In what many saw as a sign of disrespect, the Buccaneers handed Gerald McCoy‘s jersey number to McCoy’s replacement, Ndamukong Suh, only days after releasing McCoy. They ushered McCoy out the door after nine seasons, saying he “just didn’t fit” their defense.
McCoy signed with the Panthers, giving him two chances to play his old team this season and however many seasons he’s in Carolina.
But McCoy, proving again what a class act he is, made it clear Tuesday that he has nothing but respect for the Bucs and appreciates the chance they gave him in drafting him in the first round in 2010.
“I don’t want it to be misconstrued the respect I have for the Buccaneers organization and how much I appreciate what they’ve done for me,” McCoy said on Ian Rapoport’s podcast, via a transcript from Greg Auman from TheAthletic.com. “A lot of people think I’ve turned my back on them or disrespected them. I’ll never do that.
“I’ll never say anything bad about Tampa. I’ll never say anything negative about Tampa. It doesn’t matter how much negative was said about me. It’ll never be reciprocated, because I know that organization changed my life. The time I had there was great.”