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Sunday, January 31, 2010
NFC South reps on All-Decade team

By Pat Yasinskas
ESPN.com

MIAMI -- The NFL has released its All-Decade team and it has four of what I would call true NFC South players on it and a few other guys with some ties to the division.

Former Tampa Bay linebacker Derrick Brooks, current Carolina defensive end Julius Peppers, current Tampa Bay cornerback Ronde Barber and former Tampa Bay defensive tackle Warren Sapp were named to the team. Brooks was automatic. He’s the best player in the history of the NFC South. No argument with Peppers or Barber. Sapp left the Bucs after the 2003 season and spent four more seasons with Oakland.

Sapp should be a Hall of Famer, but I’m not so sure he belongs on this team because of the time frame of his career. Sapp was dominant in the 1990s and very early this decade, but he really didn’t do much in his Oakland years and has been out of the game the past two years.

The one guy I think might have been overlooked in favor of Sapp is former Carolina and current New York Jets defensive tackle Kris Jenkins. For three or four years, he was considered the best tackle in the league, and he’s resurrected his career in New York.

A few other guys from the NFC South that you could make a case for are Carolina receiver Steve Smith, New Orleans quarterback Drew Brees, former Tampa Bay safety John Lynch and former Carolina punter Todd Sauerbrun.

Also elected to the All-Decade team were current Atlanta tight end Tony Gonzalez, but he had spent his entire career with the Chiefs before joining the Falcons in 2009. Offensive tackle Willie Roaf also made the team. Roaf spent the early part of his career with New Orleans, but left for Kansas City early in the decade.