- Pat Yasinskas, ESPN Staff Writer
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Now that Derrick Brooks is in, it’s time to start wondering about who will be the next player with Tampa Bay ties to enter the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have had a nice run with Warren Sapp and Brooks getting selected in back-to-back years. But it might be a while before they have some Tampa Bay company.
John Lynch is one candidate many Tampa Bay fans think belongs in the Hall of Fame. But Lynch already has come up short in two elections. Lynch has a very nice resume and might be able to slide in during a year when the competition isn’t stiff.
But let’s face reality here. Lynch might never get in. It’s difficult for safeties to get into the Hall of Fame. Lynch made a history as a hitter, and safeties are measured mostly by interception totals. Lynch might keep getting passed over.
Cornerback Ronde Barber probably has a better shot than Lynch. But Barber, who isn’t eligible for three more years, isn’t the sure first-ballot Hall of Famer many Buccaneers fans assume he is. Barber at least is in the conversation, but it might take some time for him to get in.
Barber might need the stars to align properly in a given year to get elected.
There also are a lot of Tampa Bay fans that believe fullback Mike Alstott belongs in the Hall of Fame. Um, that’s not going to happen. Alstott was a very nice player. But he didn’t have big stats, and fullbacks don’t make the Hall of Fame these days.
So who’s the next Buccaneer to head to the Hall of Fame? It could be Barber. If not, it could take another generation. Gerald McCoy could be a candidate if he turns in another eight or so seasons similar to the past two.