Where is the love for James Wilder?
The Buccaneers announced Tuesday that Ronde Barber would be the next inductee into the team’s Ring of Honor at Raymond James Stadium. He is the 13th person to receive the nod, and it’s certainly warranted. This isn’t at all to say that Wilder should’ve been inducted instead of Barber. I can’t wait to see Barber get his name up there on Sept. 22 against the New York Giants.
But once again, where is the love for James Wilder? How many times in the past few years have we seen two former Bucs get inducted in the same year? That couldn’t have happened again this year? Season after season, Tampa Bay has neglected to honor its all-time leading rusher.
It has to happen eventually, right? Wilder holds the franchise records for rushing yards (5,957), rushing attempts (1,575) and receptions (430). He spent nine seasons with the Bucs, putting up his most productive season in 1984, when he rushed for 1,544 yards and 13 touchdowns on a ridiculous 407 carries (averaging 96.5 rushing yards per game). He also caught a career-high 85 receptions for a career-high 685 yards. All of this led to his first and only Pro Bowl selection. He was a workhorse for Tampa Bay, shining pretty bright in a time when the team wasn’t doing much winning.
His credentials speak volumes. How the organization has ignored him for this long is puzzling. Wilder’s day needs to come soon. Let’s hope for 2020, I guess.