THE ALL-TIME BUCCANEER TEAM After 42 seasons, enough time has passed to produce an all-time Buccaneer team. Not just starters but a full 53- man roster of the best players to have worn the Tampa Bay colours in the NFL.    The 53 includes special teamers, specialists and the need for rotational and back-up players.  Some selections were obvious, others perhaps a little controversial but that is what off-season articles are for.  And you have to take into consideration the eras that each player appeared in. Comparing a receiver or a QB rating from the modern game to that of the 1980s is not realistic. Now we move on to the offensive line and we went with eight spots for linemen on our roster, five starters and three back-ups who could cover each position.  Most NFL teams would normally have nine linemen but we sacrificed one to allow another position to benefit. The left tackle is a no-brainer with Ring of Honor member Paul Gruber taking his place on the blind side.   He started every one of his 183 games for the Buccaneers and it was a travesty of Pro Bowl voting that he never made it to Hawaii.  A place in our roster will have to suffice. Alongside him will be Sean Farrell, another first round pick.   He played five of the worst seasons in franchise history and was very vocal about the organisation leading to his trade out of Tampa in 1987 but his play across his 59 starts at multiple positions was excellent.   Tony Mayberry wins the starting center role with 10 seasons of starting on his resume.  His final game was the 1999 Pro Bowl and he beats out the likes of John Wade and Jeff Faine for the role on our team. The third first round pick on the line is right guard Davin Joseph.   Nearly 100 starts across eight seasons and a 2008 Pro Bowl appearance make his selection an almost certainty.   Perhaps not the man next to him at right tackle, Ron Heller.   He started all but two games during his four seasons in Tampa and famously got into a fight with the ridiculous Ray Perkins in the locker room in New Orleans in 1987 leading to his trade.  He was one of the best and hardest-working players on the roster and it was an insane move to see him leave.  Two of the three back-ups are definites.   Donald Penn knows where I live so there was no way he could be left out.  Losing a starter position to someone like Paul Gruber is no disrespect and there is no-one you would want covering your backside than Donald.  He is also one of the funniest players I have ever had the privilege to have known in the years of covering the Buccaneers. Randy Grimes is the only Buccaneer to have played for five head coaches during his 10 years in Tampa and started over 100 games at both center and guard making him an invaluable member of our roster.    The final position was difficult as Dave Reavis was a superb left tackle during the early years of the franchise and also a good friend.  But he could not beat out Gruber and Grimes and we need a specialist guard for the final spot which therefore goes to Ian Beckles, someone who was a lot better blocker and pass protector than he ever was radio host.  There was no place for either Jeff Christy or Randall McDaniel, both Pro Bowlers but who did most of their best work outside of Tampa.   And “Turnstile Todd” Steussie just missed selection.  Well by about 30 spots that is. NEXT - THE DEFENSIVE LINE
QB DE QB DT QB DT RB James Wilder DE RB Warrick Dunn DE RB Ricky Bell DE RB Mike Alstott DT FB Adger Armstrong DT TE LB Derrick Brooks TE LB Hardy Nickerson TE LB Lavonte David WR Mark Carrier LB Richard Wood WR Kevin House LB Hugh Green WR Mike Evans LB Shelton Quarles WR Vincent Jackson LB David Lewis WR Joey Galloway CB Ronde Barber WR Keenan McCardell CB Ricky Reynolds LT Paul Gruber CB Donnie Abraham LG Sean Farrell CB Mike Washington C Tony Mayberry FS Cedric Brown RG Davin Joseph SS John Lynch RT Ron Heller S Mark Robinson T Donald Penn S Mark Cotney G Ian Beckles KR OL Randy Grimes PR K P SPEC