Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Remembering the Bo Jackson debacle

Dec 1989: Running back Bo Jackson of the Los Angeles Raiders looks on. Mandatory Credit: Mike Powell /Allsport
Dec 1989: Running back Bo Jackson of the Los Angeles Raiders looks on. Mandatory Credit: Mike Powell /Allsport /

It may have been 33 years ago around this time, but the Bo Jackson debacle made by Tampa Bay Buccaneers former owner Hugh Culverhouse still lingers.

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers will be on the clock at pick number five Thursday night. Whether they decide to select a player at that pick or trade back, one thing is for sure:

They cannot mess up this selection as they did in 1986.

The Bucs held the number one overall pick and decided to select Bo Jackson. That sounds great; he is one of the best athletes in the world. Only one problem: he told the team not to draft him. He refused to play for Tampa Bay because after a visit to team facilities they said was NCAA-approved was in reality not, causing him to miss the remainder of his final college baseball season.

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Jackson believed this was all apart of the Bucs plan to get him to play football over baseball. Hugh Culverhouse, Buccaneers owner at the time, still felt the need to draft Jackson and convince him to sign; Bo was not pleased that and vowed to never play for the Buccaneers.

He was then selected by the Kansas City Royals in the fourth round of the MLB Draft and was paid just over $1 million. This was three rounds later than he was selected out of high school and for far less money than the Yankees and Buccaneers would have paid him.

Jackson made it known he was not going to play for Culverhouse, not only for what he thought was a trick to revoke his NCAA eligibility ,but also for the way he carried himself. Jackson was not a fan that he called players “his boys,” and Culverhouse was also an Alabama Alum, rival to his Auburn.

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Jackson was taken on a late round chance by the Raiders the next season and signed. For the Buccaneers’ sake, there is no Bo Jackson to pick in this draft, and the closest thing in Kyler Murray will not be taken by Tampa either. Breathe easy Tampa Bay fans, the fifth overall pick will suit up in the pewter and red in 2019.