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The PewterReport.com Roundtable features the opinions of the PR staff as it tackles a topic each week that involves the Bucs. This week’s topic: Who Is The Most Underrated Bucs Player Of All-Time?

Scott Reynolds: Mayberry Deserves To Be In Bucs Ring Of Honor

Last week the Pewter Report staff debated whether quarterback Tom Brady deserved to be in the Bucs Ring of Honor after just one season. After all, Brady did set franchise records with 40 touchdown passes and account for the most TDs in a single season (43) in 2020. And he also helped Tampa Bay win Super Bowl LV and was the game’s MVP. Not bad for his Bucs debut. Aside from Brady, defensive end Simeon Rice, middle linebacker Hardy Nickerson and running back James Wilder, another Tampa Bay legend that belongs in the Bucs Ring of Honor is former center Tony Mayberry. He’s also the most underrated Buccaneer in my opinion.

Former Bucs C Tony Mayberry

Former Bucs C Tony Mayberry – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR

Everyone over the age of 35 remembers Tampa Bay play-by-play announcer Gene Deckerhoff’s legendary “Alstott up the gut!” call on the Bucs Radio Network whenever Mike Alstott ripped off a tackle-breaking run up the middle. And who was the middle man that provided Alstott – and running back Warrick Dunn – so many holes to run through back in the 1990s? It was Mayberry, the team’s fourth-round draft pick in 1990. The 6-foot-4, 288-pound Wake Forest product was the perfect mix of intelligence, technique and brute force. Mayberry battled the likes of Bears middle linebacker Bryan Cox, Vikings defensive tackle John Randle and Packers defensive tackle Santana Dotson on a regular basis, and helped propel the Bucs to their first trip to the playoffs in 13 years in 1997, and to an NFC Central division championship in 1999.

Mayberry became the first Bucs offensive lineman in team history to make it to the Pro Bowl. And he is the only Tampa Bay O-lineman to make the Pro Bowl three times (1997-99). That makes him the most decorated lineman in team history. While I agree that Paul Gruber should have made the Pro Bowl at least once in his illustrious career, he did get inducted into the Bucs Ring of Honor. While not as talented as Gruber, the underrated Mayberry deserves to be in the Bucs Ring of Honor, too. Gruber is third in Tampa Bay history in games started with 183 and Mayberry is right behind him in fourth place with 145. Mayberry is the second-best lineman in Bucs history.

Mark Cook: CB Donnie Abraham Deserves More Love From Fans

It would be easy to pick defensive end Simeon Rice,  but that is too obvious of a choice. Not only has Rice not garnered the Hall of Fame attention he deserves, but he isn’t even in the Bucs Ring of Honor. So I’m going off the charts a little with my pick. There are a number of players that have been very valuable to the franchise who have kind of been forgotten, or played in an era where the younger generation never got to see them in action. Guys like Dave Logan, Hugh Green, Steve Wilson, Mark Cotney, Cedric Brown and others were some of the best to ever wear a Bucs uniform. And a player who got to wear the creamsicles and the red and pewter that is overlooked often is cornerback Donnie Abraham.

Former Bucs CB Donnie Abraham

Former Bucs CB Donnie Abraham – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR

When you play on a team with Warren Sapp, Mike Alstott, Derrick Brooks, John Lynch and other stars it is easy to go somewhat unnoticed. But statistically, Abraham was one of the best cornerbacks in team history and his 31 interceptions is still second best in franchise history trailing just Ronde Barber. In six seasons with Tampa Bay, Abraham has two seven interception seasons, one with six, and two season with five picks. Despite being one of the most consistent cornerbacks in the league, Abraham made just one Pro Bowl (2000).

Abraham wasn’t a “look at me” showboating type cornerback, in fact he was fairly quiet but always a treat when dealing with the media. After leaving the Buccaneers in 2001, the “Iceman” as he was dubbed by Scott Reynolds, went on to play three more seasons for the Jets where he added seven more interceptions to his career tally. Abraham finished his NFL career with 441 tackles, 38 interceptions and five touchdowns with most of those numbers coming as a Buccaneer.

Jon Ledyard: Simeon Rice Should Be A Hall Of Famer

Because the Bucs do not have a rich offensive history, many fans and analysts tend to overrate some of their past offensive players. RB James Wilder, FB Mike Alstott, RB Warrick Dunn, WR Mark Carrier and TE Jimmie Giles were fine players, but simply role players/solid starters for most franchises. But in the same breath, the opposite happens on the defensive side of the ball. Because the Bucs had one of the league’s all-time great defenses, not all members of that unit get the praise they deserve.

The most obvious choice is Simeon Rice. For 5-and-a-half seasons, Rice was a terror in Tampa Bay, recording double digit sacks his first five years, including 14 or more three times. In an age where the league was just starting to become more pass-heavy, Rice was ahead of his time, bringing down quarterbacks at an astronomical rate. He also notched four interceptions, 19 forced fumbles and an absurd 37 pass breakups. On passing downs, Rice was as good as anybody.

Yet somehow, Rice was only a three-time Pro Bowler and one-time All-Pro. He had a 15-sack and 16.5-sack season that didn’t generate an All-Pro nod during his career. If Rice played even ten years later, there would have been far more respect for his game. The fact that we don’t even talk about the 20th-ranked sack artist of all-time as a potential Hall of Famer is a crime. Rice’s numbers, tape and career success show a player that should be a shoo-in if the selection process were better.

Matt Matera: Rice Is Underappreciated

Is it possible that a player who ended up on Jon and Mark’s top 10 all-time Bucs list is still underrated? For Simeon Rice, that’s the situation. Rice should without question be in the Bucs’ Ring Of Honor, and he can also make the case for the Hall Of Fame. We posted a video from the Pewter Report Podcast talking about how good Rice was, and Bucs fans were in agreement.

During his time with the Bucs from 2001 to 2006, Rice dominated as an edge rusher. Before Shaq Barrett and Jason Pierre-Paul, there was Simeon Rice. You could sign him up for double digit sacks with ease. Excluding his 2006 season where he was mostly injured, Rice had years of  11, 15.5, 15 12 and 14 sacks. That’s just dominant in the era of football he played in, no argument there.  The Bucs defense doesn’t get to where it was without the help of Rice.

And there’s the issue. As great as Rice was, there were even better players on defense. We all think about Derrick Brooks, Warren Sapp, John Lynch and Ronde Barber before Rice even pops up. It was such a historic defense filled with current and future (because Ronde Barber should be in) Hall Of Famers that Rice tends to get overlooked. All of them have earned it, but when it comes to the accolades, Rice should absolutely be up there with them as well.

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revfish
2 months ago

Well I think Simeon rice is a good choice, Tony Mayberry is the PERFECT Choice. No one ever talks about him, and while he is not a top 10 player and I don’t think he quite makes the ring of honor list, he has never even brought up and was nothing but consistent for 10 years. had not even thought about Donnie Abraham, but that’s an excellent choice as well. He disappeared after going to the New York Jets. Two players not mention that deserve to be on the list: first, is Steve Wilson, who I believe played for our… Read more »

revfish
Reply to  revfish
2 months ago

Hugh Green

scubog
Reply to  revfish
2 months ago

Hugh Green was a good, but not great player for the Bucs. He never seemed happy here. I remember sitting in front of my TV during that Draft, screaming for Ronnie Lott when the Bucs selected the Pitt Panther. (My home town by the way.)

Bucco Five
2 months ago

Hey, let’s give some love to an underrated Buc!
Jon: “Glad you asked. Here’s my take on this topic: Their entire offensive history is trash.”
lol. MAN. Cold blooded. 40+ years of rosters catching strays all at once. I like the honesty but damn. Caught me off guard!

Darin
2 months ago

Been going to games since the beginning like sone of you guys. I dont even think its close. Mayberry deserves more credit for sure but Hardy Nickerson is the one. By far IMO.

43 Is Only Old in Human Years
2 months ago

I don’t want to knock Simeon but every time we have this conversation his name is mentioned. He is not underrated at least by the fans. My mind always goes first to Jimmy Giles, I never hear his name mentioned but he is in the Ring just not remembered. I am going to throw out James Wilder! Only made the 1 Pro-Bowl but he might have been the only offensive player in 1984 and 85…over 400 touches in both of those seasons and I believe he is the only Buc to rush for over 1500 yards. Doug Martin game close… Read more »

seat26
2 months ago

Simeon Rice, Doug Martin, Donnie Abraham, James Wilder, Warrick Dunn, Paul Gruber, Tony Mayberry, Broderick Thomas, Kevin House. And Levante David the moment he retires.

scubog
Reply to  seat26
2 months ago

Good choices Seat. There were a lot of Bucs who were certainly underrated from a national perspective. Loved the silky smooth Kevin House. Courtney Hawkins is another who comes to mind. The late Vincent Jackson had a few good seasons.

seat26
Reply to  scubog
2 months ago

Vincent Jackson was amazing.

eaustinyoung
Reply to  seat26
2 months ago

Drug Martin? HA in what world does he deserve a mention with Dunn, Wilder, Abraham, Rice, and Gruber?

GrayBalls
Reply to  eaustinyoung
2 months ago

Yeah, Doug Martin had two good seasons(ok, great) in his career. The rest I think we would all rather forget about. It appears you may have done that already, seat.

seat26
Reply to  eaustinyoung
2 months ago

He is the 4th leading rusher in Buc history after Dunn. Their records are only separated by 300 yards.

toofamiliar17
Reply to  seat26
2 months ago

I think that’s all pretty erroneous. Dunn played here for one season less AND had to split time in the backfield with Alstott, whereas Martin was the only guy in town at the position at the time. Dunn also racked up 191 receptions for over 1800 yards, compared to Martin’s relatively paltry 107 receptions for about 800 yards. Being the 4th leading rusher in Bucs history isn’t worth much. Our offensive history is terrible, and that extends to the RB position. Wilder, our all-time leading rusher, wouldn’t be the most productive RB on 90% of NFL franchises’ all-time lists. Being… Read more »

seat26
Reply to  toofamiliar17
2 months ago

Career stats. Not just Buc stats.

toofamiliar17
Reply to  seat26
2 months ago

What do you mean? If you’re looking at career stats, then the gulf between Martin and Dunn gets a lot wider.

captain ahab
2 months ago

A couple of guys nobody talks about who are penciled in the Bucs record books are Dave Pear who was the first ever Buc selected to a pro bowl and Jimmie DuBose out of Sarasota who was the first Buc to rush for 100 yards. Not suggesting that they are the most underrated, but they did achieve milestones.

seat26
Reply to  captain ahab
2 months ago

Dave Pear was great. Jimmie Dubose had a promising career that was taken away because of injury. Remember Jerry Eckwood?

Bucc My Life
2 months ago

The guy who led our first super bowl defense, started on 8 top-10 defenses, and to boot has been the director of football operations since 2014, helping us win a second lombardi.

Shelton Quarles.

eaustinyoung
Reply to  Bucc My Life
2 months ago

Nice guy too. When I was an A/V Systems Engineer I came in to One Buc to make some changes to their projector controls in the HC’s office, war room, and linebackers room. Quarles was very cordial and friendly.

GrayBalls
Reply to  Bucc My Life
2 months ago

There’s a guy who definitely gets nowhere near the amount of love he deserves. Quiet guy who had to transition to play QB of a defense full of monsters.

seat26
Reply to  Bucc My Life
2 months ago

Yeah. Amazing. And I think was a free agent, right?

toofamiliar17
Reply to  seat26
2 months ago

Yep, UDFA in 1994.

toofamiliar17
Reply to  Bucc My Life
2 months ago

I think Quarles was a great asset for those defenses. I’m not sure I’d call him underrated, but he was definitely a great middle class quality of player. Units need elite talent at multiple positions to be great, but they also need to have “good enough” players at most other spots to achieve big things, too. Quarles was never a flashy player who ever could have gotten HOF or Ring of Honor consideration, and I think that’s reflective of his quality as a player, and it’s okay. He did his job well, and he did a great job of quarterbacking… Read more »

scubog
2 months ago

“Who was the Most Underrated Buc?” is difficult because there have been so many who have been overlooked nationally while playing on arguably the worst team in the league. We Bucs fans have historically been adept at seeing even a hint of play worthy of praise when others are blind to it. Many of those players have already been named here. It’s mind boggling trying to recollect all of the names who have worn the Bucs logo in relative obscurity. Many who contributed and were underrated weren’t here very long. Sure was a lot of roster turnover back in “The… Read more »

JayBuc52
2 months ago

Ledyard is to be forgiven, as the baby of the group, for saying that such luminaries as Alstott and Dunn would have been role players on other teams. In fact, Alstott was one of the most dominant fullbacks of his time who even garnered attention on ESPN game highlights. Dunn went on to start for the Falcons where he never “just” a role player. Wilder would have been a superstar had he played on a better team with more exposure.

Bradley Smith
2 months ago

I lean more towards players that were drafted and developed into our star players. Donnie Abraham and Tony Mayberry are good choices. Paul Gruber will always be tops on my list.

cobraboy
2 months ago

I think the current Buc Will Gholston deserves some consideration.

SoberInSac
2 months ago

I loved Rice. He would say wierd shit alot of the time. But he was dude who grew up on n Chicago and they have their own slang and mannerisms. On the field he was astonishing good. He was the best I had ever seen. When he came to Tampa I was ecstatic. He was even better than I thought. He was a freak mutant athlete like a Jevon Kearse. Kearse had about 5 more sacks then Rice but I really I’ll take Rice.

hamilton
2 months ago

Richard batman woods

scubog
Reply to  hamilton
2 months ago

It’s WOOD not “Woods”

Dave
2 months ago

A few players that come to mind when I think of underrated Bucs.
CB/SS – D.Smith(criminally underrated)
DT – Booger McFarland
CB – Brian Kelly(also criminally underrated)
FS -Tanard Jackson. Dude had a pro bowl/all pro trajectory after 3 years in the league. Just couldn’t stay out of trouble though, and ruined a potentially dynamite career.

LB – G.Hayes

OL – D.Penn

WR – M.Williams

Dave
2 months ago

A few players that come to mind when I think of underrated Bucs.
LB- H.Nickerson. it’s insane how little respect he gets. Was every bit as good as Brooks, except he played on some lousy Bucs teams, so he doesn’t get the credit he deserves
CB/SS – D.Smith(criminally underrated)
DT – Booger McFarland
CB – Brian Kelly(also criminally underrated)
WR – Keenan McCardell
WR- Joey Galloway
FS -Tanard Jackson. Dude had a pro bowl/all pro trajectory after 3 years in the league. Just couldn’t stay out of trouble though, and ruined a potentially dynamite career.

scubog
Reply to  Dave
2 months ago

Geno Hayes?????

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