A Legend Never Forgets Where He Comes From2 min read
Well, it finally happened. The perennial Pro Bowl defensive tackle and Batman super nerd has officially called it a career. Gerald McCoy is coming home to Tampa on a 1-day deal to retire as a Buccaneer. Drafted to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 3rd overall in 2010, his career has been polarizing among fans, to say the least.
Like most Buccaneers, McCoy came on to a bad team with mediocre coaching and had to suffer through an entire tenure of a revolving door coaching staff and losing seasons. Even with the bad and beaten teams, he still maintained a positive attitude and leadership. He was even ranked among some of the best DTs in football in his prime, behind guys like Aaron Donald. He just never had the right team around him.
The prospects of having a winning culture seemed on the horizon when the Buccaneers’ GM, Jason Licht, managed to pull Bruce Arians out of retirement. Unfortunately, by the time this occurred, McCoy seemed all but burned out with the lukewarm reception by the fans.
From the moment he was drafted, there was an [unfair] expectation and comparison from fans to be the same as Hall of Famer and ball of rage Warren Sapp —those are shoes very few men have filled, and the comparisons were unfair, to be polite. Gerald McCoy was a stud and a dog. He was a warrior in the trenches—but he was also a good man. He was a beacon in his community, a loving husband and father, and a charitable and caring man. He was not, however, a bloodthirsty gladiator hell-bent on causing destruction for the bloodlust and entertainment of the fans. This is not to question the character or integrity of Sapp but to simply acknowledge McCoy. The criticisms were unwarranted. Fans just didn’t want it.
Eventually, by the end of his playing time here, he was released and signed a 1-year deal with the Panthers. After the 2019 season, McCoy never really played again after struggling with reoccurring injuries—an unfitting end for such a powerful player. McCoy did say on an IG live feed before signing with Carolina that he had worked out with ownership in Tampa to come back and retire as a Buccaneer. In this writer’s opinion, he belonged the entire time. Thank you for everything you’ve done for the organization, Gerald! Good luck with your future endeavors.