Warren Sapp’s 13-year NFL career officially ended when his retirement was posted on the Oakland Raiders’ Web site.
Sapp said immediately after last season that he was through playing, but did not file the paper work. The posting on the team’s site was the first official word that the star defensive tackle was done.
In January, the 35-year-old Sapp posted a two-word message on his Web site: “I’M DONE!” He had told teammates and coaches his plans after the season finale against San Diego.
Considered the quintessential “three technique” defensive tackle – lining up between the offensive guard and tackle – Sapp made seven Pro Bowls, won the 1999 Associated Press Defensive Player of the Year award, and led Tampa Bay’s dominant defense that won the Super Bowl after the 2002 season.
Sapp spent nine seasons in Tampa before joining the Raiders in 2004 as a free agent. He mostly struggled with the Raiders, except for a strong 2006 in which he had 10 sacks, and had become more of a situational player in his final season.
In 2007, he had only two sacks and the Raiders’ defense struggled against the run, allowing a league-worst 4.8 yards per carry.
Sapp finished his career with 96 1/2 sacks, 28th overall since the NFL began keeping track of the statistic in 1982, but extra impressive because he played tackle.
His running “feud” with Packers quarterback Brett Favre – who coincidentally announced his retirement Tuesday as well – brought some levity to a sometimes brutal game. Sapp was known as a trash talker, and Favre often went directly back at him with a smile when both the Bucs and Packers were in the same division and played twice a season.
Sapp starred in college at Miami, where he arrived as a tight end and left as the best defensive player in the country. He slipped to No. 12 in the 1995 draft after testing positive for marijuana at the scouting combine.
That was just one controversy in Sapp’s career. In 2002, he nearly ended the career of Packers offensive tackle Chad Clifton with a vicious hit while trying to throw a block after an interception. Then-Packers coach Mike Sherman confronted Sapp on the field after the game, calling it a dirty play.
Sapp was fined $50,000 for bumping an official in 2003 and was fined $75,000 after being ejected following three personal fouls in the next-to-last game of his career against Jacksonville.
Sapp was no one to mess with.
Back in the Tampa Bay days spittin’ fire…
Warren Sapp was monster at DT and consistently was one of the most feared players in the league. Sick coming out of Miami, his bench press was hard to match and destroyed offensive lineman with brute strength. He also was a quote machine who cared less what anyone thought of him. Times are changing across the sports landscape. New eras are being formulated. Have a nice life Warren. Now give us some real rap on whatever pregame show you land on. I guess he and Brett can go chill now.
Warren Sapp was definitely a G.
You’re done too? We gon’ fishin’?!