Sapp shocks mates with gift
By ROGER MILLS, Times Staff Writer
Defensive players are given diamond-studded bracelets for Super year.
© St. Petersburg Times
published May 1, 2003
TAMPA - They kept missing each other, but Pro Bowl linebacker Derrick Brooks felt whatever teammate Warren Sapp had for him had to be important.
Finally, Sapp got Brooks on the phone and told him to check with team trainer Todd Toriscelli when he got to One Buc Place the next day.
Waiting for him was a diamond-studded platinum bracelet valued between $6,000 and $10,000.
"We kept missing each other and being out of town," Brooks said. "Finally, he left it with the trainer in the safe and said, "When you go in tomorrow make sure you see Todd before you leave.'
"It was a shock to me. To be honest, it let me know how special this year was for him and for us. For us to cultivate our dream and get to the mountaintop, it was a small way that he wanted to show his appreciation for the defense and what we were able to do as a team."
But Sapp wasn't done there. The six-time Pro Bowl defensive tackle, entering his ninth season and the final year of his contract, gave bracelets to each starter and a number of other major contributors on the defense. The exact number is not known.
"First of all, when I first looked at it I realized that it costs a lot of money and you could tell it was something he put a lot of thought and feeling into," Pro Bowl linebacker Shelton Quarles said. "I appreciate the gesture. You know, I'm not a person who wears a lot of jewelry, but I may have to make an exception for that one. It means something."
Quarles said Sapp "didn't make a big deal" about the bracelets.
"(Anthony McFarland) and I were in the locker room and he said, "I've got something for you.' We walked over and he tossed me the bracelet. I was stunned."
Cornerback Brian Kelly said the bracelet's value has less to do with the diamonds and more to do with the memories.
"It speaks volumes about the type of teammate Warren is," Kelly said. "Obviously, it was an extremely generous act and one that I will always remember. At least it's something we can wear to prove that we won the Super Bowl considering that we don't know what's going on with the rings."
Sapp, 30, said he didn't do it to impress anyone. In fact, he didn't want knowledge of the bracelets to become public.
"(A picture) of the best defense I had before this one (1999) sits on my mantle in my living room," Sapp said. "I couldn't get this group together for a picture, so I came up with the best thing that I could come up with, a gift from my heart."
Sapp said the choice of a bracelet with links like a bike chain was symbolic.
"The best thing that I could come up with was this bracelet because from the first link to the last link, this is our team," Sapp said. "And the defense is only as strong as the other link and each link on it makes it complete."
Sapp's future with the franchise may be uncertain, but Brooks said his legacy will be permanently etched in precious stones.
"I'll remember him, No. 1," Brooks said. "Then I'll remember the past season and all the things we went through. He wanted to give us a small token to remember the season by, besides the ring.
"I don't know why he picked a bracelet, but I do know this, there's only so many of those given out. There may be 100 Super Bowl rings given out and everyone can get one. But this is something he bought and no one else is probably going to be able to get made. It comes from his heart. He took time out to do this for us and that's why I will wear it proudly when I do wear it."
Sapp's gift was the second act of generosity by a team leader in the past five months. Quarterback Brad Johnson purchased about 50 flat-panel, 13-inch, LCD high-definition color televisions for the offensive players and coaching staff as Christmas gifts.
"Brad bought the offense flat screens so it was our turn," Quarles said.
JAPAN BOUND: Quarles and Jets defensive lineman John Abraham, along with team representatives, are part of the second advance team to visit Japan before the preseason game between the Bucs and Jets in early August. They leave Monday.
Quarles said it's an honor to be asked to represent the team but he has some trepidations about the trip.
"I'm a little apprehensive about it," he said. "I don't know how far it is or how long it'll take to get there. Actually, I don't even want to dwell on that. The thing is, I was already signed up for (Brooks') golf tournament. I guess I'm going to have to miss it."
BucsSapp shocks mates with gift
RaysRocco hits mark
Rays claim no intent in string of HBPs
LightningOn the brink
Devils captain not only returns, but has big game
Errors add to woes for Khabibulin
Roundup by period
Tortorella among three finalists for award
BaseballAL: Bosox take lumps in rally
D'backs' Johnson to miss 3-6 weeks
NL: Braves' Hampton sharp again
BowlingFSU women fall short in final at IBC
CollegesMcPherson trial date set
GolfEls set to play at Innisbrook
Kuehne's PGA Tour career could be as long as his drives
Nicklaus and sons in tourney
HorsesEmpire Makerearly 6-5 favorite
$121-million facelift to track should bring many upgrades
Derby puts strain on Churchill announcer
In briefUSOC followed rules in track doping case
NBAPistons fend off Magic, elimination
Kings bring an era to likely end
NFL'Human Bowling Ball' Charlie Tolar dies at 65
NHLDucks win on late goal
OutdoorsDaily fishing report
PrepsCrusader wins crown
More titles for Durant tandem
Rain halts Devils' match
Saddlebrook settles for third
Spartans tie for second
Aggressive bats put 'Canes in semifinals
Bunting woes cost Indians
Chiefs, Lions advance behind shutouts
Citrus too strong for West Port
Folwell rescues Northeast
Knights' 4 runs stun TC in 10th
Mitchell gets new chance at River Ridge
Panthers qualify well for regional
Patriots finally back in playoffs
Springstead ends it early
Tampa Bay Tech, Plant in final
USFSenior gets first coaching job