Few NFL players were ever as vocal about their abilities as Warren Sapp, which can be an especially annoying quality when the player in question can't back up his talk. Sapp consistently backed it up, and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, his team for nine seasons, are happy to reward him for his services and his confidence. The 2013 Pro Football Hall of Fame inductee will have his No. 99 retired by the Buccaneers and will get his name in Tampa's Ring of Honor. He will be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in August.
Sapp will join Lee Roy Selmon, John McKay, Jimmie Giles and Paul Gruber as the fifth member of the Bucs' Ring of Honor. The 12th-overall pick in the 1995 NFL Draft out of Miami, he went off the board after disappointments like Ki-Jana Carter, Michael Westbrook and Mike Mamula. Sapp was a seven-time Pro Bowl and six-time All-Pro defensive tackle who remained healthy and consistent while helping turn the Buccaneers into one of the most feared defenses in the NFL. During his rookie season, the Buccaneers went 7-9 while finishing 27th in total defense, but the arrival of Tony Dungy, Monte Kiffin and the "Tampa Two" defense transformed the team to the league's third-best defense by 1997.
Perhaps none of that would have been possible if not for Sapp as one of the best "3-tech" defensive tackles in the NFL.
Sapp registered 12.5 sacks in 1999, winning NFL Defensive Player of the Year honors, and then followed that up with 16.5 sacks in 2000. That all culminated in 2002, when Tampa Bay was the best defense in football and the Buccaneers beat the Oakland Raiders in Super Bowl XXXVII. Coincidentally, Sapp would join the Raiders in 2004 and finish the last four years of his career in Oakland.
He will get to be honored as a member of the Ring of Honor on Monday Night Football, when the Bucs take on the Miami Dolphins on November 11 -- perhaps his last chance to make a big statement on the football field.