It’s not shocking to think that Warren Sapp could have helped the Oakland Raiders more than he did in the time he spent wearing the silver and black.
Yet, by the time he landed in the Bay Area in 2004, the QB killer was nearly spent.
The notion that all great players will inevitably end their careers wearing the bad boy colors of silver and black, might have factored into Sapp’s decision to sign a seven-year, $36 million deal with the Raiders in March of 2004. Certainly Jerry Rice found the Fountain of Youth in Alameda, so why couldn't the same happen to the happy-go-lucky Sapp?
It did, however, turn out to be quite a miscalculation on the part of Al Davis. Something the Raiders have been much better about in recent years. Not withstanding the Javon Walker and DeAngelo Hall fiascoes.
Yes,there were times when the loud-mouth, nimble-footed Sapp displayed flashes of his old brilliance (team-high 10 sacks in 2006), but for the most part, it was a disappointing end to a Canton-worthy career.
Sapp, the Bucs No. 2 all-time sack leader (trailing only Hall of Famer Lee Roy Selmon's 78 sacks) could never live up to his moniker as a sack master while in Oakland. The former Bucs pass-rusher extraordinaire, recorded double-digit sacks three different times under Tony Dungy, to successfully back up his big yapper with play to match.
In four up-and-down seasons with the Raiders, Sapp played in 58 games, recorded 19.5 sacks and had 128 solo tackles with four forced fumbles. Yet, 99 could never put the Raiders on his back and carry the team to the postseason or even a winning season.
So what’s the final verdict here: Is Sapp an overrated blabber mouth or did he just run out of gas with a bad team?
He certainly didn’t have the supporting cast of a Derrick Brooks or John Lynch to rely on. No, he played with the likes of Phillip Buchanon, Jerry Porter, Aaron Brooks and LaMont Jordan. Not exactly Hall of Fame material.
This brings us to 11-year veteran Richard Seymour. The biggest question mark regarding Seymour is his health and productivity. Just how much is left and can he take the Raiders back to the glory days?
If you’re Bill Belichick, the answer is no. Seymour was too expensive and too risky for the Pats to keep around.
For nine seasons in New England, Seymour was a force in the trenches. The former Georgia Bulldog could bull-rush from the inside or strike on the edge. He played a 111 regular season games as a Patriot and sacked the quarterback 39 times.
Not gaudy stats by any means, but the six-time Pro Bowler was the linchpin to a defense that helped lead New England to three Super Bowl titles and sparked a Patriots dynasty. He even played in the “Tuck Game” as a rookie.
Armed with a new two-year deal from Davis ($22 million of which is guaranteed); Seymour has far exceeded Sapp in the leadership category and has the respect of his teammates as well. As far as the play on the field is concerned, Seymour and Sapp are about even statistically through their first two seasons in Oakland.
The ex-Patriot is slightly ahead in sacks (9.5) and tackles, but he’s got a Pro Bowl to his name, which is something Sapp never achieved as a Raider.
The question moving forward is simple: Can Seymour take this team to greater heights or will he begin to fade like Sapp did?