It has been over 30 years now, and Bo Jackson is still not happy with the Bucs former owner, the late Hugh Culverhouse.
In a recent USA Today article Jackson recalled his reason for not signing with the Bucs, who made him the overall No. 1 draft pick in 1986.
“Their people said they were looking out for me, and checked with the NCAA that it was OK for me to go on their plane for that physical,’’ Jackson said, “But nobody checked it out. Well, I put two and two together, and figured it out. They knew I was a first-round pick in football, but they wanted to get me away from baseball, so they got me ruled ineligible. I’m 100percent convinced of that. They thought that would make me forget baseball.
“I told myself, ‘All right, if you screw me, I’m going to screw you twice as hard.’ If anybody else had drafted me, I would have gone, but I wasn’t going to play for that man.”
“We tried to convince the NCAA we had spoken to someone and if it was a mistake, it was clearly an honest mistake. The fact of the matter is, Dad didn’t know the rules. Dad was a businessman. He didn’t even know a lot about the game of football altogether. To say Dad was plotting to get Bo ineligible is ludicrous. He would have done anything to get Bo on the team. He genuinely wanted Bo.
“Bo needs to look at himself. Effectively what Bo is saying is, ‘I am stupid.’ I let this NFL team and an organization take advantage of me. Well (I would say) ‘Bo you already had an agent. You already had advisers. You already had Auburn University who could have told you, Bo, no. So don’t come out of here playing stupid and accusing my Dad of doing something first.’ It would have been the last thing he would ever do.
“The one thing I can tell you is, dad loved Bo. It was a mistake to draft him. But Dad loved Bo.”
Regardless if Jackson or Culverhouse’s story is the truth about the attempt to have Jackson ineligible to continue his collegiate baseball career, the decision to select Jackson, who made it clear prior to the draft that he would never play in Tampa Bay, was a move that set the organization back for years.
Mark Cook currently is the director of editorial content and Bucs beat writer and has written for PewterReport.com since 2011. Cook has followed the Buccaneers since 1977 when he first began watching football with his Dad and is fond of the 1979 Bucs team that came within 10 points of going to a Super Bowl. His favorite Bucs game is still the 1979 divisional playoff win 24-17 over the Eagles. In his spare time Cook enjoys playing guitar, fishing, the beach and family time.Cook is a native of Pinecrest in Eastern Hillsborough County and has written for numerous publications including the Tampa Tribune, In the Field and Ya'll Magazine. Cook can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org