Sapp has publicly displayed his disfavor of Jernigan wearing the number 99 in tribute to him. In good ‘ol Sapp fashion he now explains why he was upset. Apparently, Sapp had met the young defensive lineman through a mutual friend prior to him entering off and exchanged phone numbers. Sapp was willing to help the young man start out his NFL career. Sapp never received a call from the lineman, and since no discussion was made about a number or any advice given by Sapp, Sapp has found himself feeling used as only a namesake.
“I’m not just trying to hold up my standard. I’m only the fifth defensive tackle first ballot Hall of Famer in NFL history. The ones before me were Bob Lilly, Merlin Olsen, Mean Joe Greene and Randy White. I am in a company of five, so when you talk about me, you better bring the other four with me because that is the standard that I held myself to. Joe Cullen, the old D-line coach that was down in Tampa, is in Baltimore now, and I have already had four conversations with him about coming up to Baltimore.So how am I not going to have a conversation with the guy that wants to put a number on his back? That’s not my number. He put my name in it. And to put my name in it makes it personal to me.”
Sapp told Jernigan, “Go out and make a name for yourself for you. Don’t go and use a first ballot defensive tackle that you will now be judged against. Are you kidding me? Who signed up for that?”