Is it time for another bunch of statues?

by Gary Shelton on February 17, 2021

in general

Is it time Brooks and the guys got new playmates?./JEFFREY S. KING

Wednesday, 4 a.m.

Finally, it is time to call the sculptor back. Tell him to bring his chisel.

It is time to expand the lobby, and to celebrate another achievement, and to grab immortality again.

It is time for another Moment of Victory statue. Call this one Version 2.0.

If you've been to One Buc Place, you know what I'm talking about. There in the lobby, where you cannot take your eyes of it, is a marvelous nine-figure statue celebrating the first Bucs' Super Bowl victory. Jon Gruden is there. And Warren Sapp and Derrick Brooks and John Lynch and Ronde Barber and Mike Alstott and Simeon Rice and Brad Johnson and Shelton Quarles. The silver statues -- Gruden pumping and Sapp snarling and Rice shouting -- are frozen there, the same as they are in your memory.

Now comes this question. Now that the Bucs have achieved again, is it time to carve again?

Mind you, this year's champions are a little different than the last ones. That first Super Bowl was years in the making; the Bucs drafted most of those players and developed them. Three of them are in the Hall of Fame. Five of them are in the Ring of Honor. Together, the players made 38 Pro Bowls for the Bucs. And, yes, arguments have been made that others -- Monte Kiffin, game MVP Dexter Jackson and Joe Jurevicius, for instance -- should also be represented.

But if the Bucs are going to honor nine more men for their contributions to this year's success, who should they be?

  1. Tom Brady, quarterback: This is a no-brainer. Brady won his fifth Super Bowl MVP trophy, and he shaped the mindset that led this team to the title. Yeah, he should have a statue.

2. Bruce Arians, coach: Arians doesn't get enough credit for melding a team during a pandemic, and for getting them hot at the right time. Gruden was in his first year and Arians his second, but they got to the same finish line.

3. Devin White, linebacker. White was a terror during the playoffs. For whatever reason, he didn't make this year's Pro Bowl, but the feeling is he'll make several in a row now.

4. Mike Evans, receiver: Granted, this is more about his journey than his game-night production, but you can say the same about Alstott. You can't represent this team without Evans.

5. Shaq Barrett, defensive end/linebacker: He was the guy chasing Patrick Mahomes all around the field on game night. Ask Mahomes if he belongs.

6. Jason Pierre-Paul, defensive end/linebacker: I still don't undetstand how the Bucs had only one Pro Bowl player. Nevertheless, the way Pierre-Paul overcame his personal injuries to be an impact player again should be remembered.

7. Lavonte David, linebacker: Like Evans, David spent years chasing this trophy. You cannot forget him.

8. Chris Godwin, wide receiver: Godwin remains an under-appreciated force in the Bucs' locker room.

9. Rob Gronkowski, tight end:No, he's not just a supporting actor in the Brady story. He scored twice during the Super Bowl.

Honorable mentions:

Again there were faces from that original Bucs' title team that didn't get their statues. Personally, I'd add them.

And, to this list, I'd add Todd Bowles -- whose game plan was marvelous. I'd add Tristan Wirfs, who was the Bucs' best lineman. And I'd add Antoine Winfield.

The rest of them -- Leonard Founcette and Antonio Brown and Byron Leftwich and Carlton Davis and Jason Licht -- can be the stuff arguments are made of.

I only know that someone is going to have to round up a whole mess of pewter.

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