clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Who should be the next Ring of Honor inductee for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers?

Last week we asked when the throwback game should be held, and overwhelmingly you seem to think the Week 4 Monday Night Football game against the Indianapolis Colts would be the perfect time to whip out the creamsicles. But with the return of the orange uniforms also comes the return of the Ring of Honor, and the next addition to that ring. The first two inductees were Hall of Famer Lee Roy Selmon and the first head coach of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, John McKay. These are the options I can see, let me know in the comments if you want to see someone else included in the poll. Who should be the next inductee?

Derrick Brooks: Officially retired last offseason. Spent his entire career - 14 years - in a Bucs uniform, starting 208 consecutive regular season games, a franchise record. He made 11 Pro Bowls, was named a First-Team All-Pro 6 times and Second-Team All-Pro 3 times, also named to the 2000s All-Decade Team. He was the NFL Defensive MVP in 2002, the Bucs' Super Bowl Season. He was perhaps the most important player in the Bucs' Tampa 2 defense. He was incredibly fast, a hard-hitting tackler and a great coverage linebacker. Off the field he was as highly regarded as any other player. A true franchise icon.

Doug Williams: If the Buccaneers are trying to do this chronologically, Doug Williams is the next logical addition. He was the Bucs' first franchise QB, who put up impressive numbers despite having a poor supporting cast. He spent five years with the Bucs, when owner Hugh Culverhouse refused to offer him a fair contract. Williams left for the USFL, and won Super Bowl MVP with the Redskins when he returned. He's not the most storied player in franchise history, but the Bucs collapsed quickly when he left. In the 2000s he returned to the Bucs in a front office role, but his contract was allowed to expire after the 2009 season. Williams and the Bucs may not be on the best of terms, which would get in the way of his induction.

Paul Gruber: The Bucs' best offensive linemen, starting all 12 of his seasons from 1988 to 1999 for a total of 183 games. Never made the Pro Bowl and he was never named an All-Pro (despite wikipedia's insistence that he was), but was certainly deserving of those honors. He was a terrific left tackle who could shut down the best defensive ends in pass protection, and he was a powerful drive blocker as well. One of the very best Buccaneers.

Hardy Nickerson: Nicknamed The Dragon, Nickerson was the heart of the Bucs defense from 1993 to 1999. He made 5 Pro Bowls, was named All-Pro four times and was named to the 1990s All-Decade Team. One of the very few star players who dared come to Tampa in free agency in the Culverhouse era, he was the first building block of what would later become a great defense. The best Middle Linebacker in Bucs' history.

Mike Alstott: A fan favorite, the A-Train was a punishing runner, a good lead blocker and a capable receiver out of the backfield. He spent 12 seasons in Tampa, making 6 Pro Bowls and being named All-Pro four times.

Warren Sapp: One of the most important players in the Bucs' Tampa 2 defense, and one of the greatest defensive tackles in league history. Sapp was the prototypical 3-technique tackle: big, strong and incredibly quick. At his peak he was routinely triple-teamed and still found a way to make an impact on the field. He made 7 Pro Bowls, was named First-Team All-Pro four times and Second-Team All-Pro twice. He was named to both the 1990s and the 2000s All-Decade team. Sapp won NFL Defensive MVP in 1999. He has 77 sacks as a Buccaneer, and sacked the quarterback 16.5 times in 2000. Sapp left in free agency to the Oakland Raiders after the 2003 season, when the Bucs failed to re-sign him.

James Wilder: Wilder may be the Bucs' best running back. He has the most rushing yards in Bucs' history, as well as the most receptions. He had one year in which he was incredible: In 1984 he carried the ball a ridiculous 407 times for 1,544 yards and added 85 receptions 685 yards. He made the Pro Bowl and was named a First-Team All-Pro for his performance that season. While he never again came close to that workload in a single season, he remained an important part of the Bucs offense over his entire career, as a lead blocker, a third-down back and situational running back. James Wilder never played for a good team, but he was always a good player.