Former Bradenton residents Bob and Rosalie Schilling are in Canton, Ohio, for this weekend's festivities. "I just always loved (Warren) Sapp's attitude. He came to play all the time. He was always fired up," Bob Schilling said. CHRIS URSO/STAFF
Warren Sapp, the former Tampa Bay Buccaneers defensive tackle, isn't sure what will happen tonight when he bats sixth during the Pro Football Hall of Fame induction speeches at Fawcett Stadium.
"I've cried every day since Feb. 2,'' Sapp said Friday, referring to the day voters elected him to the Hall's Class of 2013.
"I've been working on the first three minutes (of the speech), trying to hold it together.''
Ravens T Jonathan Ogden will lead off the evening, followed by Packers LB David Robinson, Cowboys OL Larry Allen, coach Bill Parcells, Chiefs DT Curley Culp, Sapp and Eagles/Vikings WR Cris Carter.
Carter, who shed some tears during Friday's media interviews, finds it fruitless to suppress emotions.
"There is no way to get ready for this,'' Carter said. "You're not going to feel better if you go first or seventh. It's still going to be a beast.''
The Bucs' contingent
Several members of the Buccaneers organization - including franchise co-chairman Bryan Glazer, general manager Mark Dominik and director of pro scouting Shelton Quarles - will arrive this morning on a chartered flight into Canton.
Three defensive stalwarts on Tampa Bay's Super Bowl XXXVII championship team - LB Derrick Brooks, CB Ronde Barber and SS John Lynch - along with former head coach Jon Gruden have set up a golf foursome for the morning, plenty of time to get in 18 holes before Sapp's induction.
Former QB Brad Johnson and wife Nikki arrived at the Hall of Fame on Friday morning and more former teammates are expected. Former Bucs coach Tony Dungy is expected to attend, as well.
Sapp sent out 235 invitations - including one to former nemesis and Packers QB Brett Favre - and received 230 positive responses, he said.
Former Bucs assistant coaches Monte Kiffin, Rod Marinelli and Rich Bisaccia also will attend. They are first-year staff members with the Dallas Cowboys, who meet the Miami Dolphins in Sunday night's Hall of Fame Game.
During Friday morning's mass photo session - when 121 Hall of Famers gathered to celebrate the football shrine's 50th anniversary - there was some Buccaneers red and pewter, plus some throwback orange, spotted in the crowd.
The fans included Bob and Debbie McCoy of York, Pa.
"The best thing is Warren will be just the first Buc from our Super Bowl team to go in,'' Bob York said.
Also spotted were Canton's Bob and Rosalie Schilling, who once lived in Bradenton.
"I've been a Bucs fan since 7-9 was a really, really good record,'' Bob Schilling said. "I just always loved Sapp's attitude. He came to play all the time. He was always fired up.''
Odds and ends
Canton officials estimate 200,000 people will be present along the route of this morning's annual Timken Grand Parade. Sapp and daughter Mercedes, his presenter, will be in the 84th of 106 parade cars, followed directly behind by other members of Sapp's family. ... After tonight, there will be bronze busts of 280 players at the Hall of Fame. Sapp's bust is the only one to feature hair braids. ... Sapp received his gold Hall of Fame blazer from his daughter, Mercedes, during Friday night's dinner. It's a 52 long. . Sapp is the sixth University of Miami inductee into the Hall of Fame, joining Ted Hendricks, Michael Irvin, Jim Kelly, Cortez Kennedy and Jim Otto. Sapp wore No. 99. Otto wore No. 00.