Offensive tackle Paul Gruber reportedly will be the next player inducted into the Tampa Bay Buccaneers Ring of Honor.
That’s a great choice. Gruber belongs in the Ring of Honor with John McKay, Lee Roy Selmon and Jimmie Giles. Gruber was the consummate pro for 12 seasons. He was an excellent left tackle, who happened to have the misfortune of playing on some very bad teams. That may have prevented Gruber, who also was a true professional on and off the field, from getting all the recognition he deserved. But this latest honor may help make up for it.
Gruber deserves this honor, but there’s obviously something going on behind the scenes. The Bucs have been going in chronological order from the start of their franchise an expansion team. McKay and Selmon were logical choices as the first two inductees. When Giles was inducted last year, some fans and media said former quarterback Doug Williams should have gone in ahead of him. But, shortly before Giles’ selection, Williams had left his job in Tampa Bay’s front office on less than good terms.
By jumping ahead to Gruber, who played in the 1980s and 1990s, the Bucs clearly are moving a generation forward. They have passed over Williams and it obviously has to do with the lingering animosity between him and the team.
Williams and the Bucs need to work through that. I don’t know that things will ever be warm and fuzzy between Williams and the Bucs. But there’s no reason pettiness (on both sides) can't be set aside and things can’t at least be cordial at some point down the road.
Williams is a huge part of Tampa Bay’s history. At some point, he needs to be in the Ring of Honor.