Bucs News And Notes: Monday

March 24 - Fans should expect a somewhat slow week in terms of free agency news since the NFL is holding its annual three-day spring meeting this week. Former Tampa Bay Buccaneers running back Ricky Bell was one of 11 players elected Monday to the College Football Hall of Fame in South Bend, Indiana. In other news, Bucs Pro Bowl defensive tackle Warren Sapp made a generous donation to Florida Citrus Sports Foundation last week.

Fans can expect free agency news to dry up for a few days since NFL owners are gathered in Phoenix for the league's annual spring meeting.

Bucs general manager Rich McKay is in attendance for the three-day meeting, serving as co-chairman of the NFL's Competition Committee.

NFL owners are expected to discuss a number of topics including the hiring process regarding minority head coaches, a possible expanded playoff format (from 12 to 14 teams) and a possible change in the current overtime format that would give each team one possession before going to sudden death.

In addition the NFL regular season schedule, the NFL will be awarding compensatory draft picks in the very near future to teams who suffered free agent losses in 2002. Tampa Bay only has five draft picks this year after trading their first-round pick to Oakland for head coach Jon Gruden and their seventh-round pick to Miami for offensive lineman Cornell Green. The team is hoping to receive at least a fourth-round pick for the loss of RB Warrick Dunn. The Buccaneers also hope to obtain a couple more compensatory picks for the losses of TE Dave Moore and MLB Jamie Duncan among others.

The awarding of compensatory picks is not an exact science and is determined by how much money the departing player received from his new team, how much he contributed to his new team and what type of player the old team replaced him with. Compensatory picks may not be traded.


Former Tampa Bay Buccaneers running back Ricky Bell was one of 11 players elected Monday to the College Football Hall of Fame in South Bend, Indiana.

Bell, a superstar at the University of Southern California from 1973-76, was a two-time All-America selection. As a junior, Bell led the nation in rushing with 1,957 yards. He also finished second in Heisman Trophy voting in 1976 and third in 1975. Bell currently ranks fourth in USC's all-time rushing list with 3,689 yards.

Tampa Bay selected Bell with the first overall selection in the 1977 NFL Draft. He played just six seasons in the NFL before retiring due to a rare skin and muscle disease. In 1984, the former Trojan and Buc died of cardiac arrest, which was brought on by the same disease that forced him to retire. Bell was 29.

2003 College Football Hall of Fame Class

Ricky Bell, Southern California, Running Back, 1973-76
Murry Bowden, Dartmouth, Defensive Back, 1967-70
Tom Brown, Minnesota, Guard, 1958-60
Jimbo Covert, Pittsburgh, Offensive Tackle, 1980-83
Jerry LeVias, Southern Methodist, End, 1965-68
Billy Neighbors, Alabama, Tackle, 1959-61
Ron Pritchard, Arizona State, Linebacker, 1966-68
John Rauch, Georgia, Quarterback, 1945-48
Barry Sanders, Oklahoma State, Tailback, 1986-88
Joe Theismann, Notre Dame, Quarterback, 1968-70
Roger Wehrli, Missouri, Defensive Back 1966-68


Tampa Bay defensive tackle Warren Sapp made a $25,000 donation to the Florida Citrus Sports Foundation last week.

Sapp made the donation at FCS' Quarterly Membership Luncheon in Orlando, Florida. His donation enabled the Foundation to build a new computer lab for its annual Florida Citrus Sports Camp.

In other Sapp-related news, Tampa Bay's Pro Bowl defensive tackle was one of several celebrity judges in attendance Monday night for the Miss USA Pageant in San Antonio, Texas.

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