Warren Sapp and Aaron Rodgers don’t appear to have a whole lot in common. Other than the fact they both had successful careers in the NHL, the similarities appear to stop there. Sapp, a defensive standout for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, thinks otherwise. Recently, the 2013 Hall-of-Fame inductee claimed he was “the first Aaron Rodgers.”
Warren Sapp was a terror on defense
Warren Sapp’s 1994 season at the University of Miami has to rank right up there as one of the best ever. Sapp was a unanimous All-American and brought home the Bronko Nagurski Award for the nation’s top defensive player. He also won the Lombardi Award for the best defensive lineman or linebacker. Sapp was also a finalist for the Heisman award.
Sapp was a first-round pick in the 1995 NFL draft, selected 12th overall by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. In his third season in the NFL, Sapp recorded his first double-digit sack season, collecting 10.5 in 1997. He also added three forced fumbles and a fumble recovery. Sapp made the first of his seven straight Pro Bowls that year.
In 1999, Sapp was named the NFL’s Defensive Player of the Year.
Sapp was hoping to play for the Jacksonville Jaguars
One a recent episode of Club Shay Shay, a podcast hosted by Shannon Sharpe, Warren Sapp was asked if he thought he would be the No. 1 pick in the 1995 NFL draft after having such a big season at Miami. “Two. Jacksonville,” Sapp said. “I wanted to go to Jacksonville. I’d be in the state of Florida. Get a chance to play in front of my home state. You want to be home.”
Ki-Jana Carter, a running back out of Penn State, was taken first by the Cincinnati Bengals. Sapp then thought he’d be next. Instead, Jaguars selected offensive lineman Tony Boselli. Quarterback Steve McNair went third to the Tennessee Oilers.
“I looked at the list,” Sapp said. “OK, Ki-Jana Carter had 1,800 yards. Boselli was a big, bad boy over there at USC. Air McNair ran and threw the ball all over the world so I can’t complain with that. Four was Michael Westbrook. That was the mistake by the Washington Football Team. We won’t call them what they was at the time.”
Sapp: ‘I was the first Aaron Rodgers’
Shannon Sharpe and Warren Sapp were recently talking about the 1995 NFL draft on the podcast Club Shay Shay. Sapp said he was hoping to play in Jacksonville and thought he might be the second pick. Sharpe asked him what he felt like when he was at home getting passed up by the Jaguars and then watching a run on defensive ends, including Kevin Carter, Mike Mamula, and Derrick Alexander.
“No, no,” Sapp interjected. “I’m at the draft. I’m in the draft room. I was the first Aaron Rodgers, buddy. Two hours and 45 minutes, baby. They did the boy wrong. I leaned over to my mother and said, ‘ma, they can take all the receivers, tight ends, and whatever they want. But if they take one defensive tackle, we gonna get up and we walking outta here.'”
The Rodgers comment was in reference to Rodgers slipping all the way to No. 24 in the 2005 NFL draft. Many people suspected he could’ve been the top pick. Sapp had the last laugh as he did get to remain in his home state as the Buccaneers took him at No. 12. He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2013.