Gerald McCoy said that after the Buccaneers released him and he landed with the Carolina Panthers, he would “never say anything bad about Tampa.” But the former All-Pro defensive tackle is obviously disappointed with how his time in Tampa Bay has come to an end.
Appearing on Fox Sports 1, McCoy offended the squad instantly handing over his No. 93 jersey to Ndamukong Suh, who the Bucs signed a one-year agreement after reducing McCoy.
“As far as signing him, when you let a player of my caliber go, organisations have to do what they have to do, so I know that,” McCoy said. “But as far as giving away my number, they have a ring of honor in the history of the Bucs, and all of the organization’s biggest players generally get their numbers retired.”
McCoy pointed out how the franchise treated other former Bucs greats and considered himself to be one of that group.
“When [ Warren ] Sapp left, John Lynch, [ Derek Brooks ], Lee Roy Selmon, Ronde Barber, when all these boys left, no one wore their number,” McCoy said. “They didn’t offer away their number, and it was a sign of regard. Well, six Pro Bowls, four All-Pro, this is Tampa Bay, and I’m one of the greatest players I’ve ever played in the organisation. Usually I’m not going to say it, but I’m going to say it, so what. It kind of demonstrates respect, and I believe it does, how they feel about me.
McCoy added: “Giving them the amount is their prerogative, but the regard they showed. It would be different if it were a man who signed four or five years. This is a one year agreement … I mean, maybe it’s just a number, but it’s larger than that. It’s respect, and that was a big part of the separation between me and Tampa, period, was the respect they showed me all offseason, it wasn’t there.
McCoy also said that coach Bruce Arians was the only coach or front office person who ever reached out to him outside the building, underlining in his mind the lack of respect he believes he deserves.
“I spoke to more individuals in Baltimore’s, Cleveland’s and Carolina’s employees than I spoke all offseason to the Bucs, and that’s a reality,” he said.
With the Panthers hosting Tampa in Week 2, McCoy will not have to wait long to demonstrate his former squad that he is still worthy of respect.