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Reaction From Around The NFL On Warren Sapp #99 Retired By Buccaneers

Reaction From Around The NFL On Warren Sapp #99 Retired By Buccaneers

(Via Buccaneers Press Release)

“When you look at the names that are currently on the Buccaneers Ring of Honor, I can’t think of a more deserving person to join that list than Warren Sapp. He anchored the Buccaneers defense for so many years and was the perfect example of how hard work leads to success on the field. It was a privilege to have played with 99 for so many years and an honor to say that we were not only teammates, but great friends and fellow Super Bowl Champions.”

--Mike Alstott, former Buccaneers All-Pro fullback

“What a great day for No. 99. I could not be happier for him. Warren’s play and, more importantly, his attitude toward the game on and off the field, sum up what those great Buccaneer teams were all about. I look forward to celebrating with him and honoring his rightful place among the all-time greats of our team.”

--Rondé Barber, All-Pro defensive back and five-time Pro Bowler

“Congratulations to Warren on this honor. To see a friend of 25 years – with all the memories we shared both on that football field and in our personal lives – go into the Ring of Honor is humbling. I look forward to seeing his name there every time I step foot in that stadium. It really gives everyone a chance to see his name and number there and recognize how much he’s meant to this organization and its turnaround.”

--Derrick Brooks, former Buccaneers linebacker and 11-time Pro Bowler

“I got to see Warren grow from an unpolished defensive tackle into a premier player at his position, at least for that decade and the next, and maybe for all time. There’s not a single coach who wants to play a 4-3 defense that doesn’t want to build it around a player like Warren Sapp. Every single coach and defensive coordinator who runs a 4-3, their first mission is to find ‘the next Warren Sapp,’ because, if they can’t find Warren Sapp to play that three-technique for their defense, it’s not going to work. I don’t know that there’s a higher compliment for how great he was at his position than that.”

--Brad Culpepper, former Buccaneers defensive tackle

“Warren Sapp is synonymous with great defense and what became our trademark – the Tampa 2. He had the ability to dominate a game from the under tackle spot like few others ever have and really redefined the three-technique position. Warren’s talent on the field was unparalleled and his intensity made everyone on the defense raise their standard of play. He took our defense to a different level and made it one of the most feared in the history of the league. We’re proud of Warren for all he has accomplished and will be thrilled to honor him with a permanent place on the walls of Raymond James Stadium.”

--Mark Dominik, Buccaneers General Manager

“Warren Sapp really deserves to be in the Ring of Honor. When you look at it, he was drafted in ’95 and became a cornerstone of that team and that defense. I remember talking to Rich McKay and saying, ‘This is where it starts, that defensive tackle position, right around the ball.’ Warren was a leader, as well. To be in with Lee Roy [Selmon] and Paul [Gruber], the front line of Buccaneers players, is pretty special. I know he’s going to be honored and moved, and it’s well-deserved.”

--Tony Dungy, former Super Bowl Champion NFL head coach

“Warren Sapp was the toughest defensive tackle to block that I played against. He was smart, relentless and never took a play off. He could disrupt a game plan singlehandedly. He deserves all the honors he’s getting and I’ll remember him as the best I faced.”

--Brett Favre, former NFL quarterback and 11-time Pro Bowler

“Breaking the huddle, you knew where to find Warren: in his customary “three-technique” on the defensive line of the Tampa 2 scheme, ready to cause havoc. They didn’t hide him or move him around. He was simply the most dominant defender I have ever played against. Warren changed the culture of the Bucs while making offense around the league attempt to come up with ways to defend him – something they rarely accomplished.”

--Marshall Faulk, NFL Network analyst and Pro Football Hall of Fame running back

“Warren is a great inductee into the Ring of Honor. Obviously, he had a huge impact on Buccaneers football and was a big part of the turnaround of the team. He was a tremendous player; probably the most gifted defensive player that has played in the team’s history, as far as I’m concerned. It’s humbling to be recognized in that way, alongside the other members that you’re joining. It becomes a little surreal, standing on the field at halftime and seeing your name unveiled at the stadium.”

--Paul Gruber, former Buccaneers tackle and 2012 Ring of Honor inductee

“Warren was as dominant of an interior lineman as I’ve ever seen. People consider me an offensive guy, but coaching Warren Sapp was one of the great pleasures of my career. You can’t mention the greatness of the Buccaneers defense during that era without talking about No. 99. He deserves his spot in the Ring of Honor. I am very happy for him and proud that I got to be part of his career.”

--Jon Gruden, ESPN analyst and former Super Bowl Champion NFL head coach


“I guarantee you that the quarterback and O-line, when they broke the huddle, were looking to see where No. 99 was lined up. Warren’s first step off the ball was unbelievable; the quickest I’ve ever seen.”

--Monte Kiffin, Dallas Cowboys Defensive Coordinator and former Buccaneers Defensive Coordinator

“First of all, I want to congratulate Warren on a tremendous honor and the Hall of Fame. The one thing I would like to say about Warren is that I don’t know that there has ever been a defensive tackle in the history of the NFL that helped put a franchise on his back with some great teammates and helped win a World Championship. That kind of describes who Warren is – a World Champion and a great player.”

--Rod Marinelli, Dallas Cowboys Defensive Line Coach and former Buccaneers Defensive Line Coach

“What 99 did for the under tackle position is what Michael Jordan did for basketball. He took a position and changed the way it’s supposed to be played. The people who started it had a vision for what the under tackle was supposed to be. Warren Sapp made it that and more. Now he, along with John Randle, has formed the example of what all coaches expect and under tackle to be in a 4-3 defense.”

--Gerald McCoy, Buccaneers Pro Bowl defensive tackle


“When Warren first came into the league, he had all the talent and skills in the world. Once he figured out how good he was, it made my job really challenging. Tampa had a great defense, and, back then, we [the Minnesota Vikings] played them twice every season. In those games, I always knew I had to be prepared for Sapp. There was never a play I could take off. Warren was a big man with speed, strength, tenacity and a lot of athletic ability. You always had to be ready, not only for his first move, but his second and third, as well. He could give you headaches – talking up a storm and trying to get under your skin. Playing against him always required you bringing your A-game both physically and mentally. After playing against him for so many years, it was really strange to find myself in the same locker room. It was great to have Warren as a teammate – a heck of a lot better than the challenge of trying to shut him down and shut him up. I’m happy the Buccaneers are honoring Warren with induction into their Ring of Honor and look forward to having him as a teammate once again when he is welcomed into the Pro Football Hall of Fame this summer.”

--Randall McDaniel, Pro Football Hall of Fame guard

“I don’t think there could be a more deserving guy; someone who came into an organization when that organization was pretty much on the bottom. When you were the first to do something, when you are a leader, when you blaze a trail that hasn’t been blazed like Warren Sapp did, and take his team to the ultimate – a Super Bowl title – I think it speaks to his leadership and his ability to play the game, but most of all it speaks to his work ethic. He was one of the hardest workers I ever knew. Every building has a cornerstone, a foundation, and it would be hard to build a house about the Tampa Bay Buccaneers with a foundation that did not include Warren Sapp.”

-- Anthony “Booger” McFarland, former Tampa Bay Buccaneers defensive tackle

“I feel blessed to have been around Warren during his days with the Buccaneers. Warren was truly a great player and was most impactful during the Buccaneers’ transformation from a franchise that was less than successful to a World Champion, and I send along my congratulations to him on his induction into the Buccaneers Ring of Honor.”

--Rich McKay, Atlanta Falcons President/CEO and former Buccaneers General Manager

“All the success that Tampa Bay was known for, having that great defense, was built around Warren Sapp and his abilities. I went against him every day for four years and saw him develop into the cornerstone of the defense. He’s one of the big reasons – if not the reason – that our defense was as successful as it was for as long as it was. Everything was played off of him and that three-technique position was so key. He was one of the best of all time at that position and he’s earned all the accolades that are coming his way.”

--Jim Pyne, former Buccaneers guard

“He was the ultimate pro. Warren was one of our leaders up front and he set the standard for what his position entailed. I think he defined the position. He was a leader who set the tone for the defensive line and entire defense before each and every game. He brought our team talent, yes, but also incredible value from a leadership perspective.”

--Shelton Quarles, Buccaneers Director of Pro Scouting and former Pro Bowl linebacker

“Warren Sapp was one of the most dominant defensive tackles of our decade. In simple form: an offensive coordinator’s and lineman’s nightmare. Warren revolutionized the three-technique position with amazing hand skills, quickness, speed, power and intelligence. Warren Sapp, also known as ‘QB Killa,’ will always be known to me as one of the greatest players to ever put on a uniform.”

--Simeon Rice, former NFL All-Pro defensive end

“This is an honor that is well-deserved for Warren. He is the blueprint for today’s B-gap players; he’s the prototype. Warren was a revolutionary football player, and a big congrats to him.”

--Mike Tomlin, Pittsburgh Steelers Head Coach

“Playing against Warren was a little bit of a catch-22. As a competitor, you loved the fact that you were in for a battle every time and that the winner would have earned it. That said, there were also times where he was so dominant that, as quarterback, I didn’t have a chance to play my best football. Of all the great players I competed against, there were none more disruptive than Warren. He was the only defensive tackle that I ever played against that could take over an entire game himself. I saw that type of dominance from defensive ends and linebackers, but never from his position. The other thing I always loved about Warren is that he truly played with a passion and love for the game of football. There is no place that he would rather be than on a football field and I think that, even more than his dominant play, will be his greatest legacy. His passion carried over to not only his teammates, but also to his opponents, and he was truly inspiring. Warren is well deserving of being a first-ballot Hall of Famer and I am happy to call him a friend and colleague.”

--Kurt Warner, NFL Network analyst and former Super Bowl MVP-winning quarterback

 

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