Sapp Takes High Road
Vittorio Tafur, The Tampa Tribune, published 27 September 2004

Warren Sapp knew he could have gloated, and by the look in reporters' eyes after the Raiders 30-20 win Sunday night, he knew they wanted him to gloat. But he didn't. One could see by his excited, emotional exchanges with his former Bucs teammates after the game that he still has a lot of love for them. So Sapp took the high road. ``It was a big buildup, big game and the right outcome,'' he said. ``It felt like deja vu. I didn't have a color on, we were just playing the right kind of defense like we used to [in Tampa Bay].''

C'mon, that's it? ``Oh, I got just a little bragging rights, too,'' Sapp said.

Sapp finished with no sacks and three solo tackles, none bigger than when tripped up Charlie Garner at the Raiders 23 after a 31-yard catch and run. ``I dove as far as I could and tripped him up,'' Sapp said. ``That was a big play. I was feeling weird at kickoff and that play calmed me down. After that, I said, `I am just in a ballgame now.' ''

The bigger play, as far as setting the tempo of the game, came four minutes later when Tyrone Wheatley broke loose for a 60- yard run. ``We felt like we could put our bodies on them, on offense and defense,'' Sapp said. ``Our offensive and defensive lines talked about it all week. We thought we could dominate the game. Tyrone's run set the tone for the rest of the game.''

Sapp didn't enjoy rushing former teammate Brad Johnson as much as one would think, and the problem was that he never played with the two guys blocking him, tackle Derrick Deese and guard Matt Stinchcomb. There was nothing special about going against them. ``I don't know them, I never played with them,'' Sapp said. ``I got no love for those guys.''

Sapp jumped at the chance to line up as the Raiders' third tight end on offense when they got close to the goal line. On one play, he was matched up with Simeon Rice, who blew by him and told him about it on his way back to the huddle. ``It was a chance to go against my guys and talk trash,'' Sapp said. ``It was fun.''

He wanted no part of the ball, though. ``I chase my glory chasing the quarterback,'' Sapp said. ``I don't want it on offense.''

In all, it was good day for the former Bucs star. He beat his old team, though he is not about to get on the phone and razz them considering their 0-3 start. The only real damper on it was Garner's apparent serious knee injury. ``You hate to see a player go down on the same field that you're on,'' Sapp said. ``It's part of the game and you know it's there waiting to happen, but it's hard to watch and see a guy get hurt like that. I always say that every player out there is six seconds away from flipping burgers at Steak 'n Shake.''