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File:Warren Sapp.jpg
No. 99
Defensive tackle
Personal information
Date of birth: December 19, 1972 (1972-12-19) (age 37)
Place of birth: Orlando, Florida
High School: Apopka High School
Height: 6 ft 2 in (1.88 m) Weight: 300 lb (136 kg)
Career information
College: University of Miami
NFL Draft: 1995 / Round: 1 / Pick: 12
Debuted in 1995 for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Last played in 2007 for the Oakland Raiders
Career history
Career highlights and awards
  • 7× Pro Bowl selection (1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003)
  • 4× First-team All-Pro selection (1999, 2000, 2001, 2002)
  • 2× Second-team All-Pro selection (1997, 1998)
  • Super Bowl champion (XXXVII)
  • NFL 1990s All-Decade Team
  • NFL 2000s All-Decade Team
  • 1999 NFL Defensive Player of the Year
  • College awards and honors
Career NFL statistics as of 2007
Tackles 569
Sacks 96.5
Interceptions 4
Forced Fumbles 8
Stats at NFL.com

Warren Harrison Sapp (born December 19, 1972) is a retired American football player who played defensive tackle in the National Football League. He played for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Oakland Raiders during his 13 year professional career, and college football for the University of Miami Hurricanes. He was then drafted by the Buccaneers in the 1995 NFL Draft as the 12th overall pick. He spent nine seasons with the team where he earned seven trips to the Pro Bowl and a Super Bowl ring in 2002. He moved to the Raiders in 2004.

His 96.5 career sacks are the second-highest career total sacks for a defensive tackle and the 28th highest overall for a defensive lineman. His 77 sacks with the Buccaneers is second in the team's history. During Sapp's career, he has been the source of some controversy because of his hard-hitting style of play and his occasional verbal outbursts, both on the field and off. Some of these resulted in NFL fines, and he was once ejected from a game for unsportsmanlike conduct.

Early yearsEdit

Sapp was born in Orlando and raised in Plymouth, Florida, a small community in Northwest Orange County. During the late 1980s he was honored as an outstanding football player at Apopka High School in Apopka, Florida as a linebacker, tight end and punter.[1] While playing football for Apopka High School, Sapp delivered a hit on baseball player Johnny Damon, a player from Dr. Phillips High school.

In 2007, Sapp was named to the Florida High School Association All-Century Team which selected the Top 33 players in the 100-year history of high school football in the state of Florida.

University of MiamiEdit

Warren [Sapp] has the power of a Cortez Kennedy and the quickness of a Russell Maryland.

—former University of Miami defensive tackle Mark Caesar.[2]

Many top national colleges sought him out as a football player; Sapp chose to play for the University of Miami. Converted to defensive lineman while there, Sapp would win the Bronko Nagurski Trophy (best defensive player), the Rotary Lombardi Award (best lineman or linebacker) and the Bill Willis Award (best defensive lineman) all in 1994. He was also named to many All-American teams.

Awards and honorsEdit

  • Second-team All-American (1993)
  • 2× First-team All-Big East (1993–1994)
  • Consensus First-team All-American (1994)
  • Lombardi Award (1994)
  • Bronko Nagurski Trophy (1994)
  • Bill Willis Award (1994)
  • Outland Trophy finalist (1994)
  • Big East Defensive Player of the Year (1994)
  • Defensive Player of the Year by Football Writers Association of America

NFL careerEdit

Tampa Bay BuccaneersEdit

After playing college football at the University of Miami, where he was a defensive standout, Sapp was drafted into the NFL by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the first round of the 1995 draft (12th pick overall). Sapp ran the fastest defensive tackle forty time, recording a 4.69 time. Upon joining Tampa Bay, Sapp was almost immediately given the starting job at the position of right defensive tackle and finished his rookie season with 27 tackles and one interception. Sapp continued to be a prolific, intimidating tackler for the Buccaneers, tallying 51 tackles and nine sacks in 1996 and 58 tackles and 10.5 sacks in 1997. In 1997, Sapp was named to his first Pro Bowl. It was the first of seven straight selections. Sapp was named 1999 NFL Defensive Player of the year.

Super Bowl XXXVIIEdit

In 2002, Sapp helped lead a resurgent Tampa Bay team to victory in Super Bowl XXXVII over the Oakland Raiders. Sapp had five tackles and two sacks during the 2002-2003 postseason.

Oakland RaidersEdit

In 2004, it was reported that Sapp was interested in accepting a contract offer from the Cincinnati Bengals for four years worth US $16 million. However, on March 20, he announced that he had agreed to terms on a seven-year, $36.6 million contract with the Raiders.

Sapp started all 16 games in his first season in Oakland, splitting time at defensive end as well as defensive tackle. Sapp recorded 30 tackles (18 solo), 2.5 sacks and recovered two fumbles.[3] Warren lost an estimated 20 pounds before joining the Raiders in 2004. Sapp's 2005 season started out as a great year for Sapp, as he was moved back to his familiar DT position. He started the first ten games of the season recording 29 tackles (26 of them solo), and finished second on the team to Derrick Burgess with five sacks.[3] Sapp was sidelined for the last six games of '05 with a shoulder injury

Sapp returned to his All-Pro form in 2006. Sapp and the Raider defense were one of very few bright spots for the 2006 Raiders. Sapp had 10 sacks to go along with 32 tackles (16 solo) and one forced fumble. Before the 2007 season, he lost 49 pounds. He finished the 2007 season with 37 tackles (24 solo), 2 sacks, and 2 forced fumbles.

RetirementEdit

On January 3, 2008, Sapp told Raiders owner Al Davis over the phone that he would retire. The next day, January 4, 2008, Sapp confirmed it on his website qbkilla.com in just two words: "I'M DONE!"[4] The retirement became official on March 4, 2008.[5]

He is currently a member of NFL Network. He debuted talking about Brett Favre being traded to the New York Jets.

On August 19, 2008, Sapp was hired as a studio analyst for Inside the NFL on Showtime.

Sapp came in 2nd place on Season 7 of Dancing With The Stars. He was paired with professional dancer Kym Johnson. He was one of the roasters in the Comedy Central Roast of Larry The Cable Guy.

ControversiesEdit

Mike Sherman confrontationEdit

On November 24, 2002, at Raymond James Stadium, Sapp drew criticism for blocking the Green Bay Packers' Chad Clifton during an interception return by the Buccaneers. Clifton was jogging down field, away from the main action, and was blindsided by Sapp.[6] The hit sent Clifton to the hospital. He was hospitalized for almost a week and could not walk unaided for five more weeks. In 2005, the NFL Competition Committee agreed on new guidelines for "unnecessary roughness", making hits such as that suffered by Clifton illegal.

Packers' coach Mike Sherman approached Sapp and said to him "You're a chicken shit."[7] In response, Sapp screamed at Sherman: "If you think you're so tough, why don't you put on a jersey?"[6] Sapp later called Sherman: "a lying, shit-eating hound. ... If I was 25 years old and didn't have a kid and a conscience, I would have given him an ass-kicking right there at the 30-yard line."[6] Sherman later said of Sapp: "The joviality that existed after [the hit] when a guy's lying on the ground, with numbness in his legs and fingers, I just thought that wasn't appropriate for any NFL player."[7]

The skipping incidentsEdit

During pre-game warm-ups of a December 23, 2002 Monday Night Football game at Raymond James Stadium, Warren skipped through the Pittsburgh Steelers. Steelers running back Jerome Bettis shoved Sapp, and this was followed by a heated argument between the two teams. Sapp was not fined for the incident, but it added to his controversial image. Sapp felt that he was made an example by the NFL by being fined for that first skipping incident. "That's all this is about," said Sapp. "In my nine years in this league, no one's been fined for verbally abusing officials. It's unprecedented."[8] The Buccaneers had been earlier ridiculed by Steelers' Lee Flowers as being "paper champions." Despite losing to the Steelers in that game, Sapp and the Buccaneers went on to win Super Bowl XXXVII five weeks later.

In 2003, during an October 6 Monday Night Football game against the Indianapolis Colts, Sapp was scolded for skipping through and disrupting the Colts players, who were spread out on the field, stretching during pre-game warmups. There was much anticipation and national interest going into the game, which was the return of former head coach Tony Dungy to Tampa. The Colts wound up erasing a 21-point deficit in the final four minutes, and defeated the Buccaneers 38-35 in overtime, initiating a downslide for the defending champions.

A week later, on October 12, 2003, prior to the game against the Washington Redskins, Sapp was running onto the field when he bumped into an NFL referee. The incident drew a fine of $50,000. Sapp's response to the fine: "It's a slave system. Make no mistake about it. Slave master say you can't do it, don't do it. They'll make an example out of you."[9]

Ejection for unsportsmanlike conductEdit

On December 23, 2007, Sapp was involved in an altercation with NFL referees near the end of the second quarter of the Raiders' game at Jacksonville.[10]

The incident began when linesman Jerry Bergman mistakenly assumed that the Raiders wished to decline a Jacksonville 10-yard penalty. Sapp, the defensive captain, began speaking with referee Jerome Boger, indicating that the Raiders instead wished to accept the penalty. The conversation became heated, with Sapp gesturing and swearing. This resulted in an unsportsmanlike conduct call by Boger against Sapp. Sapp and his defensive teammates continued interacting with the officials after the penalty was called, resulting in a second unsportsmanlike conduct penalty against Sapp and another unsportsmanlike conduct penalty assessed against teammate Derrick Burgess. Finally, the coaches and officiating staff entered the field and began physically separating and removing the arguing players. Boger claimed that during this time Sapp "bumped" him; Sapp denies making physical contact. Regardless, at this point Boger levied a third unsportsmanlike conduct penalty against Sapp and ejected him from the game. Sapp did not play in the second half and was eventually fined $75,000 by the NFL; Burgess received a $25,000 fine.[11]

Domestic Battery ChargesEdit

On February 7, 2010 Sapp was arrested in South Florida and charged with domestic battery. Sapp was in Florida to appear as an analyst for the NFL Network's coverage of Super Bowl XLIV, but following the arrest an NFL Network spokesman said Sapp would not appear.[12] On March 24, the charges against Sapp were dropped.

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