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Thursday, October 16, 2008
Selecting players for Bucs' Ring of Honor

By Pat Yasinskas
ESPN.com

Posted by ESPN.com's Pat Yasinskas

Nice move by Tampa Bay ownership to finally start the Buccaneer Ring of Honor. It's going to happen next season, in conjunction with the 30th anniversary of the team's first trip to the NFC Championship Game.

You can say this franchise was overdue in creating something like this, but the Bucs were pretty dismal until the mid-1990s when the Glazer family bought the team and Tony Dungy became the coach. Seattle, which also began as an expansion team in 1976, already has 10 members in its ring of honor. But the Bucs can begin catching up quickly.

Not sure how they'll handle linebacker Derrick Brooks, assuming he's still playing next season. Do you wait until he retires or do you go ahead and put the best player in franchise history in the first class?

Some other recent Bucs -- Warren Sapp, John Lynch and Mike Alstott -- also are sure-fire members. So are current Bucs Warrick Dunn and Ronde Barber. For that matter, so is Dungy. They'll all get in over time. And some of them could be in the first class as the Bucs determine the criteria.

But I know three guys who, no matter what the rules are, should be in the first class:

1. Lee Roy Selmon. The defensive end is Tampa Bay's only Hall of Famer.

2. Doug Williams. The quarterback didn't play all that long for the Bucs, but that wasn't his fault. Former owner Hugh Culverhouse, who was notoriously cheap, forced Williams to jump to the USFL. The Glazers went on to right that wrong by bringing Williams back to work in the team's personnel office. Williams' overall career, which included a Super Bowl win with Washington, also should factor in.

3. Paul Gruber. It's easy to forget the offensive tackle because of the nature of his position and because he played on some absolutely horrible teams. But, for a very long time, Gruber was Tampa Bay's lone bright spot and also one of the classiest people you'll ever meet.