The Best Buccaneer… Warrick Dunn?

July 24th, 2011

Since the Bucs initiated the Ring of Honor, a lot of fans have been debating who the greatest Bucs player is.

Some say Lee Roy Selmon, and Joe would have no argument there. He made the Hall of Fame as a defensive end playing in a three-man front of all things.

Others suggest the best Buccaneer of all time is Derrick Brooks, and Joe would have a difficult time arguing that as well. Brooks was a groundbreaking linebacker in a many ways and he was on NFL Network’s top 100 players of all time (so was Selmon).

But Joe would have a difficult time suggesting running back Warrick Dunn would be the greatest Bucs player of all time, but that seems to be what seems to suggest. In a poll asking Bucs fans to pick the greatest player in franchise history, it lists Dunn among the candidates.

The Bucs’ dominance of the late 1990s and early 2000s was not solely because of defense. Teaming with fullback Mike Alstott, the diminutive Dunn was the speed in one of the NFL’s best backfields in the late ’90s. He is third on the team’s career rushing yards list and also third all-time in receptions for the Bucs. But Dunn’s impact went beyond the stat sheet. Forced to be the family provider at age 18 after his mother’s murder, Dunn brought his sense of loyalty and duty to the Bucs’ locker room and the Tampa Bay community, becoming a favored son of the community (having played college at Florida State). His greatness both on the field and in the community led him to win the Offensive Rookie of the Year and Walter Payton Man of the Year awards.

If Joe was going to pick the best human being of any Bucs player, Dunn may just run away with the vote. Just the work and money and time he has devoted to the Tampa Bay area helping single-moms and their families is damned near enough for the Pope to begin the process for nominating Dunn as a saint.

As good of a running back as Dunn was, Joe would have a very difficult time placing him on a higher rung than Selmon or Brooks.

33 Responses to “The Best Buccaneer… Warrick Dunn?”

  1. Dean Says:

    Great guy, but he was a Falcon too! No falcons in the ring!

  2. McBuc Says:

    I agree 100% Joe. Selmon and Brooks are the best, but I would add Sapp into the mix as well. Dunn was great, but not on the same level as the three mentioned. Dunn should one day be in the ring though…Falcon or not…

  3. Snook Says:

    No thanks to Dunn. Traitor.

  4. Mauha Deeb Says:

    He isn’t even the best RB we’ve had.
    I don’t understand why his personal life plays any part of this discussion. If that is the case, the Glazers should be the franchise’s best player for all their charity work.
    Judge a player by his actions on the field. Judge a man by his actions off of it.

  5. RIs_Buc Says:

    We’ve got some players on the current squad that love giving back, Hayward in particular comes to mind. But Dunn – that was a special guy…

    its okay to comment on fluff…
    not every player story has to be a scandal.

  6. Mr. Lucky Says:

    Best Buc humantarian but best PLAYER?

    Come on man….Just say no….

  7. grasshopp427er Says:

    Warren Sapp

  8. the_buc_realist Says:

    If we are judging players by off-field accomplishments then were is Ryan Nice? But seriously,

    Love him or hate him, Warren Sapp was the best player in Buc Uniform period.

  9. CreamsicleBananaHammock Says:

    Add me to the Sapp crowd. Not only the best football player, but it was him more than anybody else that changed the mentality of the entire organization from doormats to champions.

  10. Pete Dutcher Says:

    Dunn blew it. He left. Period.

    My money is on Brooks. Then Alstott.

    But since this post has RB content…

    …if the saints let Reggie Bush go, what are the chances the Bucs get him? How would he help us?

  11. Mcnabb to Barber for 6 Says:


  12. RastaMon Says:


  13. Captain Stagger Says:

    If you haven’t included Kenyata Walker in this discussion you are delusional!

  14. Rick Says:

    No buc has ever played better than warren sapp

    Also, didn’t dunn stand on the atlanta sideline last season and was even wearing falcons gear. I am an FSU grad and love dunn, but he is not the best buc of all time.

  15. Oahubuc Says:

    Best human being? Yes, by a long shot.

    Best offensive player: Dude, James Wilder, period. If you think otherwise, you didn’t see.

    Best defensive player: Hmmmm. Pass.

  16. David Says:

    James Wilder was a better Buc.

  17. BigMacAttack Says:

    In a few more years the conversation may shift to the “Beast”, Josh Freeman.

  18. Espo Says:

    Warren Sapp set the bar for his position and was an outstanding leader on this team. I don’t fault him for his mouth. He brought character and national (some might argue world) recognition to this team.

    Even with the best defensive ends in the game, a QB can always step up into the pocket to buy a couple extra seconds. Do you know what its like to not have a pocket to step into? Sapp made the entire D line better and in turn, the rest of the defense, the rest of the team. We only have 1 Super Bowl Championship and it started with that man.

  19. Nnamdi Asomugha Says:

    I really loved it when they brought Dunn back in 2008. He was pretty good that year as a 2nd stringer for a while.

  20. Matt B Says:

    I’m impressed with those bringing James Wilder into the conversation. I was puzzled as to why the media never brought his name up when speculating about the next ring of honor. The guy was the entire offensive production on some really bad teams so it’s good to see him get some love here. Defenses must have had one objective and that was to stop him yet he still put up big numbers.

    If wants to count off-the-field stuff, then I hope Sapp is not on the list. Sure, he did and still does some charity work but the guy is probably the biggest jerk, off the field, who ever played the game. He puts on a show when TV cameras are around but it’s all a phoney act. I’ve heard many stories, seen it and experienced it myself. Maybe in part with my bias in this regard, I would say Brooks as Greatest Buc Ever, edging out Selmon.

  21. JBUC Says:

    Brooks, Sapp, Alstott (My personal favorite). Someone hit it right on….Dunn was probably the best character guy, but I would barely rank him inside the top 10 for on the field productivity.

  22. Mr. Lucky Says:

    What about the unsung hero, Paul Gruber? O-linemen just don’t get the love they deserve.

  23. Robert Hertig Says:

    I’m still pissed Eric Rett did his stupid hold out. Dunn would have hardly seen the field. Dunn was a great runner once he got in the open but I still remember Linemen snagging him with their pinky finger and throwing him down.

  24. bucyea Says:

    C’mon Joe…dunn didn’t have near the impact of Sapp. Brooks. Rice and Lynch in our run of successful years…heck, i’d even throw Quarles and Barber and Alstot had a bigger impact than dunn. maybe even keshawn and McCardel, and Brad Johnson, hell, why not throw in donnie abraham. Dexter Jackson was a huge contributor, as well. Yea, if we’re voting “man of the “off-field” year” then Ok, but on the field, I dont think so.

  25. bucyea Says:

    i cant leave off hardy Nic as a guy who was more important than dunn, IMHO

  26. Vic Says:

    Wake me up when the season starts in a couple of days. Dunn wasn’t even on the Super Bowl team. Please. FoxSports never should have put him in the conversation.

  27. TopDoggie Says:

    @ Mr. Lucky I agree Grubber needs to be in.

  28. Gringo Dave Says:

    If character has anything to do with it, Brooks or Lynch would never get on the ring. Your teenage daughters were never safe with them around. Dunn just wasn’t as good as we all wanted him to be. If Doug Williams is not on the ring, then we shouldn’t have a ring of honor.

  29. fanofkit Says:

    How has Alstott’s name not appeared? Certainly not the greatest Buc interms of production, but certainy one of if not THE most beloved. As far as Dunn- he is certainly a fine human and a great man, but Selmon takes a back seat to no one in that arena. Not only is Dunn not the “greatest Buc”, I don’t think he belongs in the conversation. Sapp maybe, Selmon (my choice) perhaps, Nickerson a dark horse and largely forgotten but worthy, Wilder at least deserves consideration, Brooks clearly in the running- but Dunn???? No way. To go a steap further, he doesn’t belong in the Ring of Honor… just my opinion…

  30. Joe Says:


    C’mon Joe…dunn didn’t have near the impact of Sapp. Brooks.

    Joe didn’t pick the selections, did.

  31. Brandon Says:

    Dunn was never great… he was good for a few years, he was a threat, but there were far too many years where he wasn’t even average. He constantly tried bouncing everything outside when he was with the Bucs the first time around and it wasn’t until he went to the Falcons that he was actually a very good RB.

    In terms of greatest RUNNING BACKS of all-time, Dunn MIGHT be in the top 3… but he’s nowhere close to James Wilder. Ricky Bell, Mike Alstott, Errict Rhett, LaGarrette Blount…the remaining names were not exactly hall-of-famers, but all had their moments and a few seasons of good play. Dunn’s best play came as a Falcon, he was average as a Buccaneer.

  32. Apple Roof Cleaning Says:

    I agree, Sapp was the best Tampa player, ever.

  33. Nicholas Carlson Says:

    Warren Sapp might be one of the best NFL players of all time. 18 sacks from a DT? unfair! Definitely the best Buc ever.