had his production. To watch him and listen to him, even just walking down the halls… and I liked how he explained about his name on the stadium. That’s a big deal. And he gets it. And that is great for him.”
Being inducted in the Ring of Honor and having his jersey retired on November 11 has a special meaning for the somewhat superstitious Sapp.
“Here’s the funny part, and if anybody follows me on Twitter they already know this, I tweet 11:11 all the time,” Sapp said. “It’s something my sister taught me as a little kid. If you see 11:11 on a clock you rub it and make a wish. My room (number) at college in Miami my junior year, my last year before we played the games at the Orange Bowl was 1111, so it kind of came full circle for me. I’m a numbers guy, so what are you going to do about it? Here it is May 2nd and it was February 2nd [when I got the Hall of Fame announcement]. I’m just here along for the ride, somebody else has preordained it, so I’m just enjoying it."
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