Offensive Touchdown Adds To Sapp's Legacy
The Tampa Tribune, published 22 September 2003

Derrick Brooks heard the play called and quickly gathered the defensive players to the front of the Bucs' sideline for a better view. With two minutes remaining in the first half, the Bucs had the ball first-and-goal on the Falcons' 6-yard line. Defensive tackles Anthony McFarland and Warren Sapp entered the game as eligible receivers. Both lined up at tight end.

Then it happened. Brad Johnson connected with a wide-open Sapp for a 6-yard touchdown reception. After the catch, Sapp bounced up and down in a celebration dance (a la singer Beyonce Knowles in her ``Crazy in Love'' video) as Brooks sprinted from the sideline and jumped into his friend's arms. ``When I looked on the sideline as I was spinning, they were all kind of peeking around one another,'' Sapp said. ``They knew I was going to do something.''

That something extended the Bucs' lead to 17-3. It was Sapp's first touchdown reception, and came two weeks after his first career reception. Sapp had scored a defensive touchdown before on a 5-yard interception return, also against Atlanta, during his rookie season in 1995. ``You've got to love the Falcons,'' he said. ``They get me in the end zone.''

Sapp had a little something to do with it, too. When he lined up opposite Atlanta defensive end Brady Smith, Sapp sold the seven-year veteran on a run play. Smith bit, letting Sapp go by as he headed for Johnson. ``I can shed from a blocker now,'' Sapp said. ``That's my thing.''

One of his other things used to be getting sacks. But three games into the season, Sapp has two receptions and no sacks. He still needs 6.5 to tie Lee Roy Selmon's franchise career record of 78.5 sacks. ``I'd trade both catches and the touchdown for just one sack,'' he said.

When the Bucs lost tight end Rickey Dudley to injury in the preseason, Coach Jon Gruden told Sapp he had 10 offensive plays for him. But those got scaled back because Gruden was worried about exposing Sapp to injury. ``I told him don't worry about it,'' Sapp said. ``With [Gruden] calling the play and `The Bull' [Brad Johnson] throwing it, I'll be fine.''

The play that resulted in the touchdown was called in the Bucs' Super Bowl victory against Oakland. But a penalty moved the ball back, forcing the offense to call another play. ``We call that Rolex because McFarland and Sapp have a lot of Rolex watches,'' Gruden said. ``We have scored a couple of touchdowns on runs near the goal line in the past [with this set]. You have to have some play-action passes and we felt that first down was a good time to do it. It just adds to the legacy of Warren Sapp.''