Hey guys. T-Jack here. I apologize for my lack of updates from Buccaneer training camp. I had a slight problem with babysitters so was unable to get away. That compounded with my recent computer problems has left me unable to post nearly as often as I’d like. However today I wanted to bring back a column I started during the summer. T-Jack’s Weekly Unhealthy Addiction. The column is broken down into several sections. First is the meat of the column, followed by a fun section entitled Totally Unsubstantiated Rumors Yet to be Started, then comes Buc Blogging Entertainment, Buc Banter, and finally Yo Rah. So without further ado I give you the 4th volume of Unhealthy Addiction.
I have been a diehard Buccaneers fan for a long time now. We’ve gone through an entirely winless season, been completely messed over by a guy named Bo, and seen us revived by one of the greatest coaches in our history Tony Dungy. I’ve seen us mortgage our future in a trade to get Jon Gruden to Tampa. It’s hard to argue with the result as we won a Superbowl but our team was severely handicapped by that trade.
I’ve watched our team do a lot of things that I questioned, but I have now reached the peak of my frustration with the front office at One Buc Place.
Cadillac Williams has been allowed to walk away from the franchise in free agency. This man has fought back from not one but 2, career threatening injuries, and still as documented on this site, was very productive in a backup role last year. This makes our lack of interest in signing him absolutely baffling to me. I completely understand the want to build through the draft and to grow a team together and I frequently hear comparisons to how teams like the Steelers have built their teams and our want to emulate that.
My question then is this. If we’re so hell bent on emulating these other teams why do we treat our players as though they’re completely expendable? The truth is players are expendable with the exception of very few most are adequately replaced without much of a drop off. However, when you talk about teams like the Steelers or the Ravens or the Packers there’s one thing that all those teams have in common that we severely lack. That is front office loyalty.
Time after time we have demonstrated a tendency to toss key figures in our franchise away without the slightest thought to a legacy. We want to build a team like the Steelers or the Packers which is an admirable aspiration however we’ll NEVER have a legacy like the Steelers or the Packers have if we continue to mistreat key figures in our history.
Exhibit A: Tony Dungy- Here we have a coach that had taken our franchise from a complete laughing stock to annual playoff contenders. He built one of the stingiest defenses in NFL history. He had taken us to the NFC Championship game just 2 years previously in the 1999-2000 season where we were a blown call (I still say Anthony caught that pass) and a Ricky Proehl touchdown away from the Superbowl. We made the playoffs each of the next 2 seasons but were one and done.
Now many franchises would respect everything that Dungy had accomplished? But did the Buccaneers? If they did, they sure didn’t act like it. They unceremoniously dumped the man that had changed the culture of one of the worst franchises in history. I am happy to say that 5 years later he was able to raise the Lombardi Trophy. However, not seeing him in red had me feeling blue.
Exhibit B: Derrick Brooks, and Warrick Dunn- Warrick Dunn was one of the key components in Tampa’s revolution in the mid-90’s. He teamed with the incomparable Mike Alstott to form the original smash and dash duo. He was allowed to walk in free agency and ended up signing with Atlanta. Warrick ended up coming back to the Bucs and had a few nice seasons to round out his career however was a casualty of the buzz saw known as the "youth movement" in Tampa.
I really don’t know what I can say about this one. He’s a first ballot hall of famer. He’s one of the best linebackers in NFL history. Not just Buccaneer history but NFL history. When you think about a guy like that it seems only fitting that he be able to leave on his terms. Can you imagine if the Green Bay Packers had cut Bart Starr in 68? How about if the Colts had not re-signed Manning this year? How much outcry would there be if the Pats told Brady to hang em’ up.
The Buccaneers committed a travesty when they cut Derrick Brooks. They alienated a pillar of the franchise and the Tampa Bay community. It wasn’t like he was unproductive. If you compare his stats in his last season in Tampa with those of his successor Geno Hayes there is not much of a gap and Geno is considered a pretty productive starter in the NFL. I’m sure one day they’ll induct him into the famed Buccaneer "Ring of Honor" but there will be very little honorable about it.
Exhibit C: Cadillac Williams- Sunday September 11, 2005. Around 3:50pm EST. The Buccaneers lead the Minnesota Vikings by 1 point. Time is winding down in the game. Suddenly Cadillac Williams the Buccaneers 1st round draft pick bursts through the line and sprints to the endzone of the Metrodome and into the hearts of every Buccaneer fan. 2 devastating and career threatening knee injuries later Cadillac comes back and wins the starting job again. He was the heart and soul of the team. He didn’t produce as a starter but he was irreplaceable as a 3rd down back in recognizing coverages, in pass protection, and in the passing game. How did we repay his hard work and loyalty? How did we repay the sacrifice he made and the risks he took for his long term future? We said we’ll go with someone younger. We’ll plug in someone else. We don’t need you.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers continue to toss people aside like used chewing gum. Until we learn that the value of the players lie, not only in their production on the field (although I am well aware that is part of it) but in their leadership, attitude, community, passion, and emotion we will never have a legacy like those of the great franchises in the NFL.
Totally Untrue Rumors Yet to Be Started
1. After hearing Cortland Finnegan wants a new contract or trade Mark Domink called an emergency meeting of the Bucs front office and said "I have a weakness for guys who like to get in fistfights. Let’s go get him!"
2. Once news broke about Jermichael Finley’s amazing feat Chad Ochocinco tweeted I’ll catch 2 with my hands and 1 with my mouth too!
3. Lebron likes Tebow so much he’s thinking about recruiting him to South Beach.
Buc Blogging Entertainment
This week’s quote comes from Titankillah. He was told that his prediction of 13 wins was "bold". His reply?
"Well the boldest would be us beating IND on Monday night. but I can see it. Blount should run through that DEF like a madman on PCP."
I just got this flash in my mind of LGB with foam around his mouth, truckin it down the field and the Colts defense lined up like bowling pins. STRIKE!!!!
This week’s quote comes from father time himself Mr. Ronde Barber. Ronde was asked about the lack of appreciation for his skills. His response:
"Outside of my few (five) Pro Bowl years, I don’t think people even consider me," Barber said. "All the talk is about Charles Woodson, who does the exact same thing as I do, and the bigger-market corners. I take pride in outplaying these guys."
This man belongs in the Hall. You’re the man Ronde!
This week my beef is not only with Raheem Morris but Mark Dominik as well. Yo, how are you two going to let the heart and soul of your franchise walk away and sign with another team? There’s no doubt Freeman is the brain with all of his potential, but Cadillac was the heart. How do you guys let him just walk away???
You can e-mail with your nominations, comments, suggestions, etc, at firstname.lastname@example.org or catch me on Twitter @RyanSmith56