June 19-- Gerald McCoy isn't holding back any longer.
The former longtime Buccaneers defensive tackle, who signed with the division rival Panthers earlier this month, has said little about his awkward and messy exit from Tampa Bay. During an appearance Wednesday on Fox Sports 1's Undisputed, however, he unloaded, revealing that he felt the Bucs didn't show him any respect this offseason. "They showed none," he told Skip Bayless and Shannon Sharpe.
McCoy took offense to the team allowing Ndamukong Suh, his replacement, to wear No. 93, the number McCoy wore during his nine seasons in Tampa Bay.
"As far as giving away my number, in the history of the Bucs, they have a Ring of Honor," he said. "All of the greatest players in the organization usually get their numbers retired. When (Warren) Sapp left-Sapp is one of a kind-John Lynch, Brooksie (Derrick Brooks), Lee Roy Selmon, Ronde Barber, when all these guys left, nobody wore their number. They didn't give their number away. It was a sign of respect.
"Well, six Pro Bowls, All Pro four times. This is Tampa Bay, and I'm one of the best players to ever play in the organization. I'm gonna say it. Usually, I wouldn't, but I'm gonna say it. So what? It kind of shows the respect and how they feel about me. I think it does. Them giving the number away, that's their prerogative. It'd be different if it was a guy who came in, he signed four or five years. This is a one-year deal, and you said because he caused a problem or he really asked for the number, we gave it to him? It might seem like it's just a number, but it's bigger than that. It's respect. And that was a bigger part of the separation between me and Tampa, period, was the respect they showed to me all offseason. It just wasn't there."
McCoy said that no one from the organization called him this offseason and that the most interaction he had with staff members was when he passed them in the halls of the team headquarters. He said that he spoke to more people in Baltimore, Cleveland and Carolina than in Tampa.
"The truth is I did not speak to any of the coaches besides Bruce Arians without running into them while I was in the building working out," he said. "Nobody called my phone. I didn't speak to my D-line coach. I didn't speak to Todd Bowles. I didn't speak to anybody. I didn't speak to Jason Licht. I spoke to nobody. And if I'm supposed to be one of the staples, have been one of the staples in this organization since I've been there ... It'd be different if they weren't calling other people, but they were calling other people. So, you mean to tell me you just can't pick up the phone?"
McCoy said he had no hard feelings toward the Bucs.
"But there comes a point in time where you have to show some respect, and I didn't feel like they showed me the respect that I deserved, that I earned," he said. "I'm not saying give me respect for something that I didn't earn. I earned that respect. Tampa hasn't been a winning team, and we all know it's hard to be considered a Pro Bowl, All Pro person on a losing team. And I did it six years straight. That's hard to do. For the respect I received after doing that? They showed none. And I don't know why."
Bayless asked him how much he was looking forward to playing against his former team.
"It's going to be fun."
The Bucs visit Carolina Sept. 12 and play them in London on Oct. 13.
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