Emotional day for Mike Alstott as he enters Bucs’ Ring of Honor
The Tampa Tribune, published 4 October 2015

When the banner was unraveled along the Raymond James Stadium east-side concourse — revealing 40 Alstott — former Bucs running back Mike Alstott fought back tears while hugging his wife, Nicole, and their three children, Griffin, Hannah and Lexie.

Alstott, 41, stepped to an on-field podium after becoming the seventh member of the Bucs’ Ring of Honor on Sunday afternoon, but he paused before beginning his speech. No words were necessary. The fans cheered — and they didn’t stop.

“It’s not about me,” Alstott said. “It’s about all of us. We overcame a lot of adversity and achieved our ultimate goal in winning the Super Bowl. The fans had a lot to do with it, so it’s their day, too.”

In the 40-year history of Tampa Bay’s NFL franchise, there arguably has never been a more popular player than Alstott, a bruising, punishing runner who accounted for 5,088 rushing yards and 71 total touchdowns.

Fittingly, there were many fans wearing No. 40 Alstott jerseys — in red and orange — and they showered down their affection. For Alstott, who had dozens of former teammates present and 60 total special guests at the ceremony — the feeling was mutual. “I know it’s my name up there, but we did it as a team,” Alstott said. “I truly believe I cared about the fans and they came back with cheers for all of us.

“After leaving the games on Sunday afternoons, I wanted to make sure everyone had their autographs, not because I wanted to become a fan favorite, but because they deserve that. The fans are part of us.”

Two Ring of Honor members — linebacker Derrick Brooks (2014) and defensive tackle Warren Sapp (2013) — sported their Pro Football Hall of Fame gold blazers. Offensive tackle Paul Gruber (2012) and tight end Jimmie Giles (2011) also were present. The first two inductees were the late defensive end Lee Roy Selmon (2009) and the late John McKay (2010), the franchise’s first head coach.