He was the face of a franchise.
His dominant play earned him the fear of his opponents, the respect of his coaches, and the accolades of the football world. He was named to 7 Pro Bowls, a 4-time first team All-Pro, and a Defensive Player of the Year award in 1999. His ability to strike fear into the quarterback made him one of the great defensive players of the modern era.
Warren Sapp had it all. Great college and NFL career. Colorful analyst on the NFL Network and Showtime. Spokesman for many successful corporations across America.
Then, he blew it.
It all seemed to start in early 2010. Sapp was arrested during Super Bowl weekend on charges of abusing his girlfriend. A month later, the charges were dropped, and Sapp resumed his career with the NFL Network.
This year, right after the Super Bowl, Sapp was arrested on charges that he solicited a prostitute during Super Bowl weekend. Right after, the NFL Network terminated his contract.
A month ago, TMZ reported that Sapp had been arrested for an incident that took place in Las Vegas in April where Sapp reportedly bit his girlfriend's hand, and then stomped on her head. If he is convicted, Sapp could face up to 18 months in prison. For a man who had it all, it's a sad and tragic tale, which all sounds like a Hollywood movie. Star football player who seemed to have it all, yet was demolished by his demons. It's a example on not what to do as a professional athlete.
The question is: Will Warren Sapp recover?
It's clear he has hit rock bottom. These are serious allegations, ones that could put him in jail for a while, and cause him loss, financially. If this doesn't smarten up Warren Sapp, nothing will. We talk about Jameis Winston, and his off the field troubles. But the dilemma Warren Sapp has found himself in is just as serious.
It wouldn't hurt if Sapp left the public eye for a few years, and tried to rehabilitate his life. Maybe go to therapy and get his anger issues under control. If he does not do this, he will find himself in the same position time and time again. If he hasn't done this, he should call ex-coach Tony Dungy for advice. Dungy worked with Michael Vick in his time of tribulation, so perhaps he can help Sapp repair his life and image.
No one knows if Sapp will ever be used on television again. He was not well-liked by a lot of his fellow co-workers at the NFL Network, so his professional etiquette leaves a lot to be desired. That's not to say he wasn't good on television. I found him to be very entertaining while he was on the NFL Network, and was disappointed when he got fired. I can tell you from experience it's never good to burn bridges in the entertainment business, as it's a very small world.
Sapp has not just burned a lot of bridges. He's blown them up.
If he chooses, Sapp should call or e-mail the people that were annoyed by his attitude at NFL Network, and apologize to every one of them. Even if he doesn't mean it, it's a nice gesture and would show a lot of class that was lacking during his tenure at the network.
Warren Sapp has time to repair his image. He should look down in himself, and ask, "Is this how I want to continue living my life?" It hurts not just his character, but also his income potential. Corporate businesses don't want someone representing their product that has less than stellar character, especially in the politically correct world we live in. They want a squeaky clean guy or gal that can't get arrested.
Warren Sapp will go down in history as one of the best football players to ever play the game, one of the most colorful, yet might be remembered for his off the field issues more than anything. If he puts effort in, there's no reason why he doesn't deserve another chance.
The ball is in his court.