Over the years, Tampa Bay teams have been widely regarded due to their defensive talent. Specifically, the 2002 defense is one of the best the league has ever seen and one of the focal points was linebacker Shelton Quarles. Even better, Quarles came into the league as an undrafted free agent. This means he carved out a role for himself despite not being a highly touted draft selection.
Quarles spent all 10 of his seasons in the NFL with the Buccaneers. For the record, spending a decade with a team is not an easy feat. Over the course of that decade, Quarles played in 148 games, starting 113 of them. That is a lot of games played, hinting at the fact that Quarles found a way to stay on the field.
His lowest mark of games played came in 2003 when he only appeared in 11. Talk about consistency. A player can only help his team when he is on the field, and Quarles was great at avoiding the injury bug.
Perhaps it was no coincidence, but Quarles’ career best season came in 2002 which as we know, ended with a Super Bowl victory. He set his career high with two interceptions and earned his first and only Pro-Bowl nomination during that season as well.
Quarles teamed up with legends like Derrick Brooks and Warren Sapp to form one of the best defenses ever. His impact on the defensive side of the ball was vital to earning that title. Being ranked No. 16 on this list may not seem glorious, but coming from a franchise with countless legendary defensive players, it speaks volumes that Quarles is this high.