While several former Raiders, including head coach Jon Gruden, general manager Bruce Allen, running back Charlie Garner, wide receiver Tim Brown, tight end Rickey Dudley, guard Matt Stinchcomb and assistant to head coach – football operations Paul Kelly, get ready to make their first trip back to Oakland, other Tampa Bay Buccaneers players are preparing to square off against one of their former teammates — defensive lineman Warren Sapp.
The Buccaneers used a first-round draft pick to select Sapp out of the University of Miami in 1995. He spent nine seasons with the Bucs and earned seven trips to the Pro Bowl by recording 524 career tackles, 77 sacks, 16 forced fumbles, eight fumble recoveries and 20 passes defensed.
Sapp, 31, became an unrestricted free agent last March and signed a seven-year, $36.6 million contract with the Raiders. His deal reportedly included a $7 million signing bonus.
PewterReport.com has several Tampa Bay players’ thoughts on facing Sapp when the Bucs and Raiders clash in Oakland on Sunday night.
Bucs head coach Jon Gruden on playing against Sapp:
“I just miss him. It’s hard, man, to see Warren and talk to Warren every once in awhile and not have him here. We spent a lot of time together and I wish him well. Hopefully, he doesn’t have his best stuff against us, but I know he will. He brings it. He plays hard, especially when the lights are on him, and I’m sure he’s going to have one heck of a football game. We’ve got to deal with that.”
Bucs linebacker Derrick Brooks on Sapp:
“I don’t have to face him. But, again it’s going to be fun seeing him play and seeing our offense go against him. To me it’s no different. I’ve played against players that have played here before and actually I’m just anxious that I can go out and do my part and help our team win. Football is football no matter who is on the field; they’re going to block, tackle, score, or make turnovers. In that aspect our focus is on the field and we don’t worry about who is going where and who is playing who.”
Brooks on whether the Bucs miss Sapp:
“I mean, you can’t replace his personality obviously and nobody is trying to by any means. We’re just so wired in on the guys this year. Let’s worry about this defense today and get prepared and taking it one day at a time and not letting anything outside that distract you.”
Bucs defensive end Simeon Rice on Sapp:
“It will be good to see him this weekend. It has always been really quiet between me and him. It will be a good time. I’ll probably call him today or tomorrow and see how he’s doing, how he’s holding it down on the west coast. We’re still going out there to take care of business.”
Rice on how you stop Sapp:
“I don’t know. I don’t think you can. He’s a guy that if he is motivated, he’s up there with the best of them. He’ll be a legend in this game. We’ll have our hands full. It will be interesting to see what we do on offense to throw him off. He knows this offense like the back of his hand. We’re not going to roll over. We are still knowledgeable on how to go about this game and get the victory. Our hands will be full, nonetheless.”
Bucs center John Wade on Sapp:
“Great player. A great player that needs to be recognized in a defensive system. You can’t have your sole focus on it, not to take anything away. He’s a great player, he was here and he will be out there and he has been for the last two games I’m sure. He’s a great player but you still go out there knowing he’s going to know some of our stuff. But that’s just the way it is. He’s not the only guy that switched teams and knows some tips. So, you just go out there and try to play better.”
Did you like this article? Want more inside scoop on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers? Click here to become a Pewter Insider today and know about Bucs news before it happens. uccaneers merchandise in the world.