Shutdown Corner

Warren Sapp claims Bill Belichick was very, very excited to draft him in 1995

MJD
Shutdown Corner

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AP

Warren Sapp's new book, Sapp Attack, hit stores Tuesday. Some reviewers like it; some don't, but it can't surprise anyone that Sapp has some stories to tell.

In promoting the book on Tuesday, Sapp stopped in at ESPN Radio and relayed an amusing/disturbing comment Bill Belichick made to him before Sapp's 1995 draft. Belichick was the head coach of the Cleveland Browns at the time. Here's Sapp, from the "Scott Van Pelt Show," talking about the physical condition he inspired in Belichick:

"He's like, 'I just wanna tell you this before I go.' He said, 'I want to draft you so bad that I have an erection right now.' I'm like, 'Are you kidding me?' He said, 'But Mike Lombardi will not let me draft you'."

Lombardi got his way, evidently, as the Browns traded away the 10th pick of the draft, where they could've taken Sapp if they'd stayed put. Instead, they sent the pick to San Francisco (which used it on JJ Stokes), and moved down to 30th in the first round. Two picks later, the Buccaneers drafted Sapp and left Belichick with no satisfaction.

It's easy to kill Lombardi for passing on Sapp now, but he certainly wasn't the only one who felt that way. Rumors of a failed cocaine test submarined Sapp's stock just hours before the draft ‒ he talked about that Tuesday with Howard Stern.

The rumors turned out not to be true, but they scared a lot of teams away; not just the Browns. Before the rumors, Sapp was thought to be a top-five pick, easily. Eleven teams passed on him, though, including the Vikings, who felt that Derrick Alexander could better fill their need at defensive tackle.

Sapp, of course, went on to have the kind of career that warranted a book deal when it was over. He was a Pro Bowler seven times, an All-Pro six, and won a Super Bowl with the Bucs in 2003. Belichick, meanwhile, was fired by the Browns after the 1995 season, in which he went 5-11. Lombardi only lasted until 1996.

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