Warren Sapp proudly entered the NFL Hall of Fame in 2013 as a Tampa Bay Buccaneer, and he may be joined in the near future by at least one more former Buc.
The Pro Football Hall of Fame unveiled the list of all 126 modern-era nominees for the 2014 induction ceremony, and the Buccaneers have multiple representatives on the list.
Here are the players with ties to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers who are on the list. (Years played in Tampa follow the players’ names and positions.)
Derrick Brooks, Linebacker, 1995-2008
Brooks is almost certainly a no-brainer to make the Hall of Fame in his first year of eligibility. Brooks and recently retired Ray Lewis were the dominant players at their positions in the 90′s and 2000′s, and both merit immediate inclusion in Canton’s hallowed Hall.
Warrick Dunn, Running back, 1997-2001, 2008
Dunn will have a tough time getting into the Hall on his statistics alone, as the three-time Pro Bowler doesn’t have an impressive resume of awards and acheivements. But he played a 12-year career and posted decent overall numbers, and he’s definitely one of the more charitable and friendly players to pass through the NFL ranks.
John Lynch, Safety, 1993-2003
Lynch is more beloved by Buccaneer fans than he is by the national media and Hall of Fame committees, because he stands as an unlikely addition to Canton’s Hall. He’s certain to be honored by the Buccaneers and placed in the Ring of Honor eventually, but he’s not likely to make the Hall of Fame despite making nine Pro Bowl appearances.
Tony Dungy, Head Coach, 1996-2001
Dungy is beloved in Tampa despite falling short of ever winning a title with the Buccaneers. He was considered a key cog in the transition from a bottom of the barrel franchise into a perennial contender. As far as coaches go, he doesn’t have the most accolades or trophies, but he had only one career losing season as a coach and does have a Super Bowl ring.
Jon Gruden, Head Coach, 2002-2008
Gruden brought the only Super Bowl in team history to Tampa Bay, and won five division titles in his career. You’d have to think that Dungy would get into the Hall before Gruden, but it’s great to see two Bucs’ head coaches eligible for a spot in the Hall of Fame.
Tim Brown, Wide receiver, 2004
Remember when Tim Brown played for the Buccaneers? It’s easy to forget, but Brown did join Jon Gruden in Tampa for his final NFL season. Brown is more famous among Bucs’ fans for losing in the Super Bowl against Tampa Bay, and later saying his team’s coaches sabotaged the game. Brown will likely enter the Hall as a Raider, but he does certainly have ties to the Bucs.
Keyshawn Johnson, Wide receiver, 2000-2003
It’s unlikely that Keyshawn is ever going to make the Hall of Fame, but he remains a nominee for now. I’m sure you know about him, so we’ll move on to the next candidate.
Lomas Brown, Tackle, 2002
Lomas was a member of the Buccaneers for his final season as a pro, and remains eligible as a long-shot for Hall of Fame induction.
Dexter Manley, Defensive End, 1991
Manley is more well-known for his time in Washington, but he did spend time in Tampa before retiring. He’s also a long-shot to make it into the Hall.
Joey Browner, Safety, 1992
Browner, like Manley and Brown, came to Tampa Bay at the end of a fairly successful career. He’s also unlikely to be inducted into the Hall of Fame.
Sean Landeta, Punter, 1997
Landeta is not the first punter in line to make the Hall of Fame, but he certainly was one of the best at his position.