Moore Moves On

Dave Moore wasn't the biggest, strongest or fastest recruit when he came to the University of Pittsburgh from Succasunna, N.J., but he parlayed a solid Panthers career into a 15-year NFL run that ended Thursday when he retired from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and moved into the team's broadcasting booth as a color analyst.

Dave Moore played four seasons at Pitt and was a seventh-round draft pick by the Miami Dolphins in 1992. He began his Panthers career as a fullback, but shifted to tight end as a sophomore and finished with 89 catches for 1,023 yards and five touchdowns. Moore is seventh on the school's all-time receptions list. He was a second-team All-Big East performer as a senior with a team-high 51 catches for 505 yards and one score.

"When Dave Moore came to Pitt, he wasn't a real high-profile guy, but ... there's been a lot of very good football players from Pitt who played in the NFL but never played 15-16 years like he did,'' Carolina Panthers defensive line coach Sal Sunseri said.

Sunseri, a former Pitt player as well, also was an assistant coach on Paul Hackett's staff during Moore's heyday at Pitt. And he was among those responsible for helping the Panthers go into New Jersey to secure Moore.

"We were able to go into anywhere we wanted to go,'' Sunseri said. "We got Tony Siragusa, the Woods brothers, a lot of good football players from New Jersey. Craig Heyward, Roman Matusz, I could go down the list. (But) there were Jersey kids all the way through our roster back then.''

Sunseri faced Moore's Bucs twice during each NFL season since Carolina and Tampa Bay both play in the NFC's South Division. Sunseri noted that Moore was versatile enough to move around the line, into the backfield and even split out on occasion. He also became a successful long-snapper, his main role with the Bucs, as well as being a backup tight end and fullback.

"He was very versatile,'' Sunseri said. "In this league, if you can multitask, you're able to survive. So, Dave was like having two or more positions in one guy. ... That's quite an accomplishment, to play in the NFL that long, he should be honored for having a heckuva career. He had a great run, but it was just his time to go now.''

However, Sunseri wasn't looking forward to Moore's encore performance in the NFL as a radio commentator because he would be in a position to critique the coach's work when Tampa Bay played Carolina. Moore, though, was excited about the move to the broadcasting booth.

"I wasn't a guy that could kind of show up and do it halfway,'' Moore said. "I was a guy who lived football, lived in the weight room, watched film, learned every little bit of the game that I could to keep me around for awhile. I never for a million years thought I would be in a position to say it's over.

"I thought for sure they would have tossed me out a long time ago. (But) I can still do what I love to do, and that's to be around football. It's been such a big part of my life. I love the game. The kind of player I've always been is that I have to pay attention to the details. The big, stronger guys can kind of get away with it, but I was always undersized.

"So, I had to be very good at technique and learning defenses and anticipating what was going on around me,'' Moore added. "Hopefully I can take that and be a guy that can give something to the people who are listening to it about the game and why things happen and what to look for.''

Sunseri is certain the two will remain in touch, at least when their respective NFL teams meet twice each season.

"All the Pitt alumni in the National Football League, whether it's coaches or players, we find one another right after each game because there's such a strong bond,'' Sunseri said. "And it's always been that way, as far as I'm concerned. We're a very close-knit group.''

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