Gerald McCoy promised yesterday that he wouldn’t let a contract issue keep him from training camp.
That’s in large part because he’s looking to replicate the work done by a Hall of Famer.
McCoy said a recent conversation with former Buccaneers defensive tackle Warren Sapp had him excited about the prospects for himself and the team under new coach Lovie Smith.
“I talked to Sapp the other day, and I told him, ‘I can see now why you loved this defense so much,’’’ McCoy said, via Roy Cummings of the Tampa Tribune. “I said, ‘This is going to be fun,’ and he said, ‘Well, it’s not going to be easy, because you have a lot of work ahead of you. You have a lot of responsibility as the under tackle.’
“What he meant was, this defense is going to run how I run, so I have a lot of responsibility. I’m going to see most of the one on ones. And when you depend on four guys to get to the quarterback the way we will and the under tackle is supposed to be the key guy, well, I have to get there. But I’m still excited about it.’’
McCoy began to show some Sapp-ish tendencies (the good, on-field kind) last season, when he had 9.0 sacks and earned All-Pro honors. Now, he’s looking to lead a turnaround for the Bucs, getting them back to the old ways.
“First day we got started here, I pulled the whole defense together before we even started to stretch or anything and told them we have to have a different type of mind set this year,’’ McCoy said. “I told them that if this team is going to get to where we want to be, then (just like) the Buccaneers teams of the past, we have to be known for having a great defense.’’
If McCoy can have the kind of sustained success Sapp had in Tampa, the chances of that are a lot better.