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Weeding out the misfits

Posted May 14, 2013 by Ira Kaufman

Updated May 14, 2013 at 02:01 PM


TAMPA—Warren Sapp couldn’t believe his ears.

When Sapp joined the Buccaneers in 1995, the Hall of Fame defensive tackle knew he was coming to a perpetual NFL loser. But then Tony Dungy replaced Sam Wyche as head coach the following year and hired Rod Marinelli as defensive line coach.

That was bad news for defensive end Eric Curry, a former Alabama standout who was selected by Tampa Bay with the sixth pick in the 1993 draft.

“There was some bad football being played,’’ said Sapp, “but I go back to that third day with Rod (Marinelli) when Eric Curry looked at us and said, ‘Are we going to do this every day?’ I was like ‘Yes,’ I ain’t got to look at his butt anymore because he’s out of here. This was just regular work in the summer. You went 15 games without a sack and now you’re talking about are we going to pass rush every day? Really? I couldn’t understand it.’‘

Sure enough, Curry was gone by 1998 and he ended his 75-game NFL career with 12.5 sacks while Sapp went on to define the 3-technique position for a defense that reeled off a stellar 7-year run.

“We slowly went about the process of Tony and his coaching staff building something special,’’ Sapp said. “It didn’t matter that we were over in a little woodshed at One Buc Place. It was our woodshed and we had a great field to go play football on. That’s all that mattered to us. We were all growing together.’‘

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