The Buccaneers are set to honor fullback Mike Alstott in a special halftime ceremony at Raymond James Stadium on Sunday night, but the team's celebration of former players won't stop there.
Tampa Bay will unveil a Ring of Honor and wear throwback jerseys for at least one game in 2009 in honor of the 30th anniversary of the 1979 Bucs team, which came within one win of reaching the Super Bowl.
The Bucs 1979 team went 10-6 under head coach John McKay and lost to the Rams in the NFC Championship Game, 9-0. Tampa Bay did not get back to the NFC Championship Game again until 1999.
Tampa Bay linebacker Derrick Brooks is the only active player on the Bucs roster to have worn the orange and white jerseys, which were replaced with the red and pewter uniforms the team wears today in 1997. The 10-time Pro Bowler has been an advocate of a Ring of Honor and wearing the throwback uniforms. Needless to say, he was pleased that the Glazers are honoring and recognizing the franchise's tradition.
"Well deserved, I was excited to [hear] that," said Brooks. "I can understand them waiting for 30 years after the first successful season of our franchise in 1979," said Brooks. "With that tie into it. I'm grateful enough that I'll be around to see it happen."
Bucs running back Warrick Dunn joined the NFL and Bucs in 1997, which was the same year the team did away with the Bucco Bruce logo and uniforms and introduced their current red and pewter uniforms. Although he's not a huge fan of the orange and white colors, Dunn said the concept behind wearing the throwbacks is what really matters.
"You wear them to pay homage to the guys that came before you," said Dunn. "That's what I would do and I think any other player would feel the same way. Brooks played in it and he didn't look too bad. I'm sure it will be nice, maybe a little different. I think it will be cool to wear once."
While open to the idea of honoring some of the Buccaneer greats like Hall of Famer Lee Roy Selmon and Alstott, some players weren't crazy about notion of wearing the old uniforms next year.
"We will cross that bridge when we get there," said Bucs quarterback Luke McCown, who will become a free agent next year. "Everybody likes the throwbacks around the league, but it's a little different when you talk about the old creamsicle throwbacks. I guess it would be okay for just one game, or maybe just a walk-thru."
Although the Bucs haven't sported the orange and white uniforms since 1996, some of the team's younger players still remember watching Tampa Bay play in them and are open to the idea of wearing throwbacks for a game or two.
"I think it would be exciting to wear those," said Bucs second-year safety Sabby Piscitelli. "There's a lot of tradition there and a lot of great players wore those. I know Mike Alstott started his career in those uniform. I think it will be fun and honorable to wear those in honor of the players that came way before us."
Injury Update Tampa Bay wide receiver Joey Galloway was limited in practice again on Thursday, but it's the first time he's put back-to-back practices together since injuring his foot in Week 2. Galloway is expected to practice again on Friday, but still is questionable for Sunday's game
"He practiced a little bit and he's getting better," Bucs head coach Jon Gruden said of Galloway. "He's probably 50/50, I would say [for Sunday's game]. We'll do it again tomorrow. To be fair to everybody, we'll probably announce [whether he'll play] on Sunday."
Bucs left guard Arron Sears (knee) was also limited in practice. If Sears cannot practice more on Friday rookie Jeremy Zuttah will start in his place.
"I'm comfortable with Zuttah, I really am," said Gruden. "He's a good player and he's going to contend for playing time, no question."
In other injury news, Bucs fullback B.J. Askew (hamstring) and wide receiver Maurice Stovall were held out of practice for the second straight day. Kicker Matt Bryant (hamstring) and quarterback Brian Griese (elbow) were limited. Middle linebacker Barrett Ruud (knee) and linebacker Derrick Brooks (hamstring) each had full participation in practice on Thursday after being limited during Wednesday's workout.