After spending a total of 13 seasons with Tampa Bay, tight end/long snapper Dave Moore is the longest tenured Buccaneer in franchise history.
However, Moore’s tenure as a Buccaneer player ended Thursday when he held a press conference at One Buccaneer Place to announce his retirement from the National Football League.
The 6-foot-2, 250-pound Moore played 15 seasons in the NFL. He originally entered the league in 1992 as a seventh-round draft pick with the Miami Dolphins.
Moore’s stint with the Dolphins was short-lived, though. He spent part of his first season on their active roster and practice squad before being released. That departure in November of ‘92 opened the door for Moore to join the Buccaneers.
Moore, 37, played for the Buccaneers from 1992-2001 and then 2004-06. He appeared in 220 career games, including 190 contests as a Buccaneer, which ranks second in franchise history behind only 10-time Pro Bowl linebacker Derrick Brooks.
Moore, who played several different positions for the Bucs during his 13 seasons with the team, including fullback, tight end, H-back and long snapper, caught 207 career passes for 2,208 yards and 28 touchdowns.
Thursday wasn’t the first time Moore’s stint in Tampa Bay ended. He was released by the Buccaneers during the 2002 offseason. That move came shortly after the Bucs traded for head coach Jon Gruden.
Shortly after that roster move, Moore joined the Buffalo Bills, whom he played for for two seasons (2002-03). In the meantime, the Bucs went on to win Super Bowl XXXVII.
While he acknowledged the fact that it was difficult to watch the Bucs finish something he helped start, Moore didn’t completely regret not being part of the Bucs in 2002. He said he took too many good experiences away from his time in Buffalo to have any regrets about being there.
Plus, the fact that Moore was able to later re-join the Bucs and play the last game of his career in his first Pro Bowl in February was certainly a rewarding way to end his career, especially when you consider the fact that Moore feared his career in the NFL might end before it even started.
“The funny thing is, it’s kind of bittersweet today because it is hard to walk away from it when it’s such a big part of your life,” Moore said. “And I wasn’t a guy that could kind of show up and do it halfway. I was a guy who lived football, lived in the weight room, watched film, learned every little bit of the game that I could to keep me around for awhile. I never for a million years thought I would be in a position to say it’s over. I thought for sure they would have tossed me out a long time ago.”
Although his playing days are over, Moore will remain a part of the Buccaneer organization. The team announced Thursday that Moore will join the Buccaneers’ Radio Network as the color analyst this season. Moore replaces Hardy Nickerson, who accepted a coaching job with the Chicago Bears in January, and will be working alongside play-by-play announcer Gene Deckerhoff.
“After a little shaky start, it went pretty well,” Moore said of his audition for the color commentator position on the Bucs’ Radio Network, which can be heard in the Tampa Bay area on 103.5 WFUS-FM and 620 WDAE-AM. “Once I got in the flow of what Gene was saying and how much time I was going to get, I really enjoyed it. I think all of us as players watch TV at times and you listen to some guys and the things they say, and you think, ‘They’re not even close.’ I’m sure I’ll be in the same boat, people will be saying the same about me, but for the most part I did enjoy it very much.”
While they’re sad to see him hang up his cleats, shoulder pads and helmet, the Bucs spent Thursday celebrating Moore’s career and his new position in the radio booth.
“This is an exciting day for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and an exciting day for Dave Moore’s career,” said Bucs general manager Bruce Allen, who served as Moore’s agent during his first two years in the NFL. “[He will be] providing great insight into special teams for the first time in the radio booth, as well as his complete understanding of what we do offensively and defensively. [His] career represented consistency and it represented the type of leader and player he is.”
Moore leaves the game of football having earned the respect of a lot of players and coaches, including Gruden, who worked with Moore as a wide receivers coach at the University of Pittsburgh when Moore was a collegiate player there.
“He’s a pro,” Gruden said of Moore. “He was a professional football player. He’s versatile, he’s a team guy, he’s a consistent football player and he’s a good player. That’s why he played as long as he did. He’s able to do a lot of things and he’s able to do a lot of things well.”
Moore was one of the fan favorites in Tampa Bay. He will still be performing for the Buccaneers and their fans on Sundays, but it will be in the radio booth instead of on the football field.
“I can still do what I love to do, and that’s to be around football,” said Moore. “It’s been such a big part of my life. I love the game. The kind of player I’ve always been is that I have to pay attention to the details. The big, stronger guys can kind of get away, but I was always undersized. I had to be very good at technique and learning defenses and anticipating what was going on around me. Hopefully I can take that and be a guy that can give something to the people who are listening to it about the game and why things happen and what to look for.”
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