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Posts Tagged ‘paul gruber’

Paul Gruber Will Be Next ROH Inductee

June 06, 2012 at 11:03am by Scott   •  2 Comments »

And I'd rather have him than Donald Penn, too.
Yesterday the Buccaneers announced that Paul Gruber will be the next inductee to the Ring of Honor. And as long as the Bucs aren’t going chronologically (because there are several Bucs from the 70s/80s that still need to be in there), this is absolutely the right pick.

You know when draft analysts are talking about potential first-rounders and they predict that most of them you can “plug them in and let them play for ten years”? Well, Gruber was exactly that guy. Gruber was a rock for the Bucs for twelve seasons. Back when he was drafted in 1988, you couldn’t count on much from the Bucs except to suck in new and spectacular ways. But you could count on Gruber. The right defensive end was not going to get to whichever quarterback was throwing interceptions that day. It’s a shame he couldn’t play a couple more seasons because if anyone deserved a Super Bowl ring, it was him.

And when you hear about being a team leader, Gruber was that guy. Here’s a story from Warren Sapp about the kind of leader Gruber was.

While Gruber has always been a man of few words, they carried a lot of weight.

When coach Sam Wyche attempted to make the Bucs wear orange jerseys and pants for the regular-season finale in 1995, Gruber stepped in.

“We waited for Gruber and when he got there, I asked him, ‘What do you want to do about this Paul?’ ” Sapp said. “He picked up those orange on orange uniforms and walked into Sam’s office, opened the door and said, ‘No.’ That’s all he said. They started passing out the white pants right after that.”

I cannot WAIT for Sapp’s book to come out. If all his stories are cool little nuggets like this, I’m going to read it in one sitting. And the last time I did that, it turned out the little engine really could get up the hill. (Preorder Sapp’s book here and it will help out this site.) Sapp is a hard guy to earn the respect of, so you know if Gruber won him over, he commanded that locker room.

Congratulations to Paul Gruber for some long-overdu recognition.

Bucs Need To Give Brooks Love

August 11, 2010 at 01:56pm by Scott   •  3 Comments »

If you see this face tomorrow, the Bucs are fucked.
I make a lot of fun of Pat Yasinskas, and I will continue to do so because at any given opportunity, but the piece he did about the Buccaneers’ obligation to Derrick Brooks is absolutely spot on.

The Bucs — and I’m talking everyone from ownership to the front office to the public relations department — have to hit this one out of the park. Seriously, it’s that important. A team that needs to sell tickets and win back its fan base needs the best player in franchise history and it needs to keep him for the long term.

The Bucs need to do this, and not just because of the revenue implications. It’s just the right thing to do.

Multiple people close to the situation have told me there was an attempt by Brooks to come into One Buccaneer Place soon after his release that was blocked from very high levels.

That’s almost criminal. If anyone should have a lifetime pass to One Buccaneer Place, it is Brooks.

If that’s true, that’s fucking disgusting. What did they thing he was going to do, go in there and tear up the place? BROOKS? Honestly, there’s no reason why any former player who was with the team for a season or two shouldn’t be allowed in there. It’s not Area 51 — there aren’t any military secrets or captive aliens to keep hidden. At worst, someone would discover Joel Glazer‘s shoe fetish.

When he walks out of One Buccaneer Place on Thursday, Brooks needs to feel like he’s part of the organization. If this thing comes off as some kind of insincere gesture, Brooks, a man of tremendous pride, is going to walk out of that building for the final time and keep his distance from the team.

Yes, yes and yes. It’s not too late to announce a Derrick Brooks Day as the theme to a home game this season. They did it for Mike Alstott, they should do it for Brooks. I’ll even go one step further and say that if they don’t do something of a similar caliber for Brooks that they did for Alstott, people could interpret it as having some kind of racial undertone as the reason. Not to take anything away from Alstott, but Brooks was a better player than Alstott, period. He was with the team longer and more of a team leader. The only difference in Alstott’s favor is that he retired injured instead of being cut like Brooks. That shouldn’t matter.

It took years after Doug Williams’ original departure for the wounds to heal. The team accomplished that when they brought Williams back as a personnel guy. Then, they absolutely blew that bridge up again when they pushed Williams out the door a few months back.

I live in Tampa and I know this for a fact. Williams walked into a Tampa barber shop recently and was giving away the last of his Buccaneers’ golf shirts and saying he’ll never wear them again. That’s a shame and it probably never should have come to that point. But it has and it’s too late to repair the latest Williams fiasco.

Man, Williams must feel like the Buccaneers’ chew toy. Maybe it’s not all their fault. Williams may have thought he deserved a role with more responsibility or maybe he thought more of his own skills as a personnel man than he should have. You can’t placate a person when it comes to making business decisions. But there was probably a way to salvage the relationship for the sake of Williams’s historical importance to the team and still relieve him of his duties if he wasn’t performing well. There had to have been a better answer than whatever went down to make him give away all traces of his time with the Bucs.

With the throwback games and alumni days and the Ring of Honor, the Bucs have done a great job over the last couple years in embracing their past and keeping long-time fans interested. They can’t fuck up their relationship with Brooks. Lee Roy Selmon won’t live forever and then who have they got as a tie to their successful past? Someone like Al Davis can afford to piss off a Hall of Famer like Marcus Allen because the Raiders have so many other former Raiders who are both successful as players and still loyal to the team. Who do the Bucs have? Warren Sapp says he still bleeds red and pewter, but if there’s one guy whose temperament you don’t want to have to bank on, it’s Sapp. Maybe John Lynch, but I haven’t heard a peep from the guy since he did his retirement announcement at One Buc. Anyone seen Paul Gruber lately? The names run out pretty damn fast in Tampa. The Bucs cannot fuck this up. Stroke Brooks’s ego and keep him close to the franchise.

Seau Helps Sapp’s Bid To Be In 2013 HOF Class

December 05, 2008 at 01:57pm by Scott   •  No Comments »

Warren Sapp prepares to take a shit on Al Davis's head as he walks out of Raider headquarters for the last time.
I don’t think there’s any question as to whether Warren Sapp will get in the Hall of Fame one day. But the odds on him being inducted in his first year of eligibility were pretty slim with the retirements of Brett Favre, Larry Allen, Jonathan Ogden, Michael Strahan and Junior Seau all after the 2007 season. Favre’s woman-like waffling only a few weeks after his weepy, woman-like retirement helped out considerably, and now Junior Seau is officially gainfully employed as a player for the Patriots, so he’s out of consideration as well.

Junior Seau signed with the New England Patriots on Friday, coming out of retirement again to help bolster his former team’s injury-depleted defense.

Strahan is a lock for first-year induction. I think Allen should be as well, but he doesn’t have the same kind of name recognition as some of the other guys, so he may sit for a year. Ogden is a tough call. My guess would be that he makes it in that first year, though. Sapp would make it three, possibly four with Allen, linemen inducted in their first year of eligibility. I think that would be fantastic; linemen are woefully underrepresented in the Hall compared to skill-position players. But that seems unrealistic given the Hall’s love of quarterbacks and running backs. Sapp may still be a stretch to make it in 2013, but at least his chances just got quite a bit better. Seau will unquestionably be a first-year inductee five years after he hangs it up for good.

Hey, here’s a fun aside. I have given out Ira Kaufman‘s email address in the past so that fans of guys like Mike Alstott or John Lynch could make their cases for him to bring them up at their selection meetings. But according to the Hall’s selection process, you can skip the middle man altogether.

Any fan may nominate any qualified person who has been connected with pro football in any capacity simply by writing to the Pro Football Hall of Fame. The only restriction is that a player and coach must have last played or coached at least five seasons before he can be considered.

Pretty cool, eh? Make your cases for some deserving Buccaneers who would never sniff the Hall otherwise because they played on shitty teams. Paul Gruber, maybe? At least it gets them mentioned in the discussions. Here’s the address:

Pro Football Hall of Fame
2121 George Halas Drive NW
Canton, Ohio 44708

Glazers Have Orangegasm

October 16, 2008 at 09:33am by Scott   •  5 Comments »

David Lewis and Lee Roy Selmon are as happy as I am about the Ring of Honor and throwback announcement.
After twelve years of being in pewter and refusing to acknowledge Buccaneer history with a ring of honor or at least a throwback game, the Glazers have decided to unveil both in 2009.

The Bucs plan to introduce a Ring of Honor for the franchise next year as part of a 30th anniversary celebration of the 1979 Bucs, who went 10-6 and advanced to within one victory of a Super Bowl berth in only their fourth NFL season.

The organization also intends to play at least one game during the 2009 season wearing Tampa Bay’s throwback orange jerseys, according to an NFL source.

The Ring of Honor is long overdue and I hope they don’t just concentrate on the Tony Dungy and Jon Gruden eras. I realize they were the most successful for the team and that the majority of players selected will (and should) be selected from those periods, but the Bucs had other great players that got stuck playing for shitty teams. James Wilder comes to mind as a guy who would have thrived in a different system. Jimmie Giles, David Logan, Richard Wood… all of them should be locks. And the poor guys who suffered in both uniforms and then retired before the big Super Bowl payoff like Paul Gruber and Tony Mayberry and Hardy Nickerson should also get their consolation prize of having their names in huge letters at Ray Jay. Of course, if Lee Roy Selmon isn’t the first player enshrined, the whole thing is a sham.

But the bigger surprise is the announcement of a (*sniff*… I’m getting choked up…) throwback game next year. The Glazers have been adamant about not participating in the throwback weekends because of the stank stigma that surrounds Bucco Bruce. I understand it to a degree. It’s impossible to separate the team’s new success in the 90s from their new uniforms, even if it’s just a superficial association. But the fans who endured such disappointment in the orange and white for so many years have a sentimental attachment to it. It’s their badge of honor and every now and then they want to wear it on their sleeves literally. “You were in Iraq? Pffft… I was a Buccaneer fan in the 80s.” The rest of the league has at least one throwback game a year — the Bucs were the only team to completely ignore it year after year. But not next year, and I hope they make it an annual tradition. Derrick Brooks is the only player currently on the team to wear the orange, and he has been a supporter of the throwback for years. He may hold off retirement one more year just to be able to play in that game.

I’m just… I’m just so happy.