TAMPA — The Buccaneers made two classy moves on Thursday, one of which was obvious and the other could have been foreseen as obvious.
The first move Tampa made was to announce their team captains for the 2011-12 season. On offense, quarterback Josh Freeman and his center Jeff Faine were named and the defesnsive captains named were (none-other-than) Ronde Barber and linebacker Quincy Black.
The special teams captain will be Adam Hayward.
Josh Freeman again being named captain only solidifies his status as the team’s future leader, and with Ronde Barber being named captain, it can be viewed as a passing of the torch of sorts. Barber has arguably been the face and voice of the Bucs since their dominate defensive days of the late 90’s and early 2000’s. He’s been with the team in it’s ups and downs and his loyalty never once wavered.
Freeman is being viewed by many in Bucs Nation as the successor to this mantle of loyalty and class but only on the flip side of the ball. It’s an obvious choice to make your franchise quarterback a captain, but read all the way into it and you’ll see he’s the beating heart of the Bucs and will be, like Barber has been, for a very long time.
The other move the Bucs made official today(and also in keeping with the loyalty and class theme) was how they are going to honor the memory of the original Buccaneer Lee Roy Selmon.
Selmon passed away on Saturday after suffering a stroke and his death was a blow to not only the Bucs franchise history, but the entire region of South Florida. The University of South Florida honored him by having the very football team he helped conceive wear his number on their helmets.
Maybe it’s because they play in the same stadium but the idea rubbed off on the Bucs who will wear Selmon’s No. 63 as a sticker on their helmets all season long. It hasn’t been officially announced, but the feeling around the Bucs is that the entire season will be dedicated to his memory.
Before Sunday’s season opener against the Lions, the Bucs will honor Selmon stadium-wide and have set up a section just north of the Ray J and across from Steinbrenner Field where fans can leave mementos and various other personal tributes as well as take a few final moments to remember the greatest Buccaneer to grace southern Florida.