March 06, 2008
seeing far fewer fond remembrances of Warren Sapp this week than I'm seeing of
Part of that is because Favre was so beloved, part of that is because Sapp's retirement's been known (but not official) for some time now, and part of that, I'm certain, is because Warren Sapp was considered by many to be a colossal ass.
I'll just tell you up front that you won't be getting a warm look back at Sapp's career from me. Here are the nicest things I can say about him:
• He was, once upon a time, an outstanding defensive tackle, and one of the greatest ever at the position.
• I admired the effort and leadership he provided the past couple of years in Oakland, insisting that the defense play with pride even though the Raiders themselves rarely had a chance to win, and were being openly pitied by opponents.
And that about covers it. As good as Sapp was for a short period of time, he was wildly overrated in the second half of his career. He built a reputation that lasted way longer than his status as an elite NFL player.
And I'll always maintain that Sapp's hit on Chad Clifton is about the cheapest thing any athlete could ever do. Yes, it was within the rules, but was also completely unnecessary, mean-spirited, and thoughtless. Sapp hospitalized a man, caused internal bleeding, and nearly ended a guy's career, for no other reason than he could. His offer to fight Green Bay head coach Mike Sherman afterwards didn't make him look any better, either.
I'm not the only one who wasn't a Sapp fan. Former Panthers defensive tackle Kris Jenkins found Sapp so likable that he turned to alcoholism.
“I hate him. Everybody says I’m supposed to be polite when I talk to you all, but I hate him,” Jenkins said. “He talks too much, he doesn’t make sense, he’s fat, he’s sloppy, he acts like he’s the best thing since sliced bread. He’s ugly, he stinks, his mouth stinks, his breath stinks, and basically his soul stinks, too.Warren Sapp, ladies and gentlemen. Great player, and not always tremendously well-liked.
“Not too many people have personalities like that and survive in life. I don’t know how he does it.”
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