In a recent interview, a former Super Bowl champion for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers spoke about what his former head coach with the Buccaneers was truly like.
It’s no secret that Jon Gruden has had his fair share of controversy lately. As such, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have removed the first coach to bring them a Super Bowl title from their Ring of Honor. It’s a move the Buccaneers should be applauded for given the nature of what their now-disgraced former head coach was involved in.
Even without all of that, Gruden was never lacking in people who weren’t fans of his, and this includes former players. Daniel Wilcox, an undrafted tight end who spent two short seasons with the Bucs in 2002 and 2003, gave some insight on what Gruden was like as a person when they were both in Tampa Bay when he spoke to Brandon “Scoop B” Robinson of Bally Sports Network.
"I didn’t like John Griden at all, you know? So I’m going to be honest about this thing. I wasn’t a big fan of him at the time and that was then. This was back in 2002. I’m a guy from Appalachian State College; he treated the younger guys like crap and he rode me every opportunity he got and that left a bad taste in my mouth because when you come into this league, especially when you come from a smaller school you know that you can play the game of football but you’re not quite sure that you can fit in because you’re playing with guys that went to Georgia or went to Ohio State and stuff like that but, he… the older guys like the Keyshawn Johnsons and Sapp and them?… he was kissing their butts. But the younger guys like myself that hadn’t made a name for myself — I wasn’t a draft pick, I was an undrafted free agent and I was treated like crap and we watched him do it to a lot of us. It wasn’t just me, you know? So I wasn’t a big John Gruden fan. I really didn’t like the guy at all; I don’t think that he’s a good person, he would make some comments in the team meeting rooms and in front of the whole team that we all felt like that was kind of ‘suspect’ and we’re looking around like, Did you just hear THAT!??… Stuff like that man, I really wasn’t feeling him as a person I think."
Wilcox would go on to say how Gruden is an excellent coach, one of the smartest he’s been around especially as it pertains to X’s and O’s, but that’s the coach and not the person. There’s a lot to take in here.
It certainly has to be taken into account that this is from the perceptive of Wilcox and not one of that team’s stars. However, Wilcox would take the entire team’s opinion into account when he mentioned that it was almost universally felt in the locker room that even know Gruden was the coach, “It was Tony Dungy’s team and everybody on the team will tell you the exact same thing.” Wilcox said on the matter.
Wilcox would continue on about how he felt Gruden got a little big for his britches after winning Super Bowl XXXVII, and certainly fans would agree considering the declining team success coincided with Gruden’s ascending power.
Jon Gruden is a controversial figure and rightfully so. He said some horrible things. It’s certainly interesting to find out that some of his former players with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers may have saw this coming.