Another all-time great Buccaneer great and future Hall of Famer Ronde Barber will be joining the Buccaneer Ring of honor this season. Barber’s name and number will be unveiled at halftime of the game with the New York Giants on September 22nd.
What other Buccaneer players from the past and what current Buccaneer players should and could someday have their name and number in the Bucs Ring of Honor?
There are two players that should have had have already been inducted into the Ring of Honor. Running back James Wilder and linebacker Hardy Nickerson.
James Wilder played for the Bucs from 1981-1989 and was the second round pick out of Missouri in 1981.
Wilder played eight of his nine seasons with the Bucs and made the Pro Bowl in 1984.
Wilder is the all-time rushing leader in Buccaneer history with 6,008 yards and 37 touchdowns Wilder still holds the Buccaneer record for most carries in a game with 43 during his Pro Bowl season of 1984.
Wilder also holds the Buccaneer record for carries in a season with 407 and overall touches with 492.
His best season in Tampa was his Pro Bowl season of 1984 when he rushed for 1544 yards and 13 touchdowns.
Lawrence Taylor said the Wilder was one of the toughest running backs that he played against during his career. Quite a compliment coming from one of the all-time greats.
Linebacker Hardy Nickerson played with the Bucs from 1993-1999 and quickly gained a reputation for having a nose for the football.
Nickerson played in the prime of his career with the Bucs and was selected to play in five Pro Bowls from 93-99. He was also voted to the NFL 1990s All decade Team.
his first season in Tampa, Nickerson had 214 tackles which is a Buccaneer record that still stands today.
Six of his seven season in Tampa, Nickerson had over 100 tackles and averaged 132 tackles per season during his tenure as a Buccaneer.
I am not privy to the nomination process or how it is determined what former Buccaneer players will be inducted into the Ring of Honor, but is past time to take a look at James Wilder and Hardy Nickerson.
Gerald McCoy who was recently released should also one day be inducted in to the Ring of Honor, for more on McCoys legacy in Tampa, check out my article:
The only current Buccaneer player that has done enough to be inducted into the Ring of Honor is wide receiver Mike Evans.
Evans is one of the most disrespected and underrated receivers in the NFL. If Evans played in New York, Dallas, or on a winning team he would be lauded as one of the best receivers in the league.
In five years, Evans has become the Buccaneer all time leading receiver with 6,103 yards, has the most touchdowns by a receiver with 40, and is the youngest receiver in NFL history to have over 6,000 receiving yards.
Consider these numbers as well, five seasons with 1,000 yards receiving, 21 games with 100 or more receiving yards, most receiving yards in a season with 1,524, a Buccaneer record, and most receiving touchdowns in a season with 12 which Evans did twice in 2014 and 2016.
If Mike Evans never played another down for the Buccaneers, he has earned his induction into the Ring of Honor.