It’s Not About The Number

*Opinion Editorial*
News within the Bucs community has a bad habit of becoming more than it really is, really quickly. Yesterday, former Buccaneers defensive tackle Gerald McCoy went on FS1’s Undisputed to discuss the Buccaneers and specifically, the way things ended in Tampa Bay. The hot takes are flying and it seems McCoy is somehow distancing himself from a fan base who never really appreciated him all that much anyways. Crazy how he somehow managed to make it worse, right? I gave my perspective on the situation before he was released, if you haven’t seen it, I suggest you check it out before reading this one. It can be found here.
With that as a baseline, let’s dive in.

On Why He Chose Carolina

This might be crazy, but put yourself in his shoes. A married man with five kids and a wife. McCoy was looking for two things: A team that was focused on winning and a team that he felt at home around. He spent his career mentoring, growing and working on young guys in Tampa Bay. Now it was his time to try to win.
Of the suitors known (Browns, Ravens and Carolina), Carolina is the place most ready to contend. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think they are Super Bowl contenders, but the Ravens and Browns don’t offer anything the Panthers don’t.
Like it or not, the Panthers have a proven head coach, a veteran quarterback and veteran players on the defensive side of the ball. As much as people want to claim hypocrisy on the part of Mccoy, why is it that some people said it was a “business decision” to let him go, but seeing him sign with Carolina was personal? Of course McCoy knows full well that the Panthers play Tampa Bay twice a year, but outside of that, the other reasons for signing there are valid too.

On Giving His Number To Ndamukong Suh

The issue wasn’t the number with McCoy, it was the disrespect from the organization. Players have come and gone from Tampa Bay in McCoy’s stint with the Bucs. If you read the other article I posted, you know he has been through coaches, coordinators and teammates often. McCoy’s  frustration came when the organization not only hardly talked to him, but then proceeded to act as if he didn’t exist the moment he walked away from Tampa Bay.
I get it, it’s business right? Yet maybe it’s only business until he signs with a division rival then it suddenly becomes personal. Isn’t it a bit funny that a few weeks ago, people were upset at the mere thought that Devin White was going to ask for the number 40? Mike Alstott had the same amount of Pro Bowl appearances as McCoy did. McCoy is ranked third all time for Buccaneers sack leaders and Alstott is ranked 2nd all time in Bucs rushing history.
What’s the difference?  Pretty simple. One was a fan favorite, the other, for some reason far beyond my comprehension, was not. The number doesn’t matter, but it represents the disrespect the organization had towards McCoy as his career came to an end in Tampa Bay.

On Not Talking To Anyone Besides Bruce Arians

Why would no one in the organization pick up the phone and make a simple call? What makes McCoy’s request to be recognized as the pillar of a losing team, unreasonable? Instead of a simple phone call, the organization chose to allow people to draw their own conclusions from the situation. Wild conclusions were drawn and suddenly everyone was convinced of what they wanted to believe. One phone call, or response to a question could’ve settled it quickly.

Instead, the answers to reporters questions suggested he might not love football. If you were McCoy, isn’t that a bit frustrating? It became clear quickly that McCoy was not part of the teams plan in the future. That’s fine, but why did they hold onto him so long?

The organization made a mess of a relatively easy thing to do. If he’s not a part of the plans, cut him and move on. The fans have been saying for awhile now “move on” from the McCoy talk. The organization themselves didn’t “move on” and now we sit here discussing the repercussions of exactly that. If you want to blame someone for not “moving on” blame the team.

In the end, McCoy didn’t make more fans after his appearance on FS1’s Undisputed, but in my opinion, he didn’t say anything wrong or anything we didn’t already know. The overall consensus seems to be he was average as a defensive tackle because “he didn’t make the playoffs.” Or my personal favorite, “he wasn’t clutch.”

Because everyone knows when you speak on the subject of defensive tackles, you use the word “clutch” often. The fact of the matter is, he was a great player on a bad team that has been poorly run for long time. During his time in Tampa Bay, McCoy conducted himself with dignity, worked hard and did and said all the right things on and off the field.

Say what you will about McCoy, but there is nothing wrong with a player finally speaking out against some of the slander he has received during the entirety of his career in Tampa Bay. Frankly, it’s appalling that the fan base treated him the way they did his entire career, but it’s not surprising that it continues even when he’s gone.

Gerald McCoy will never get the respect he has earned during his time in Tampa Bay. In case you couldn’t tell, he’s definitely bothered by that fact. Wouldn’t you be?