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Tampa Bay Buccaneers

99 things to know about the Bucs' 99: Warren Sapp


Published:   |   Updated: November 11, 2013 at 08:49 AM

On Monday night, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers will induct Pro Football Hall of Fame defensive tackle Warren Sapp into the team's Ring of Honor. The halftime ceremony of the nationally televised game against the Dolphins also will include the retiring of Sapp's No. 99 jersey. To commemorate the occasion, we offer 99 things to know about Warren Sapp.

 

1. Averaged 43.5 yards as a punter for Apopka High School. Had an 80-yard punt against Lake Mary.

2. Wore a No. 34 Walter Payton/Chicago Bears throwback jersey while appearing on “Hollywood Squares'' in 2003.

3. At its heftiest, his game-day weight topped out at more than 300 pounds. At birth, he was 9 pounds, 14 ounces.

4. Originally recruited to the University of Miami as a tight end.

5. Finished sixth in the 1994 Heisman Trophy balloting, receiving 17 first-place votes. The award went to Colorado running back Rashaan Salaam.

6. Prides himself on knowledge of sports facts and trivia. “Sports-wise, he'd be the first guy I'd call for my lifeline,” former Bucs linebacker Derrick Brooks said.

7. In his first NFL game, he sacked Philadelphia QB Randall Cunningham.

8. In 2007, he was selected to the Florida High School Athletic Association All-Century Team ­— the top 33 players in the 100-year history of Florida high-school football.

9. On Jan. 4, 2008, he announced his retirement from the NFL on his personal Web site with a two-word statement: “I'M DONE!”

10. Surpassed 1,000 points and 1,000 rebounds for his career with Apopka High School's basketball program. Received a basketball scholarship offer from Mars Hill College.

11. Involved in a health initiative — Sleep Apnea Prevention Project (S.A.P.P.) — in which he's raising awareness about getting tested and treated for snoring and obstructive sleep apnea.

12. Had 96.5 career sacks during the NFL regular season. Including playoff games, Sapp's total was an even 102.

13. Older brother, Arnell Lykes, once rushed for 348 yards in a Texas high-school football game.

14. Failed one class at UM — Public Speaking. It began at 8 a.m. He rarely showed up, but said he was given an “F” despite successfully completing all assignments.

15. First NFL game he attended was 1979 NFC divisional playoff at Tampa Stadium between the Bucs and Philadelphia Eagles. Sapp, his brother and aunt sat in the end zone.

16. During his recruiting, he immediately eliminated Notre Dame because the program “didn't put player names on the back of the jerseys.”

17. Made seven consecutive Pro Bowl appearances with the Bucs, but wasn't selected during any of his four seasons with the Oakland Raiders.

18. After the Bucs won Super Bowl XXXVII, Sapp was a guest on the first edition of “Jimmy Kimmel Live,” along with Snoop Dogg, Coldplay and George Clooney.

19. At the end of 1999, as part of its salute to the 20th Century, Sports Illustrated named him one of the “Top 50 Sports Figures From Florida, 1900-2000.” Others listed with Tampa Bay ties included: Wade Boggs, Rick Casares, Jim Courier, Steve Garvey, Dwight Gooden, Al Lopez and Don Garlits (right).

20. Once threw a football 60 yards in the air and dunked a basketball … on the same day.

21. Sapp told Sports Illustrated that the best NFL players who ever blocked him were Minnesota Vikings OL Randall McDaniel (who later became a teammate) and Dallas Cowboys OL Larry Allen.

22. Former Bucs general manager Rich McKay on Sapp's persona: “Warren is a very bright guy, and he is theatrical. He likes to shock you a little, but usually there's a bit of truth to what he says.”

23. When Sapp captured the NFL Defensive Player of the Year award — of course, in 1999 — he was honored to join the likes of former Bucs DE Lee Roy Selmon, who earned the same award in 1979. “I always said if I could be mentioned in the same breath as him, I know that I was doing my job the way that it was supposed to be done,” he said.

24. In one of his lowest moments — when Miami's NCAA record 58-game winning streak at the Orange Bowl stadium was ended in a 38-20 loss against the Washington Huskies in 1994 — the opponents praised his effort. Said Washington center Frank Garcia: “He was playing the fourth quarter like a miracle was going to happen.”

25. Professional wrestler-turned- movie star Dwayne (The Rock) Johnson was Sapp's defensive tackle backup at Miami. Johnson was the starter when Sapp shifted from tight end. Sapp immediately proclaimed, “I'm going to move you out!”

26. Played games in 31 of the current 32 NFL cities. He missed Buffalo.

27. As a kid, if he noticed a clock's time at 11:11, he would rub it for luck. His No. 99 jersey will be formally retired by the Bucs on Nov. 11 (11/11).

28. Tony Dungy lost his first five games with the Bucs in 1996. After a 24-13 win against the Minnesota Vikings, Sapp presented a game ball to the coach.

29. In 2003, Barrett Drive in his hometown of Plymouth was renamed “Warren Sapp Boulevard” by the Orange County Commission.

30. Once stopped the prank of diminutive place-kicker Martin Gramatica being taped to the goal posts. “He's our only points,” Sapp said.

31. Sapp's Web site — QBKilla.com — featured a photo of the upcoming opposing quarterback. It was labeled, “Next Victim.”

32. In 1999, with his status in doubt due to a fractured left hand, he started against the Green Bay Packers. He had two sacks of Brett Favre.

33. During his first training-camp practice in 1995, fans at the University of Tampa's Pepin/Rood Stadium roared loudly as he emerged on the field. “I thought Deion (Sanders) or somebody was behind me,” Sapp said.

34. Voted “Most Flirtatious Male” during his senior year at Apopka High School.

35. Former Bucs DE Regan Upshaw on Sapp's gift of gab: “He's a talkaholic.”

36. Prior to the 2000 NFC Championship Game against the heavily favored, high-flying St. Louis Rams, Sapp said, “If I were a betting man, I'd put a million dollars on the Bucs.” Final score: Rams 11, Bucs 6.

37. Saw snow for the first time during a recruiting visit to Michigan State. He arrived without a winter coat because he didn't own one.

38. His 96.5 regular-season sacks are second-best for an interior lineman behind John Randle, another Hall of Famer.

39. Married JaMiko Vaughn during his trip to the 1998 Pro Bowl.

40. Sapp said he nearly signed with the University of Florida. He was impressed when Steve Spurrier put on a tape of TE Kirk Kirkpatrick, a very active target in UF's offense, and was told he would be similarly involved.

41. After the 1995 NFL draft, Sapp told his mother to quit work. Then he took her to a Mercedes-Benz dealership to purchase the first new car of her life. Then he bought her a new home.

42. Three other Bucs wore No. 99 before Sapp — DT David Grant, LB Eugene Marve and DE Tom McHale (who changed to No. 73 when he shifted to offensive line).

43. Made seven Pro Bowl appearances (1997-2003) for the Bucs. That's second in franchise history to LB Derrick Brooks (11 Pro Bowl appearances from 1997-2006, 2008).

44. Wears size 15 shoes.

45. Had career-high 11 tackles in 1997 opener (Bucs 13, 49ers 6), when he also registered 2.5 sacks.

46. As a rookie, he was used as a blocking back in goal-line situations. In five plays, the Bucs scored three touchdowns.

47. Only six players in NFL history have won a Super Bowl, captured an NFL Defensive Player of the Year award and been selected to seven consecutive Pro Bowls — Sapp, Derrick Brooks, Joe Greene, Jack Lambert, Lawrence Taylor and Reggie White.

48. Became the first Miami Hurricane to win the Lombardi Award, given annually to the nation's top lineman.

49. Says he was a Dallas Cowboys fan in his youth and unabashedly wept after the 1982 NFC Championship Game when “The Catch” (San Francisco's Joe Montana to Dwight Clark) erased the Dallas Super Bowl hopes.

50. Including his redshirt season (1991), the Hurricanes were 42-6 during Sapp's tenure.

51. With Sapp in uniform, the Hurricanes were 0-3 in bowl games, including a 24-17 Orange Bowl defeat against No. 1-ranked Nebraska in his final college game.

52. Sapp was the 12th overall selection in the 1995 NFL draft. Among all-time University of Miami defensive linemen, only Russell Maryland (first, Cowboys, 1991); Cortez Kennedy (third, Seahawks, 1990); Jerome Brown (ninth, Eagles, 1987); and Eddie Edwards (third, Bengals, 1977) were picked earlier.

53. Said one of the low points of his Bucs tenure occurred in the 1995 regular-season finale, which was also Sam Wyche's final game as head coach. “Sam wanted us to wear orange-on-orange. Paul Gruber finally stepped up and said, 'No, we're not doing that.' Thank God.”

54. Considered wearing an eye patch to Media Day at Super Bowl XXXVII, so he would look like a real-life Buccaneer.

55. Scored three career touchdowns with the Bucs. The only defensive players with more were DB Ronde Barber (15), LB Derrick Brooks (7), NT David Logan (4) and CB Mike Washington (4).

56. Steelers Hall of Fame DT Joe Greene on Sapp: “Warren took what I tried to do — and wanted to do — to the next level.”

57. After the Bucs didn't re-sign Sapp in 2004, he was close to a free-agent contract with the Cincinnati Bengals. “It was one of those deals I just didn't feel good about,” he said. The next morning, Raiders owner Al Davis called. Less than 24 hours later, Sapp signed with Oakland.

58. Sapp played for three head coaches (Sam Wyche, Tony Dungy, Jon Gruden) in nine seasons with the Bucs. He played for three head coaches (Norv Turner, Art Shell, Lane Kiffin) in four seasons with the Raiders.

59. Registered sacks against 29 different NFL teams. Did not have any sacks against the Chargers (eight games), Dolphins (two) or Bucs (one).

60. Had sacks against Brad Johnson (Vikings, Redskins) and Rob Johnson (Bills), both of whom became his teammates on the Super Bowl XXXVII squad of 2002.

61. As a child, Sapp said he was disappointed when he couldn't afford a new pair of shoes at the beginning of a school year. During his NFL career, he organized “Sapp for Shoes,” which donated new shoes to needy kids.

62. When Sapp declared bankruptcy in 2012, he auctioned his collection of Air Jordan sneakers (240 pair) to pay some of the creditors.

63. He was the 10th Floridian inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame, along with Bob Hayes, Michael Irvin, Rickey Jackson, Deacon Jones, Pete Pihos, Deion Sanders, Emmitt Smith, Derrick Thomas and Jack Youngblood.

64. He's the third Pro Football Hall of Famer to wear No. 99 in the NFL, along with Dan Hampton and Cortez Kennedy.

65. He's the sixth University of Miami inductee into the Pro Football Hall of Fame, joining Ted Hendricks, Michael Irvin, Jim Kelly, Cortez Kennedy and Jim Otto. Sapp wore No. 99. Otto wore No. 00.

66. Packers OT Chad Clifton, who was on the field for nearly 15 minutes and hospitalized for four days in Tampa after absorbing a blindside hit from Sapp during a 2002 game, seemed to have moved on during an interview at Super Bowl XLV. “I was injured,” Clifton said. “It was unfortunate. It got a lot of media attention. I wish it hadn't happened, but hey, it's football.”

67. Sapp, also at Super Bowl XLV: “I made him a household name and $42 million, so what's the problem here? I still don't understand. You wouldn't know who Chad Clifton was if it wasn't for me. But now I'm so vile that I put a block on the guy.”

68. In 2003, the helmet was ripped off Sapp's head during a game against the Dallas Cowboys. Still, he continued the pass rush and sacked Cowboys QB Quincy Carter. “I like looking at Warren's pretty face,” Bucs CB Ronde Barber said.

69. Sapp declined an offer from his alma mater, the University of Miami, which sought a donation and would name the UM locker room in his honor. Sapp said he preferred to support other causes, such as children's pediatric cancer. “I told them there were more needy people than the University of Miami,” Sapp said. “I just couldn't see myself funding a university that's so big and powerful and then turning my back on these little kids who are so little and fragile.”

70. After Super Bowl XXXVII, Shaquille O'Neal phoned Sapp. “Can I speak to the world champion?” Sapp's response: “Now I know what it feels like to be a Laker.”

71. Sapp's first NFL victory was at Philadelphia's Veterans Stadium. He won the NFC Championship Game in the Vet's final game. Then he spoiled the opening of Lincoln Financial Field in 2003 with a Tampa Bay victory. “Philadelphia's one of those ignorant towns where it's either we win or nobody wins,” Sapp said. “Either we beat you on the field or we fight you in the stands. That's just what that city is.”

72. Sapp on venues for the Miami-Florida State rivalry: “When the Orange Bowl is raucous, there's no better place. I'll bet money on that. Doak (Campbell Stadium) is a homey place. That was a place where they taught all those teachers. It was an all-girls school forever.”

73. Sapp on his occasional on-field outlandishness: “It's like they are trying to take the enthusiasm out of the game and make you play like robots. People don't pay (money) to sit in the stands and watch you tackle somebody and go back into the huddle. They want excitement. They want a show. So it's my duty to put it on.”

74. Sapp was thrilled with “Monday Night Football” appearances early in his career. “We used to have a saying in college: It only takes rabbit ears and power to get ABC. No cable. Just rabbit ears. Put a little foil on there and you can get ABC.”

75. In 1996, after a game at Green Bay, the transportation to the Bucs' charter plane was late and players were stuck in the locker room. A hungry Sapp went to the parking lot, where fans offered him bratwurst. He accepted.

76. Released his autobiography – “Sapp Attack” – in 2010.

77. In 2001, predicted he would break the NFL's single-season sack record (22 by Mark Gastineau). “I don't think a guy sitting on Rikers Island should have his name at the top of an NFL record book, and I'm going to take it down,” Sapp said.

78. After getting just six sacks during an injury plagued 2001 season — 16 short of Gastineau's record — Sapp said, “When you shoot for the moon, sometimes you hit the stars.”

79. When New York Giants DE Michael Strahan broke the record, finishing with 22.5 sacks, he surpassed Gastineau on a controversial play against Green Bay Packers QB Brett Favre, who rolled out and slipped down, allowing Strahan to fall on top of him. Sapp's reaction: “Asterisk.”

80. On the Web site ProFootball-Reference.com, it listed the following players as having similar careers to Sapp: Deacon Jones, Henry Jordan, Dan Hampton, Willie Davis, Jack Youngblood, Randy White, Jason Taylor, Alex Karras, John Randle, Joe Greene.

81. Sapp is the second Hall of Famer from the 1995 draft class. RB Curtis Martin was a third-round pick (74th overall) that year.

82. Of the 11 players selected before Sapp in 1995, only four (OT Tony Boselli, QB Steve McNair, QB Kerry Collins, DE Kevin Carter) were selected for the Pro Bowl.

83. Sapp, explaining his passion for football: “If you think it's just a job, then it don't mean enough. You can't live soft and fight hard. You got to live a certain way.”

84. Sapp on his partnership with LB Derrick Brooks and SS John Lynch: “We're dinosaurs. I'm the brontosaurus. Lynch is the T-Rex and Brooks is the raptor. We've always hunted in packs.”

85. Had a role (three lines) in the 2010 movie, “Our Family Wedding,” a comedy where a black man and Mexican woman decided to get married. When their families were brought into the plans, well, hilarity ensued. Sapp played Wendell Boyd, brother of the lead character, played by Forest Whitaker.

86. Sapp appeared on “Dancing With The Stars” in 2008. His partner was Kym Johnson, a professional ballroom dancer from Australia. Johnson has appeared 13 times in the program's U.S. version, also partnering with, among others, Hines Ward, Mark Cuban, Donny Osmond and Jerry Springer.

87. Sapp and Johnson finished runner-up with this ensemble in the championship round: “Blame It On The Boogie” (Samba), “Proud Mary” (freestyle) and “Funkytown” (Hustle).

88. His NFL contracts, over 13 seasons, were worth $82,185,056.

89. Made a television commercial for Hungry Man TV Dinners in 2005. The punch line: He emptied the entire freezer case of dinners into his shopping cart.

90. Thanked 145 individuals in the acknowledgements of his autobiography. Two were journalists — Tom McEwen of the Tampa Tribune and Bill Buchalter of the Orlando Sentinel.

91. During an appearance on NFL Network's “GameDay Morning,” a Philadelphia Eagles piņata was on display during a segment on the team's slow start. Michael Irvin and Marshall Faulk whacked it with no serious damage. Sapp destroyed it, ripping it apart, knocking it off its holder to the floor. Then he stepped on it.

92. Sapp is the most accomplished athletic alumnus of Apopka High School, which also produced Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Zack Greinke, NFL player Brandon Meriweather, NASCAR pioneer Glenn “Fireball” Roberts and NFL running back Sammie Smith.

93. Once fished on ESPN's “Outdoor Sportsman.” Caught a 165-pound bull shark.

94. Former Bucs DL coach Rod Marinelli on Sapp: “He's just so alive.”

95. Sapp's family planned to send him and his cousins to Bermuda for a high-school graduation gift, but plans changed when he was selected to play in the Florida-Georgia All-Star Game in the summer of 1991.

96. Majored in criminology at Miami, but left school for the NFL after his junior season before earning his degree.

97. Sapp was nicknamed “Sugar” by his high school track and field coach.

98. During the switch from Tony Dungy to Jon Gruden, Sapp was infuriated that WR Keyshawn Johnson continued to miss the team's offseason workouts. “We've changed quarterbacks, we've changed coordinators, we've changed systems, we've changed almost everything — everything but the way our receiver comes to work,” he said.

99. His number. His identity? Maybe not, he says. “I always try to separate No. 99 from Warren Sapp.”

Wild Card: Three times, Sapp was on the cover of Sports Illustrated (Super Bowl XXXVII preview, along with Raiders QB Rich Gannon; posing with Jon Gruden, prior to the 2002 season; tackling 49ers QB Steve Young in the 1997 opener).

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