The Tampa Bay Buccaneers Mount Rushmore

With OTA’s and mini-camp all canceled, everything is being done virtually to prepare for the 2020 season.

Outside of the press conference now and again, there won’t be much news until late July.

What better time than right now to roll out the Tampa Bay Pro Sports four greatest Buccaneer football players of all time on our Mount Rushmore of Buccaneer football.

Number four on the mountain is defensive back Ronde Barber.

Barber is one of the few defensive players in Buccaneer history to play his entire career in Tampa. Barber played 16 seasons with the Bucs from 1997-2012. Drafted out of the University of Virginia, Barber was a five-time Pro Bowler, and led the NFL in interceptions in 2001.

Barber will be known as the defensive player who made the most important player in Buccaneer history.  Barber intercepted a Donavan McNabb pass in the NFC Championship game in 2003 returning it 92 yards for a touchdown late in the fourth quarter to seal the Bucs 27-10 win and send them to Super Bowl XXXVII against the Oakland Raiders.

Barber did not miss a game from 1998 until his retirement in May 2013.

You would be hard-pressed to find someone more respected and revered in the Tampa area than Lee Roy Selmon. Selmon was the first draft pick in Buccaneer history taken number one in the 1976 draft from Oklahoma.

At Oklahoma, Selmon was awarded both the Outland Trophy and the Lombardi Award.

Selmon had a nine-year HOF career in Tampa, registering 78.5 sacks and playing in 121 games. A back injury forced Selmon to retire following the 1984 season and he was the first Buccaneer elected to the Hall Of Fame in 1995.

Selmon had his number 63 retired in 1986 and was the first Buccaneer voted into the Bucs Ring of Honor in 2009.

Number two on our Buccaneer Mount Rushmore is defensive tackle Warren Sapp.

Sapp has the distinction of being one of the most ferocious defensive tackles in NFL history. Sapp used his combination of size, speed, and quickness to overpower offensive lineman.

Sapp had a 4.69/40 time at the combine which at the time was a record for a defensive linemen.

He was the 12th pick of the Bucs in the 1995 draft out of Miami and was one of the defensive pillars that helped the Bucs win the Super Bowl in 2003.

Sapp was a seven-time Pro Bowler, was named defensive player of the year in 1999, and was a member of the 2000s all-decade team.

He had 77.5 career sacks as a Buccaneer, with 19 forced fumbles, and three touchdowns.

Sapp was voted to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2013.

Number one on our Buccaneer Mount Rushmore is linebacker Derrick Brooks.

Brooks has the unique distinction of playing his entire football career in the state of Florida. Brooks played at Washington High in Pensacola, before taking his talents to Florida State, and was then
drafted  by the Bucs in the first round of the 1995 draft.

Brooks was a starter from day one and played in 224 straight games for the Bucs and never missed a game in his 14 year career.

Brooks is one of the best linebackers in NFL history. He was an 11 time Pro Bowler, named to the All-Pro team nine teams, and elected to HOF in 2014.

Brook’s best year came in 2002 when he was named the NFL defensive player of the year in helping the Bucs win the Super Bowl.

Brooks had 1698 tackles in his career, 13.5 sacks, 25 interceptions, and six touchdowns.

Brooks career with the Bucs ended on February 25, 2009 when he was cut by the team. He officially announced his retirement on August 11, 2010.

This will be the 44th years of Buccaneer football in 2020, and in all those years it seems odd that there has not been an offensive player to make their way onto the Buccaneer Mount Rushmore.

When you talk about all time great Buccaneer football players, the conversation always goes to the defensive side of the ball.

Mike Alstott, James Wilder, and Warrick Dunn, along with safety John Lynch were a few that were considered for this piece, but we didn’t feel that any offensive player through the years has had more of an impact than these four defensive players that were chosen.

Wide receiver Mike Evans will be on that list someday. He is just six years into what should be a Hall of Fame career.