(via Tampa Bay Buccaneers Communications) - The Associated Press today revealed its annual All-Pro team, which includes Tampa Bay Buccaneers linebacker Lavonte David and defensive tackle Gerald McCoy, both of whom were awarded first-team designations from the delegation of 50 Associated Press voters.
Today’s announcement marks the first time that Tampa Bay has had multiple first-team All-Pro selections since 2005, when cornerback Rondé Barber and linebacker Derrick Brooks were given the honor.
This is David’s first career All-Pro selection. David started all 16 games for Tampa Bay this season, leading the team in tackles (143, tied for the fifth-most in the NFL), tackles for loss (20, third-most in the NFL), and interceptions (five, tied for the fifth-most in the NFL), while also contributing 10 passes defensed, 6.0 sacks, two forced fumbles, one fumble recovery and a safety. This season, David became only the fourth player since 1982 (when sacks became an official statistic) to record 6.0 or more sacks and five or more interceptions in the same season, and the first linebacker to do so.
David is the first Buccaneers linebacker to be selected to the AP All-Pro first team since Derrick Brooks in 2005, and only the third in team history to ever be selected (Brooks, five times, 1999-2000, 2002, 2004-05; Hardy Nickerson, twice, 1993, 1997).
“Being selected was surreal to me. I was just stunned. It was like a dream come true. To be honored as one of the best of the best at your position is amazing,” David said.
A two-time Pro Bowler (2012-13), this marks McCoy’s first career selection to the AP’s All-Pro team. Originally selected third overall in the 2010 NFL Draft, McCoy put up a strong season anchoring the Buccaneers’ defensive line in 2013, starting all 16 games and finishing with 50 tackles, 9.0 sacks, 15 tackles for loss, four passes defensed and one fumble recovery. His 9.0 sacks led the team and were a career high, as well as marking the fourth-most sacks by a defensive tackle in the NFL this season and tying for fifth-most by a defensive tackle in Buccaneers history. His 15 tackles for loss were also a career high.
McCoy is only the second defensive tackle in franchise history to earn the first-team distinction (Warren Sapp, four times, 1999-2002) and only the fourth defensive lineman (Sapp; Simeon Rice, 2002; Lee Roy Selmon, 1978).
“It’s awesome,” said McCoy. “This is a dream come true because making the Pro Bowl is one thing, but being the best at your position is special. For All-Pro, you take the best two people at that position across the NFL, so to be considered one of the top two players at my position, that’s what you work for. You work to be the best. You don’t work to be mediocre or work to be just a guy. You work to be the best, and for the year of 2013, I accomplished that.”
(On his reaction when he heard he was selected)
“I was taking a nap and I woke up and hopped on Twitter. On my Twitter account I had like 50-something mentions. I just saw all these people congratulating me on making first-team All-Pro – me and Gerald. And then I turned to ESPN and it was on the bottom of the screen. I had my name as first-team All-Pro outside linebacker. It was surreal to me. I was just stunned. It was almost like a dream come true. To be honored as one of the best of the best at your position is amazing.”
(On what he was doing when he found out)
“I was laying down relaxing. Something just told me to look at my Twitter account and I saw it.”
(On if this selection helps make up for the Pro Bowl snub)
“The All-Pro Team is a big deal so I’ll take that. I’d love to make the Pro Bowl, but being an All-Pro is not bad at all.”
(On who he would like to thank)
“I would like to thank God, first and foremost, for blessing me. I’d like to thank my coaches for coaching me and helping me develop to be a great football player. Coach Schiano and his defensive staff did a great job of developing me into a great football player so I have to take my hat off to them. My teammates, for pushing me, for staying with me, even during a tough season, even after Game One – that travesty that happened – those guys still pushed me, still had my back, and were very supportive. All of those guys are like brothers to me and I wouldn’t be in this position without those guys. I want to thank my family and friends for having my back, supporting me and being there with me through the hard times.”
(On being named to the All-Pro Team)
“It’s awesome. This is a dream come true because making the Pro Bowl is one thing, but being the best at your position is special. For All-Pro, you take the best two people at that position across the NFL, so to be considered one of the top two players at my position, that’s what you work for. You work to be the best. You don’t work to be mediocre or work to be just a guy. You work to be the best, and for the year of 2013, I accomplished that.”
(On how he learned that he was selected)
“I actually looked at a text message. I had just landed in Tampa from a flight, and when I turned my phone on I had like 17 missed messages and I’m like, ‘I wonder what this is about?’ I looked at my agent’s message and it said ‘All-Pro!’ and one of my PR guys sent me a text asking if I had seen the All-Pro Team, so it was a whole bunch of different ways of finding out, but it was awesome. It was great.”
(On learning the news today)
“The best thing about today is that today is my mom’s birthday. She would have been 60 today, and she passed away in 2007. So today being her birthday, there’s no better present I could give her than to make First Team All-Pro.”
(On Lavonte David also making the team)
“My little brother – I thought he got slighted and snubbed in the Pro Bowl, but I told him that he would be an All-Pro. There’s no way you could keep him off of that. He is one of the best outside linebackers in the NFL, if not the best, and that’s what this list is showing. I’m glad he got the credit he deserves, and it’s an honor to be on there with him.”