YaYa Diaby Thanks Shaq Barrett

July 1st, 2024

Lasting impact.

The Bucs sort of have a new Hall of Fame player. That’s edge rusher YaYa Diaby, who was recognized by the Senior Bowl during their Hall of Fame festivities as co-rookie of the year for 2023.

Rams receiver Puka Nacua was named Senior Bowl NFL rookie of the year on offense, and Diaby and Rams outside linebacker Byron Young shared the honor on defense. 

Joe loves how none of those guys were a first- or second-round pick.

Diaby led all rookies with tackles for loss and had 7 1/2 sacks.

Speaking to SiriusXM NFL Radio at the Senior Bowl ceremonies over the weekend, Diaby said he played as an inside and an outside rusher at the 2023 Senior Bowl, which was experience that helped him a lot in Tampa. But Diaby reserved his greatest gratitude for departed Bucs sacks king Shaq Barrett.

Diaby said Shaq guided him with class and compassion.

“For Shaq, it was like, ‘Ok, they’re bringing in the young guy to try to replace me.’ But he didn’t look at it that way. He was like, ‘Ok, he’s a young guy, he really wants to be here and he’s hungry. So I’m going to show him the way,” Diaby said.

“And he really helped me out a lot, tried to ease my mind because, you know, me being a rookie and being Coach Todd Bowles’ defense, it’s hard. … He really eased my mind, just helped me out a lot throughout the process.”

Heartwarming share there by Diaby. And it made Joe wonder with Shaq gone, who will mentor the next rookie Bucs edge rusher, second-round pick Chris Braswell?

14 Responses to “YaYa Diaby Thanks Shaq Barrett”

  1. Mort Says:

    Anthony Nelson, and YaYa had a bunch of things he can now pass forward. This is the least of my worries. Much more concerned with depth at outside corner. We don’t have any.

  2. unbelievable Says:

    This is what I’ve been saying all along about Shaq leave: We now have zero veteran leadership for our OLBs. No one in the room to each the young guys the tricks of the trade, so to speak.

    Obviously Shaq’s salary wasn’t worth his production, but I do wish they had gotten someone else who could provide that leadership and perspective.

    And no, Randy Gregory ain’t it.

  3. unbelievable Says:

    OLB & CB

  4. unbelievable Says:

    ^ are the biggest positions of uncertainty this year @Mort

  5. Buc4evr Says:

    Gregory will be gone, besides that bum couldn’t mentor anyone. Bucs need to trade for a decent vet DE or OLB.

  6. westernbuc Says:

    I think if we had Puka Nacua last year, Bucs fans would be ecstatic. The fact that we drafted his senior bowl defensive counterpart is something to think about.

  7. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    TBBF also thanks Shaq……thanks for being a great Buc and a great person…..always positive & supporting the team.

  8. All_da_way Says:

    I will not be surprised if a younger player steps up and brings the same production Shaq had last year opposite of Diaby but with more juice.

    It was time to move on.

  9. SlyPirate Says:

    If you know your Shaq Barrett history, you know Shaq was an UDFA for Denver. Von Miller dug Shaq and took him under his wing. Von transformed Shaq into the stud pass rusher signed by the Bucs.

    A vet selflessly invested in Shaq and changed his life forever. Shaq knows his roots and is now paying it forward. Super cool stuff. You’re seeing it now with Suh and Vea.

    Thank you, Von Miller.

  10. Bucs Fan From Philly Says:

    Coaches get paid so at some point they need to develop these young guys

  11. heyjude Says:

    YaYa is a stand-up guy. Can’t wait to watch him grow this season. He will.

    unbelievable and others are right on point too.

    Shaq is praiseworthy for helping YaYa and others. He is a great guy. So glad he got a landing spot in Miami. Coach McDonald will take him under his wing. He is a kind coach too. This was actually a great fit for Shaq to go to. And we will see him again during preseason when we play Miami. Can’t wait.

    Bowles and Licht both said it was a tough decision releasing Shaq, a very hard phone call to make. They said “Shaq was one of the best human beings you ever met.”

    Shaq lost a child and still went to work on the field. That took so much strength to do. His mindset and grief had to be all over the place. Losing a child is something you never get over. However, a change of being in a new football environment may help him with the healing process.

    I wish the best for Shaq and his family. Can’t wait to see what happens when the Bucs all meet up with him on the field again.

  12. StuPadaso Says:


    you nailed it. Well said.

    Best to Shaq.

  13. heyjude Says:

    Thank you, StuPadaso.

  14. garro Says:

    Even more convinced that Shaq is a class act. Absolutely hate that he is in Miami now.

    Go Bucs!