Tampa Bay Buccaneers: What if Bo Jackson draft pick wasn’t botched?

Bo Jackson, University of Auburn Tigers (Photo by Damien Strohmeyer/Allsport/Getty Images)
Bo Jackson, University of Auburn Tigers (Photo by Damien Strohmeyer/Allsport/Getty Images) /
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The Buccaneers never got to know Bo, but what if they did?

Bo Jackson is arguably the greatest athlete to ever walk the Earth. He also was very nearly (and probably should have been) the running back for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Leading up to the 1986 NFL Draft, the Buccaneers, knee-deep in their phase as the “Yucks”, had to first overall pick after yet another putrid season. Jackson and his unofficial 4.13 40-yard dash time, was seen as that year’s draft prize, a freak athlete and former Heisman Trophy winner at Auburn. The crazy thing was, his passion was baseball, and played football as more of an offseason hobby.

As the story goes, during Jackson’s senior baseball season at Auburn, Bucs miser of an owner Hugh Culverhouse sent his private jet to Auburn to bring Jackson to Tampa for a pre-draft meeting. Culverhouse and the Buccaneers and allegedly assured Jackson that they had checked with the NCAA and that Jackson’s visit, and trip on a private plane, was not in violation of any NCAA rules. Upon returning to Auburn, Jackson was warming up for a game when his coach let him know that he was no longer eligible to play baseball and the Buccaneers lied. Jackson was already having reservations about becoming a Buc, and this was the straw that broke the pirate’s ship. Jackson, NFL eligibility would renew the following season when he would join the-then Los Angeles Raiders and show flashes of brilliance before a career-ending hip injury in a playoff game against the Cincinnati Bengals ended his NFL career, and severely crippled his baseball one. Bo became the ultimate “what if story” of the sports world.