Gerald McCoy doesn’t appreciate seeing another Buccaneer in his old uniform number.
During his Wednesday appearance on Fox Sports 1’s “Undisputed,” the new Panthers defensive tackle discussed his exit from Tampa Bay and said he believes the Bucs could have handled things better, especially when it came to honoring the memory of his eight-year stint with the team.
The Bucs released McCoy in May after nine seasons and not only signed Ndamukong Suh to a one-year deal to take his place, but gave the veteran defensive tackle McCoy’s No. 93.
“As far as giving away my number, in the history of the Bucs, they have a Ring of Honor,” McCoy said. “All of the greatest players in the organization usually get their numbers retired. When (Warren) Sapp left — Sapp is one of a kind — John Lynch, Brooksie (Derrick Brooks), Lee Roy Selmon, Ronde Barber, when all these guys left, nobody wore their number. They didn’t give their number away. It was a sign of respect.
“Well, six Pro Bowls, All Pro four times. This is Tampa Bay, and I’m one of the best players to ever play in the organization. I’m gonna say it. Usually, I wouldn’t, but I’m gonna say it. So what? It kind of shows the respect and how they feel about me. I think it does. Them giving the number away, that’s their prerogative. It’d be different if it was a guy who came in, he signed four or five years. This is a one-year deal, and you said because he caused a problem or he really asked for the number, we gave it to him? It might seem like it’s just a number, but it’s bigger than that. It’s respect. And that was a bigger part of the separation between me and Tampa, period, was the respect they showed to me all offseason. It just wasn’t there.”
McCoy initially was drafted by Tampa Bay with the third pick in the 2010 draft and had 54.5 sacks during his time with the the team.
Despite everything, McCoy doesn’t hold a grudge and insisted he said he would “never say anything bad” about the Bucs.
“But there comes a point in time where you have to show some respect, and I didn’t feel like they showed me the respect that I deserved, that I earned,” he said. “I’m not saying give me respect for something that I didn’t earn. I earned that respect. Tampa hasn’t been a winning team, and we all know it’s hard to be considered a Pro Bowl, All Pro person on a losing team. And I did it six years straight. That’s hard to do. For the respect I received after doing that? They showed none. And I don’t know why.”
McCoy is sure to have his reunion circled on the calendar. The Panthers are slated to host the Bucs on Sept. 12 before the two teams meet again in London on Oct. 13.