Gerald McCoy Would 'Love' to Return to Buccaneers After Panthers, Cowboys Stints

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured ColumnistMarch 8, 2021

Carolina Panthers defensive tackle Gerald McCoy (93) holds a penalty flag, during the second half at an NFL football game against the New Orleans Saints, Sunday, Nov. 24, 2019, in New Orleans. (AP Photo/Bill Feig)
Bill Feig/Associated Press

Veteran defensive tackle Gerald McCoy said on Sirius XM NFL Radio Monday that he would love to reunite with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as a free agent this offseason:

SiriusXM NFL Radio @SiriusXMNFL

"I would love to go back to Tampa." Free Agent DT @Geraldini93 on his recovery from the injury last year and how he would embrace a return to the @Buccaneers. #Buccaneers | @MarkdominikNFL | @BillLekas https://t.co/9SllelKB6O

"I would love to go back to Tampa," McCoy said. "A lot of people, they kind of misunderstood what took place between me and Tampa. And they think it was, 'Well, he left.' Or, 'Tampa released him.' Nah, it just—there was more to it than that. All the issues, or whatever I had with Tampa, we worked out last season, when I was with Carolina. Let me kill this narrative right now: I did not go to the Carolina Panthers to get back at Tampa." 

McCoy, 33, spent the first nine seasons of his career with the Bucs, registering 54.5 sacks in that time as one of the league's best interior lineman. He was a six-time Pro Bowler and a first-team All-Pro selection in 2013. 

The Bucs released him after the 2019 season, initially putting him on the trade market in an effort to move his large salary. The end appeared nigh when head coach Bruce Arians said McCoy wasn't as disruptive up the middle as he had been in his younger years. When a deal didn't materialize he was cut and signed a one-year deal with the Panthers.

He posted 37 tackles (seven for loss), five sacks and 13 quarterback hits for Carolina. 

Ahead of the 2020 season McCoy signed with the Dallas Cowboys, though he ruptured his quad in August and missed the entire campaign.

McCoy said in 2019 that one of the issues he had with the Bucs before his release was that when Arians was hired, he didn't have much contact with him or the new coaching staff. 

"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 at the time. "Nobody called my phone. I didn't speak to my [defensive] line coach, I didn't speak to [defensive coordinator] Todd Bowles, I didn't speak to anybody. I didn't speak to [general manager] Jason Licht. I spoke to nobody."

But based on McCoy's comments Monday, that's all water under the bridge.

"I still have a home there, and I've always loved Tampa," he said. "I grew up in Tampa Bay as a kid. I was blessed enough to be drafted there. And I've always wanted to experience winning in Tampa. So it'd be great to be there."