Gerald McCoy: Reissuing No. 93 shows how Bucs feel about me

Josh Alper
ProFootball Talk on NBC Sports

After defensive tackle Gerald McCoy signed with the Panthers early this month, he said he would “never say anything bad” about the Buccaneers despite the fact that they released him this year.

McCoy might not be dishing dirt on the team left and right, but he isn’t entirely at peace with how things went down with the team. The Bucs signed Ndamukong Suh shortly after releasing McCoy and gave him No. 93, which McCoy wore for each of his nine seasons in Tampa.

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During an appearance on FOX Sports 1, McCoy said he understood the need to sign a player like Suh to fill the open spot on the defensive line. He took issue with giving No. 93 to a player on a one-year contract after the team held off on giving away the numbers of players like Warren Sapp, Ronde Barber, Lee Roy Selmon and John Lynch in the past.

“When all these guys left, they nobody wore their number,” McCoy said. “It was a sign of respect. I’m one of the best players to ever play in the organization. I’m gonna say it, usually I wouldn’t but so what. It kinda shows the respect and how they feel about me. I think it does. . . . It may seem like it’s just a number, but it’s bigger than that. It’s respect and that was a big part of the separation between me and Tampa. The respect they showed to me all offseason, it just wasn’t there.”

McCoy said he had no contact with anyone from the Bucs other than head coach Bruce Arians unless he ran into them at the team’s facility and also took issue with Arians going public with his uncertainty about how hard McCoy works rather than speaking to him about it personally. McCoy said the “silence speaks volumes” about how the team viewed him.

As you’d expect given those comments, McCoy said he’s looking forward to facing the Buccaneers during the 2019 season. He won’t have to wait long as his new team hosts his old one on Thursday night in Week Two.

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