Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Warren Sapp

TAMPA, Fla. – On the surface, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are doing their due diligence on Jameis Winston.

[+] EnlargeJameis Winston
AP Photo/Doug McSchoolerJameis Winston might have played in state, but he's still not an easy sell to the fan base.
They had the Florida State quarterback in for a visit Tuesday. He met with general manager Jason Licht, coach Lovie Smith, ownership and others. That’s the kind of homework you would expect from a team that holds the No. 1 overall pick in the draft.

But I have to wonder if the Bucs had an ulterior motive in bringing in Winston almost two months before the draft. And I wonder if that ulterior motive is why pictures and video of Winston’s visit showed up on the team website. I’m still wondering if that possible motive played a role in Smith saying a few weeks ago that he would have no problem with Winston being the face of the franchise.

Are the Bucs preparing their fans for the selection of Winston?

Ordinarily, fan bases jump up and down when their team holds the No. 1 pick and is about to draft a quarterback. That is especially true when the quarterback played his college football in the same state.

But things are different with Winston. His football talent is unquestionable, but he’s a polarizing figure. A large part of the Tampa Bay fan base still is hoping the Bucs take Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota instead.

That’s because of Winston’s background. While at Florida State, he was accused of (but not charged with) sexual assault. He also had several other off-field transgressions that have left questions about his maturity.

But the early indications are that Winston has won the Bucs over and they’re prepared to draft him. The Glazer family, which owns the team, is very private. But the Glazers still care very deeply about public perception. They want a franchise that fans can fall in love with the way they did back in the glory days of Derrick Brooks, Warren Sapp and John Lynch. They need a face for their franchise, and Winston is a charismatic guy.

Maybe the Bucs are being so public with their feelings about Winston because they want to give their fans some extra time to embrace the selection.
TAMPA, Fla. – Former Buccaneers defensive end Simeon Rice had some strong words about deserving a spot in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

"There's no Hall of Fame without me in it," Rice says. "There's just not. I dominated when I played. There was nobody better at my position. Nobody."

Rice also took an obvious shot at Hall of Famer Michael Strahan.

"I didn't have nobody falling down to help me get sacks," Rice said. "I didn't have that. I had to earn everything I got."

The falling down reference is to Brett Favre allowing Strahan to set the single-season sack record.

Does Rice belong in the Hall of Fame? He was a great pass rusher, collecting 122 career sacks. But Rice wasn’t even nominated for the Hall of Fame this year and 113 other people were. You can make the argument that Rice was a one-dimensional player who didn’t play the run well.

But there’s more to it than that. Rice was a role player in a great Tampa Bay defense. Warren Sapp and Derrick Brooks already are in the Hall of Fame, John Lynch was a finalist this year, and Ronde Barber will have a shot in a couple of years. You can’t take every good player from those Tampa Bay defenses and put them in the Hall of Fame.

Had the Bucs won more than one Super Bowl, Rice might have a shot. But one championship doesn’t warrant four Hall of Fame players.
TAMPA, Fla. -- The fact that coach Tony Dungy and safety John Lynch didn’t get elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame should serve as a dose of cold, hard reality for Tampa Bay Buccaneers fans.

It might be a while before the Bucs get their next representative in the Hall of Fame. Maybe Lynch and/or Dungy slide in during a lean year, but maybe they keep coming close, but just short.

Dungy and Lynch both have excellent qualifications. But you can also poke holes in the Hall of Fame arguments for each of them. Dungy won a lot of games with the Bucs and Indianapolis Colts, but he won only one Super Bowl despite having a great defense in Tampa Bay and Peyton Manning in Indianapolis.

Lynch was the consummate hitter, but safeties usually are measured by interceptions. Lynch only had 26 of them.

Tampa Bay fans are a little spoiled because Warren Sapp and Derrick Brooks each made it in on the first ballot in the two previous years. It already has been shown that Dungy and Lynch are going to have a hard time getting in.

If they don’t, who’s next from the Buccaneers? You can make a strong case for cornerback Ronde Barber, who will be eligible in two years. Barber’s durability allowed him to put up Hall of Fame numbers, but he might not be the automatic first-ballot choice that Tampa Bay fans believe he is.

Outside of Tampa Bay, Barber is viewed a little differently. Scouts, coaches and players from other teams will tell you that Barber was a very good player. But he also is seen as someone who was a product of the system in the Tampa Two defense. They’ll also tell you teams didn’t have to game plan for Barber the way they did for Sapp and Brooks.

Maybe Barber gets in, or maybe he joins Lynch and Dungy on the fence. If none of those three makes it, it could be another generation before the Bucs get their next representative.

It could be current defensive tackle Gerald McCoy, who needs to string together a bunch more seasons like the last three. If that doesn’t happen, the next representative for the Bucs might be someone who hasn’t even joined the team yet.
TAMPA, Fla. -- I think John Lynch belongs in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. But I have to admit I’m partial.

I had the good fortune to cover the early part of Lynch’s career with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. I saw plenty of big hits that made the highlight reels. I also saw some big interceptions. Beyond that, I saw one of the nicest guys I’ve ever covered.

But personality doesn’t count in the Hall of Fame voting. If it did, Lynch would have no problem getting in. But the reality is he’s fighting an uphill battle. He made it to the final 15, but he may not make it any further when the voting takes place Saturday in Phoenix.

Safety just isn’t a glamour position in the eyes of the Hall of Fame voters. Only seven full-time safeties are in the Hall of Fame. Guys like Ronnie Lott and Rod Woodson don’t count because they split their careers between cornerback and safety.

There hasn’t been a true safety selected since Paul Krause in 1998. And it took Krause, who is the NFL's career leader with 81 interceptions, more than a decade to get into the Hall of Fame.

If it was so difficult for Krause to get in, it probably will be even tougher for Lynch. The most important statistic for safeties is interceptions. Lynch had 26 in his career. That’s a respectable number, but it’s not a Hall of Fame number.

If Lynch is going to have any chance at getting in, voters will need to take a big-picture look at his career. They need to remember that Lynch, along with Warren Sapp and Derrick Brooks, were the key parts to a defense that was the best of its era. They need to remember that Lynch wasn’t a center fielder. He could play the pass, but his bigger role was to be a hitter.

Lynch was one of the hardest-hitting safeties in NFL history. But that might not be enough to convince the voters to put him in the Hall of Fame.

Bucs need to wrap up Lavonte David

January, 26, 2015
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TAMPA, Fla. -- The Buccaneers have one very important point of business to take care of this offseason that doesn't involve drafting a quarterback or signing a high-profile free agent.

But it’s just as important as either of those two things. The Bucs need to take care of one of their own. They need to sign linebacker Lavonte David to a contract extension.

David’s under contract through the end of the 2015 season, but the Bucs would be wise to wrap him up as soon as possible. It would be dangerous to let David get anywhere close to free agency because he is a cornerstone on which the Bucs are trying to build.

It won’t be cheap. Based on what other top linebackers make, David should command somewhere around $7 million per season. The Bucs would be smart to get a deal done with David before he plays another season and drives the price tag up.

Coach Lovie Smith frequently calls David the best outside linebacker in football and he might be right. David is so good and so dependable that people tend to take him for granted and that’s why he has yet to be selected for the Pro Bowl.

Fans outside of Tampa don’t know who David is and that’s unfortunate. But teams around the league know all about David. If he were to become a free agent, teams would be jumping over one another to try to sign him.

The Bucs can’t afford to let that happen. Despite a 2-14 first season, you get the sense that Smith is building something good. He’s modeling the defense after what it was in the franchise’s glory days.

Defensive tackle Gerald McCoy is a lot like Warren Sapp. David might be the second coming of Derrick Brooks. McCoy and David are the nucleus and that’s not a bad start.

The Bucs already signed McCoy to a long-term extension. Now, it’s time to take care of David.
TAMPA, Fla. -- The Tampa Tribune's Ira Kaufman did a fine piece Friday on the 20th anniversary of Malcolm Glazer's purchase of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

One quote jumped out at me. It came from New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft.

[+] EnlargeMalcolm Glazer
USA TODAY SportsThe 20 years of ownership under the late Malcolm Glazer and his family have seen their share of peeks -- such as the 2002 Super Bowl trophy -- but also valleys for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
"Those fans should remember what it was like 20 years ago, before the Glazer family took over," Kraft said.

That's an excellent point. Even coming off a 2-14 season, the Bucs are in much better shape than they were 20 years ago. I remember those days well, and they were absolute chaos.

After previous owner Hugh Culverhouse died, the team was operated by a three-man trust. The goal was to sell the team, and keeping it in Tampa Bay didn't seem to be a priority. There were rumblings that the Bucs would end up in Cleveland, Sacramento or Orlando.

Glazer's purchase didn't immediately stop the speculation. He played the game like the masterful businessman that he was. He flirted with a few other cities but ended up getting Hillsborough County voters to pass a tax to pay for a new stadium.

That coincided with the start of an era of prosperity the Bucs had never before enjoyed. Glazer hired coach Tony Dungy in 1996, and soon the Bucs became playoff regulars.

Raymond James Stadium was the place to be seen in Tampa Bay, and the Bucs boasted of having a waiting list of 100,000 for season tickets. A Super Bowl championship in the 2002 season highlighted it all.

There was star power with coach Jon Gruden, defensive tackle Warren Sapp, linebacker Derrick Brooks, safety John Lynch and wide receiver Keyshawn Johnson.

Glazer, who helped bring the Super Bowl to Tampa twice, suffered a series of strokes in 2006 and died in 2014. Even before his illness, his sons Bryan, Joel and Ed were heavily involved in the business side of things, and their roles only increased.

The ownership philosophy and style didn't change, but the results did soon after Glazer became ill. The Bucs haven't made the playoffs since the 2007 season and haven't won a postseason game since their Super Bowl victory.

Attendance has fallen, and the Bucs have bought up tickets to prevent local television blackouts the last two seasons.

But after the rocky tenures of coaches Raheem Morris and Greg Schiano, the Bucs seem to have found stability. They also hold the No. 1 pick in the draft.

Despite all the recent struggles, the Bucs still are better off than they were 20 years ago.
The Pro Football Hall of Fame class will be announced Jan. 31. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers' John Lynch is one of 18 finalists.

[+] EnlargeJohn Lynch
Mitchell Layton/Getty ImagesJohn Lynch finished his career with 26 interceptions.
When I think about Lynch, two things stand out, and they're contradictory. On the field, Lynch was a vicious hitter (he once knocked out his own brother-in-law John Allred, then with the Bears). Off it, Lynch was one of the nicest guys I have ever covered.

So how could a guy be so nasty on the field and so gentle off it? I remember asking Lynch that when I was doing a story on him at the Pro Bowl one year. His answer was that he flipped a switch when he walked onto the field and became a different person, and that's why Lynch might end up in the Hall of Fame.

Being a nice guy isn't going to get Lynch into the Hall of Fame. What matters is what he did on the field, and he did plenty. Along with Warren Sapp and Derrick Brooks, both Hall of Famers, Lynch helped turn the Bucs from a laughingstock into a regular playoff contender.

When the Bucs unceremoniously let Lynch go after 11 seasons because they thought he was washed up, he went to the Denver Broncos and had four productive seasons.

He had 490 tackles, 26 interceptions, 13 sacks and 10 forced fumbles. Interceptions are the key stat for safeties, but Lynch's total doesn't stand out.

What stood out were the hits Lynch delivered. They didn't go unnoticed, as Lynch was selected as a finalist and is in his third year on the ballot. And those big hits should be the first thing voters think of when they're selecting this year's class.

Gerald McCoy named All-Pro

January, 2, 2015
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TAMPA, Fla. -- Tampa Bay Buccaneers defensive tackle Gerald McCoy was named second-team All-Pro by the Associated Press on Friday.

That marks the second straight year McCoy earned All-Pro honors. He becomes the first Tampa Bay player to earn consecutive All-Pro honors since cornerback Ronde Barber did it in three straight years -- 2004-’06. McCoy also is only the fourth defensive lineman in franchise history to earn multiple All-Pro awards. Warren Sapp, Simeon Rice and Lee Roy Selmon previously achieved those honors.

Last week, McCoy was selected to the Pro Bowl for the third straight season. McCoy had 8.5 sacks in 2014, despite missing three games because of injury.
TAMPA, Fla. -- Gerald McCoy's season is over, but that doesn’t mean the Tampa Bay Buccaneers All-Pro defensive tackle has stopped talking.

McCoy, who will miss the rest of the season with a knee injury, held court with the media Thursday and he talked – at length – about Sunday’s matchup with the Green Bay Packers and he heaped praise on their quarterback.

“I’m one of Aaron Rodgers’ biggest fans,’’ McCoy said. I know it’s bad to say as a defensive lineman, but I am. I’ve been wanting to play against the guy since I got drafted. He’s arguably not just the best quarterback, but the best player in the NFL. From his athleticism to his smarts. I’m just an Aaron Rodgers fan. I’ve just been wanting to play against him.’’

McCoy has never played against Rodgers and he admires the Packers the way he admires their quarterback.

“This team is a potential Super Bowl team and one of the top offenses in the league,’’ McCoy said. “Those type of moments don’t come along real often. For me, I love this game so much and I’m such a huge competitor I’m just missing the fact that I get to play against a team of this caliber or against a quarterback such as Aaron Rodgers.’’

McCoy likes to pattern himself after Hall of Famer Warren Sapp, who enjoyed a healthy rivalry with another Green Bay quarterback: Brett Favre.

“[Sapp] got to play against Favre all the time,’’ McCoy said. “It’s not like I have bad ones. I get to play against Drew Brees twice a year. But, Aaron Rodgers, I’m just a fan of his. I hate that I have to miss this because this will be my second time missing the opportunity to play against him. Hopefully it will come around again.’’

Buccaneers' defense has been surging

November, 26, 2014
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TAMPA, Fla. -- In a 2-9 season, it’s hard to pick out bright spots for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

But there has been one area where the Bucs have been trending up for the last month or so: defense. Since Week 8, the defense, which was ranked last in the league at one point, has been dramatically better.

McCoy
McCoy
Since Week 8, the Tampa Bay defense ranks fourth in the league in yards allowed. In that same span, the Bucs have recorded 14 sacks, which is tied for fifth in the NFL. In that time frame, Gerald McCoy has 5.5 sacks and Jacquies Smith has four sacks.

The surge by the defense could be a sign of better things to come. But it’s really not a surprise that it took some time for the unit to fully grasp the Tampa 2 defense. McCoy said he talked to former Tampa Bay greats Warren Sapp, Ronde Barber and Derrick Brooks soon after Lovie Smith was hired to coach the Bucs, and they told him not to expect the defense to be great right away.

“Guys that have been in this defense, they just know it takes time," McCoy said.

Defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier agreed the defense takes time to master.

“Part of it is guys having a better understanding," Frazier said. “We’ve been together longer now. They’ve heard these terms a lot more."

Frazier also said some of the defensive improvement can be traced to personnel moves. He pointed to Jacquies Smith and safety Major Wright, who have moved into starting roles.

Frazier also singled out a few other players. He sang the praises of middle linebacker Mason Foster.

“I think he has a better command of the middle linebacker position in this system and what’s required," Frazier said. “You really are the quarterback of the defense in this system. If you don’t have a good grasp of what other people’s roles are, then you are not going to be what we need at the middle linebacker position. He’s become more aware of his responsibilities and the fact that he can’t have tunnel vision and just think about (middle linebacker). He has to be aware of what’s happening with the people in front of him and even the people behind him. He’s grown in that area, and I think it’s helped us improve."

Frazier also said second-year cornerback Johnthan Banks has helped the defense improve.

“He kind of mirrors the improvement of our defense," Frazier said. “You look at the way he has come along, I think it coincides with the rest of our defense. You can see the growth. He’s making more plays. He’s playing with more confidence."

McCoy said the defense’s attitude has changed and the unit has become more consistent.

“The true measure of a man’s mental toughness is consistency," McCoy said. “You want to work to be consistent. The greatest anything is consistent, whether it’s a restaurant, a person’s stats, your momma’s cooking. If it’s great, it’s consistent. I think we’re working to be more consistent and our attitude has changed."
TAMPA, Fla. -- In his role as the second coming of Warren Sapp, Buccaneers defensive tackle Gerald McCoy faces a lot of double-team blocking.

So who better to turn to than Sapp for advice on how to handle it?

That’s what McCoy did a couple days ago. He went straight to a guy who faced more than his share of double teams.

“It used to frustrate me,’’ McCoy said Thursday. “But then I kind of realized that’s what comes with it. Ninety-nine told me, 'It’s tough sledding down there. When you’re the guy, that’s what you’re going to get. Get used to it. Get over it.'"

That’s solid advice from a Hall of Famer. Like Sapp once was, McCoy is the best player on the Tampa Bay defensive line. The double teams aren’t going away. McCoy said he has to deal with the double teams and find ways to beat them.

“It has to be done in order for me to be effective,’’ McCoy said. “It’s something I have to work on extremely hard, especially if it comes up in practice. That’s the best time to work on it. There are a lot of times when teams max protect and somebody has to win. I’ve got to get better and perfect working against double teams. There are ways to slip double teams. There are ways to align yourself in a better way when you know it’s coming. There are a lot of different things I can do. I’ve just got to keep working at it because if I get it down it will help us a lot.’’

Logic would say that the double teams on McCoy would free up the rest of the defensive line to come up with more sacks. But it hasn’t worked out that way so far.

McCoy leads the Bucs with five sacks. Nobody else has more than two and the Bucs have only 14 sacks as a team. Defensive end Michael Johnson has been slowed by injuries all season and that has hurt the pass rush. But McCoy said the defensive line needs to function better as a unit.

“We’ve got to work better together,’’ McCoy said. “That’s a fact. We definitely do. As for coordinating our rushes, meeting more than just in the meetings that are required. We have to meet as a unit and kind of get a feel for how we want to rush. But we definitely have to work better together.’’
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TAMPA, Fla. -- Give the Tampa Bay Buccaneers credit for finally getting something right.

The team has struggled through a 1-5 start and hasn’t made the playoffs since last decade. But Saturday, the Bucs made the best move they’ve made in a very long time.

McCoy
McCoy
They signed All-Pro defensive tackle Gerald McCoy to a seven-year contract extension worth $98 million. That makes McCoy the highest-paid defensive tackle in the league, but he deserves every bit of it. He’s the best defensive tackle in the league and still has upside.

But McCoy is more than just a defensive tackle. He’s the leader of this franchise on and off the field. He recently has called himself out for not playing up to par and called the Bucs’ defense "soft." Those words mean a lot from McCoy because he has the résumé to back them up.

The McCoy extension is also a sign that coach Lovie Smith and general manager Jason Licht are going forward with their plan on how to build the Bucs. Smith has made it clear he wants to build a defense like the Bucs had in the late 1990s and early 2000s.

That’s when the Bucs had Warren Sapp at defensive tackle and Derrick Brooks at weakside linebacker. The new Bucs are in great shape at both of those positions with McCoy filling the Sapp role and Lavonte David drawing favorable comparisons to Brooks.

David is likely to get his contract extension after this season, and that will lock up the Bucs’ nucleus for the long term. Despite the team's record, Smith and Licht are going about things the right way. They’ve made sure their best player doesn’t get anywhere near free agency.

They still need another offseason of personnel moves to really be competitive, but the Bucs have made sure they’ve secured their main building block. McCoy is a leader on and off the field, and, if the Bucs can fill in some of the holes around him on defense, they can truly be like the Bucs of old.
TAMPA, Fla. -- Throughout his career in Tampa Bay, defensive tackle Gerald McCoy has tried to follow in the footsteps of Pro Football Hall of Famer Warren Sapp.

McCoy was at it again last week. Through various television shows, McCoy is familiar with the story of the 1996 Tampa Bay Buccaneers and their turning point. Sapp and Hall of Fame linebacker Derrick Brooks love to tell the story.

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McCoy
It goes something like this: The Bucs were in their first season under coach Tony Dungy. They were off to a horrible start and were a laughingstock. They flew out to San Diego as a heavy underdog to the Chargers. As Brooks and Sapp watched television that morning, the announcers were making fun of the Bucs.

On the spot, Sapp and Brooks made a pledge to each other that the laughing had to stop. They went out and beat the Chargers that day. They finished the season strong and made the playoffs the following year.

McCoy used that story last week to get his teammates motivated for their game at Pittsburgh. The tactic worked as the Bucs pulled off an upset for their first win of the season.

"I talked to (linebacker) Lavonte (David) and a couple of guys and told them that story and I told them about Sapp and Brooks and the decision they made that day," McCoy said. "I told them that has to be us. Nobody's thinking we can win. This is the Terrible Towel, the historic Pittsburgh Steelers and no one is expecting us to win. Let's go out there and change that. People think we're the worst team in the NFL, that's awesome. Keep thinking that."

Like the 1996 team, the Bucs were at a low point before the Pittsburgh game. They were coming off a 56-14 loss to Atlanta. They were 0-3 under first-year coach Lovie Smith. McCoy said the Atlanta game fired up the Bucs.

"It definitely motivated us," McCoy said. "When we got those extra days off, we put it behind us. Besides being asked about it, nobody really brought it up. It was like 'We're 0-3. We were here last year. We can't keep allowing this to happen.' But it definitely was an eye opener. We were already 0-2 and then we went and allowed this to happen. We can't keep this going."

It remains to be seen if the Pittsburgh game really was a turning point for a young team. But that's exactly what McCoy sees it as and he said it's time to give Tampa Bay fans what they deserve.

"The fans just want to see a winner," McCoy said. "So going on a two-game win streak coming home, I personally believe we'll have a sold-out crowd. Baltimore coming in, that's a huge game, especially coming off a two-game win streak and coming back home? I would hate to be the opposing team because I know how crazy our fans are going to be. This league is a game of momentum. It's hard to stop anybody once they get rolling."

A turning point for the Buccaneers?

September, 28, 2014
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PITTSBURGH -- It was only one win. But it might end up having an important place in history.

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ 27-24 victory against the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday might end up being a turning point in franchise history. A struggling young team went into a hostile environment and beat a team it wasn’t supposed to.

It looked an awful lot like the biggest turning point in franchise history. That was back in 1996 when first-year coach Tony Dungy took a struggling team out to San Diego. The Bucs pulled off an upset that day that Hall of Famers Warren Sapp and Derrick Brooks have referred to as the turning point that led to the team’s only period of sustained success.

Like Dungy’s team, this year’s version of the Bucs struggled early. The Bucs came into the game at 0-3 and were coming off a 56-14 loss to the Atlanta Falcons. Around Tampa Bay, fans were starting to question whether coach Lovie Smith knew what he was doing. Despite the criticism, Smith stuck with his philosophy.

On Sunday, that paid off. The pass rush showed up for the first time all season, and quarterback Mike Glennon, playing for an injured Josh McCown, provided a spark for the offense. But Sunday might have had as much to do with the future as it does the present.

“I definitely believe in momentum," Smith said. “Sometimes nothing good happens until you just keep going. Once you get that momentum, you find a way to win. You have to experience it first. We didn’t know how to win."

Now, the Bucs know what winning feels like.

“This is just a step," Smith said. “We talk about quarters [of the season]. This is the last game of the first quarter. We have many seasons through the year. To be able to finish off this first quarter on a win and to have the opportunity to win was big."

It’s big because this season still has potential. If the Bucs continue to play like they did against the Steelers, they’ll have a shot at a successful season.

“It takes time," Smith said. “Any new program starting out, you’d like to be playoff-ready right away, but that didn’t happen. You’d just like to win a game right away, and that didn’t happen. It takes a little bit of time, but the guys have continued to work hard. Eventually things just kind of clicked a little bit. We still have a long way to go."

But at least the Bucs finally got on the right path.

Gerald McCoy hopes for quick return

September, 19, 2014
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TAMPA, Fla. – On the day after a 56-14 loss to Atlanta, there was at least one small bit of hope coming out of One Buccaneer Place.

All-Pro defensive tackle Gerald McCoy said he hopes he’s able to return for next week’s game at Pittsburgh. McCoy missed the Atlanta game with a broken hand. McCoy said he wanted to play, but it was in his best long-term interest not to.

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McCoy
“Of course I wanted to [play], but it’s a long season, and I’d rather my team have me in the long run than just for one game,’’ McCoy said. “There was a chance that if I played last night, I could’ve completely messed my hand up, and then needed surgery, which would put me out for good. I had to play it smart, but I’m working to get back.”

McCoy also took exception to talk from fans that Tampa Bay Hall of Fame defensive tackle Warren Sapp kept right on playing through a broken hand.

“Let me clarify something, because I’ve seen some people trying to give me a hard time for missing the game,’’ McCoy said. “Everybody says Sapp played through it. But let’s get our facts straight. Sapp sat out a game, too. He missed a game in Minnesota , and then came back against Green Bay away, and had a pretty good game. So let’s get our facts straight, OK? Thank you.”

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