The No.74 shirt
The number of tackles. As in, if you are a Buccaneer tackle, then this was going to be your number.
Even Gene Sanders who switched from defense early in his Tampa Bay career, spent most of his
playing days on the edge of the interior line.
Mike Current was one of the few players to start every game in the expansion season and was a long-
time NFL veteran, as was Rockne Freitas who succeeded him in the 74 jersey at the end of a long and
successful pro career and became a good friend to BUCPOWER.COM from his home in Hawaii.
After Sanders, came Marvin Powell, a former Pro Bowler in New York but way past his best by the time
he arrived to play for Leeman Bennett in 1986. He was quickly injured and quickly gone.
Which left the jersey number open to be worn by the 4th overall pick of the 1988 NFL draft, Paul
Gruber. 183 starts later and every longevity record in the book by the time he called it a day, Gruber
was one of the best ever in a Tampa Bay uniform.
Ali Marpet may well be left wishing he had worn another number when he joined the Buccaneers as he
would have easily won some of the other numbers in the 70s but has become one of the best guards
in franchise history.
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