Gerald McCoy says Warren Sapp 'was' like family before comments

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Gerald McCoy insists he’s over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers giving his No. 93 to Ndamukong Suh a week after he signed with the Carolina Panthers, but his relationship with Hall of Famer Warren Sapp regarding comments about the issue might need some repair.

“Warren Sapp was looked at as my family," McCoy said on Tuesday in preparation of Thursday night’s game against his former team at Bank of America Stadium. “I considered him my family. He’d been at my house, met all my family, Facetimed the little ones.

“So, yeah, I considered him my family. He was my mentor at first, and then became my family."

McCoy used the past tense when describing his relationship with Sapp, a seven-time Pro Bowl defensive tackle while with Tampa Bay from 1995-2003.

Asked if Sapp’s comments hurt, McCoy shrugged his shoulders.

He did the same thing when asked if he and Sapp had cleared the air.

Sapp blasted McCoy last month after the six-time Pro Bowl defensive tackle indicated the Bucs should have taken his number out of circulation the way they had with Lee Roy Selmon, Derrick Brooks, John Lynch and Ronde Barber.

His reasoning? McCoy never led the Bucs to the playoffs or won a Super Bowl, as Sapp did at the end of the 2002 season.

"He didn't have no chips in his game," Sapp told PewterReport.com in August. “No Defensive Player of the Year -- that's what Brooks and that's what Lee Roy Selmon did. Lynch got his name in two damn Ring of Honors. What am I missing here, Gerald? You're talking about something silly. Come on, man -- stop. If you're mad, you're mad, but don't put it on the organization that the organization did it. Every NFL team has to move on.

“He's a damn good player. A damn good player. But not even close [to a legend]. You damn sure don't get legendary status or tell somebody to put your jersey up if you don't take 'em to playoff games [laughs] ... Not one playoff game. Not even a wild card. I went to nine. We went 5-4."

When asked what his legacy at Tampa Bay was going to be, McCoy said, “I don’t know. Ask Warren Sapp. ... It’s a great question."

As far as facing the Bucs for the first time since signing a one-year deal at Carolina worth $8 million -- with a chance to reach $10.25 million with incentives -- McCoy insisted it was just another game.

He also said he wished the game was in Tampa Bay so fans could boo him. He won’t get that opportunity because the second meeting between these teams in October is being played in London.

As for Suh wearing No. 93, McCoy seems fine with that.

“At first, it bothered me," he said. “I can admit that. The more I think about it, I’m moving on. I still wear my own number [with Carolina]."

And when he retires, McCoy said, he’ll retire with No. 93 as a member of the Bucs.

“I’m gonna retire a Buc," McCoy said. “What do they do? One-day contracts? I’m gonna retire a Buc. I’ve already talked to the owners. We’ve already established that."