Who would be in a Bucs’ Ring of Dishonor?

by Gary Shelton on August 7, 2017 · 4 comments

in general, NFL, Tampa Bay Bucs

Monday, 4 a.m.

For 41 seasons, they have rolled the boulder uphill.

For 41 seasons, they — and their fans — have pounded their skulls against the wall.

Over the years, it has been difficult to be a fan of the Tampa Bay Bucs and their forgettable Sundays. Time and again, fans have sat through microwave afternoons to watch quarterbacks without arms and coaches without clues. Game after game, fans have told each other that next game, next season, next year will be better off. Won't it?

Often, it has not been. The Bucs are about to play in their 42nd season, and only 12 of them

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have finished with winning records. In only 10 seasons have the Bucs made the postseason. In only six have they won playoff games. In six seasons, they won two games or fewer.

Oh, they had a fairly nice run in the Tony Dungy-Jon Gruden seasons. And they won the Super Bowl after the 2002 season. The truth of it is, however, that a lot of seasons have been forgettable by the Bucs.

Which leads us to the Ring of Honor. And the counterpart we are about to introduce: The Ring of Dishonor. A motley collection of bad memories in cleats.

With the inductions of Malcolm Glazer and Jon Gruden, there are now 11 members of the Ring of Honor, which isn't bad when you consider the 12 winning records. And yes, there have been a few exceptions for the Bucs over the years, players who shined despite it all. Sure, there are more you could Honor: Ronde Barber and Hardy Nickerson and Warrick Dunn and Tony Mayberry and James Wilder. But after a while, you are pushing it.

So how about the Ring of Dishonor?

It's always difficult to play the Shame Game. For one thing, who wants to remember? It was painful enough to go through it once. But the Bucs have had a lot more bad days than good ones. Shouldn't there be a jester's Hall – maybe out back somewhere — to acknowledge those who tried but failed. Hey, it would give the rest of us a good chuckle, right?

Now, the team has had almost three bad seasons for every good one. Still, let's make the numbers align. There are 11 in the Ring of Honor; how about 11 more in the Ring of Disrepute?

Here we go. Just to make ourselves giggle.

1. Hugh Culverhouse, owner: Culverhouse was the clown of Tampa Bay, an owner who cared more about the college team he supported (Alabama) than the NFL team he owned. He was cheap (he didn't sign Bo Jackson, he didn't pay Doug Williams, he didn't get to the altar with Bill Parcells). He simply made millions off of Tampa Bay.

Culverhouse has gotten a lot of credit for being the Buc' first owner. He wasn't. Tom McCloskey was. But McCloskey backed out the deal after one month, bringing Culverhouse into the league. Tampa Bay still regrets it.

2. Booker Reese, defensive end: Reese is known as the worst-ever Bucs' draft pick, and hopefully, he will stay that way. The Bucs actually botched his drafting, picking Sean Farrell instead, but then traded their No. 1 draft pick in 1983 in order to take Reese in the second round of the 1982 draft. By 1983, the team had lost quarterback Doug Williams, and if the team still had its draft pick, well, Dan Marino was waiting for his name to be called.

As a pro, the Bucs thought they had the next Lee Roy Selmon. They didn't even have the next Dewey. Reese finished his career with all of two sacks.

3. Josh Freeman, quarterback: Yes, the Bucs have had worse players than Freeman. But no one represented underachievement so firmly. Freeman was actually good for a while, throwing 25 touchdowns and six interceptions in 2010. But then he started to miss meetings and, in a move that would probably cost him his job, was dumped by then-coach Greg Schiano.

4. Charles McRae, tackle: McRae was big enough and strong enough. He just didn't like football very much. He started only 39 games in his six seasons, and frankly, he didn't play well in any of them.

5. Eric Curry, defensive end: Curry was supposed to be the solution to the Bucs' eternal search for a pass-rusher. He was supposed to be one of those guys who can get a team 12.5 sacks a year. Instead, that was his career number – after seven seasons. Over the last four years of his career – two with the Jaguars – he had 17 tackles and 2.5 sacks.

6. Vinny Testaverde, quarterback: Testaverde outlasted the Bucs. He played long enough to finish in the top 10 of yards gained passing. That doesn't change the fact that Vinny wasn't a great player in Tampa Bay. Blame his teams if you want, but Testaverde was 24-48 here, and he threw 112 interceptions in six years.

7. Leeman Bennett, coach: Bennett coached the Bucs in 1985 and 1986, and in each season, he won two games. Yet, with a record of 4-28, he was surprised at his firing. Still, giving up 921 points in two seasons should get a man a certain degree of immortality.

8. Kenyatta Walker, tackle: Walker used to love to spar with his critics. He'd be standing by the locker room door after victories, as if he had personally repelled the invading Huns. But Walker – nicknamed Pinata – wasn't very good.

9. Alvin Harper, receiver: One of the first big-time free agent signings by the Bucs, Harper was to ascend into a great player. But he could never withstand being a No. 1 (or No. 2) receiver. He was sullen, and he didn't play well. It's a wonder the Bucs ever bothered with another free agent wide receiver.

10. Dexter Jackson, receiver: The Bucs desperately needed a receiver in 2007. But Jackson wasn't the answer. He never caught a pass for Tampa Bay, and he played in only seven games — as a shy kick returner — before being cut.

11. Gaines Adams, defensive end: The Bucs thought Adams would be the next Simeon Rice. It didn't turn out that way, however. Adams had 13.5 sacks in four years with the Bucs and Bears. He just wasn't physical enough for the NFL. He started 29 games in four seasons.

Dishonorable mention (better luck next year): Trent Dilfer, Jack Thompson, Sabby Piscitelli, Rod “Toast” Jones, Lars Tate, Demetrious DuBose, Brett Moritz, Keith McCants, Bo Jackson, Richard Williamson, Jeff Jagodzinski, Michael Clayton, Bruce Allen, Jerramy Stevens, Ray Perkins, Randy Hedberg, Todd Steussie..

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