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For their own good
Fifty years ago, they were screwed-up kids sent to the Florida School for Boys to be straightened out. But now they are screwed-up men, scarred by the whippings they endured. Read the story and see a video and portrait gallery.
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Moore has seen both sides as a Buc
By RICK STROUD
Published November 13, 2005
TAMPA - Dave Moore has had one surgery, three broken bones and 10 concussions during 14 NFL seasons.
But here's a number that best describes Moore's career: 200. That's the number of games he will have played when the Bucs and Redskins kick off this afternoon at Raymond James Stadium.
"My very first game I was active as a Buc was on a Sunday night in '92 when we were playing the L.A. Rams," Moore said. "We were winning 24-0 at halftime, and I consciously remember jogging to the locker room at halftime going, "This team is not really as bad as everybody told me when I signed here.' We lost 27-24."
Moore, who turned 36 on Friday, deserves the same mention as Mike Alstott or Derrick Brooks as one of the players who helped turn the Bucs around.
After leaving the Bucs for two seasons with the Bills, he returned in 2004 and has been used almost exclusively as a longsnapper, the way he broke in with the Bucs in '92 after being released by the Miami Dolphins.
But Moore made his living as a tough tight end whose versatility always has made him valuable. Moore's best seasons came under coach Tony Dungy. In '99 he caught 23 passes for 276 yards and five touchdowns in helping the Bucs to the NFC Championship Game.
When Moore thinks of the Bucs' transformation during his career, he can't believe it.
"I remember 30,000 Green Bay fans at (Tampa Stadium) and 15,000 Bucs fans," Moore said. "There was no fenced-in area where you parked, so there would be like McDonald's cups on your car. It was like another lifetime."
Moore, who is only the seventh tight end in NFL history to play in 200 games, missed the Bucs Super Bowl-winning season while he was with Buffalo. "I was the one that decided to go to Buffalo," Moore said. "You do what's best for your family. I was happy for the guys that went, John Lynch, Derrick Brooks, Warren Sapp and Mike ( Alstott). It was a whole process. It wasn't an easy thing because of what the franchise had to overcome."
MID TERM: Halfway to go and what do we know about the Bucs? They're probably not as good as their record.
Teams headed to the playoffs don't lose to the Jets and 49ers, who are a combined 4-12, with Vinny Testaverde and Cody Pickett at quarterback.
But a few performances are worth noting:
OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE MIDSEASON: Cadillac Williams. Jon Gruden burned him out after a 4-0 start, but the kid is responsible for the Bucs being contenders.
DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR: Shelton Quarles. At 33 he's playing his best football and is a sideline-to-sideline menance.
ROOKIE OF THE YEAR NOT NAMED CADILLAC: Tight end Alex Smith looks as if he could play in four Pro Bowls before he's through, if he becomes a decent blocker.
BEST FREE AGENT: Split vote between defensive tackle Chris Hovan and kicker Matt Bryant.
QUOTABLE: Gruden, pointing to a few scratches on his face, was asked if anybody else was injured Friday. "Yeah, other than me. I got scratched up pretty good in a goal-line scrimmage at home," Gruden said. "We're getting our running game going, man, 24 hours a day."
Gruden was playing "living room, knee football," with his three sons.
"I ran it, man, right down my kids' throats last night."
BUC-KING THE ODDS: The Bucs (minus-1) aren't the only team struggling to produce turnovers. The Washington Redskins have just six and are minus-9 in giveaway-takeaway ratio. Only the Saints, at minus-13, are worse.
That's very uncharacteristic of a Joe Gibbs team. In fact, of the bottom 12 teams in turnover ratio, only the Redskins (5-3) have a winning record.
"To be truthful, we're going against the odds," Gibbs said. "We think we have smart football players, we think we work hard as coaches, but the fact is we're a minus-9. We're not taking it away and we're giving it up. If you do that, it's a recipe for disaster."