After 12 years in orange mothballs, Bucco Bruce came out of the closet Friday.
At the end of a 15-minute news conference at the team facility, four current Buccaneer players modeled the 1976 throwback uniforms Tampa Bay will wear Nov. 8 against the Green Bay Packers at Raymond James Stadium.
"People thought we were trying to lock our history away in a closet,'' said Bucs co-chairman Ed Glazer. "It's time to bring it back. I think now it's kind of cool to wear these -- and that wasn't always the case.''
And wear them, of course, you can. Throwback jerseys will be for sale at "The Cove" at One Buc Place during training camp, featuring former players including Warren Sapp, Derrick Brooks and Lee Roy Selmon, as well as current players such as Barrett Ruud, Earnest Graham and Kellen Winslow.
Glazer said Raymond James Stadium will be refurbished Nov. 8 to reflect an orange motif, and players from the '76 expansion club are expected to be in attendance.
"We're now hitting two generations of youngsters who have never seen these orange jerseys,'' said Glazer, who indicated the Bucs will use their throwback jerseys for two games in 2010. "This is our history. This is where it all started.''
Defensive end Gaines Adams, middle linebacker Ruud, wide receiver Antonio Bryant and running back Graham appeared on the stage in the team auditorium sporting replicas of the original 1976 uniforms.
"I'm real excited,'' said Ruud. "I think they look cool and I think it'll be fun.''
Bryant jokingly said his jersey felt lighter than the current red and pewter gear the Bucs have used since the Glazers changed team colors in 1997.
"These are definitely some of the most unique colors that have ever been in the league,'' Bryant said, referring to a shade that the league dubbed "Florida Orange'' before the inaugural Buc club went 0-14 under head coach John McKay.
Glazer said the franchise went through an arduous process trying to match up the exact orange color worn by the '76 Bucs.
"It's been a long work in progress and Ed Glazer deserves a lot of the credit,'' said new Tampa Bay GM Mark Dominik. "It's exciting to keep seeing tradition brought back to this franchise.''
The Bucs actually wore the orange jerseys for just one game in 1976, playing the rest in white jerseys with orange numbers. The shade of orange also evolved over the years, Glazer said, making it a challenge to match the precise 1976 color.
The Bucs will also institute a Ring of Honor this fall, with Hall of Fame defensive end Lee Roy Selmon expected to be the first player inducted.
"This is a very, very exciting day for us,'' Glazer said. "We want to welcome back Bucco Bruce and the original Buccaneers.''
The nods to the team's past come as the Bucs embark on a season marked by wholesale changes, from the roster to the front office and coaching staff, where Raheem Morris opens his first training camp since replacing Jon Gruden during the off-season.