This Sunday, the Buccaneers will induct tackle Paul Gruber into their Ring of Honor at Raymond James Stadium during a ceremony at halftime of their game against the Kansas City Chiefs. Gruber’s name and jersey number (74) will be revealed along the stadium façade, next to those of previous inductees Lee Roy Selmon, John McKay and Jimmie Giles.
Gruber won’t be the only notable Buccaneer alumni at the stadium on Sunday, however. Partly at his behest, the team has chosen to recognize the 1997 team during the halftime ceremony, as well. Gruber will be joined on the field by a number of his former ’97 cohorts, including Mike Alstott, Derrick Brooks and Shelton Quarles.
The 1997 team memorably snapped the franchise’s string of 15 consecutive seasons without a playoff berth and began the turnaround that eventually led to victory in Super Bowl XXXVII at the end of the 2002 campaign. Gruber considers the Buccaneers’ playoff victory over Detroit at the end of the 1997 season – the last game ever played at Tampa Stadium – to be one of his fondest NFL memories. Having his ’97 teammates on hand will surely make his Ring of Honor induction even more special for him, and for Buccaneer fans who affectionately recall that season as well.
Though it could change before Sunday, here is the list of alumni from the 1997 team who are expected to be on the field for the halftime ceremony:
|CB Donnie Abraham||DE Chidi Ahanotu||FB Mike Alstott|
|CB Ronde Barber||P Tommy Barnhardt||S Tony Bouie|
|LB Derrick Brooks||WR Horace Copeland||DT Brad Culpepper|
|G Jorge Diaz||RB Jerry Ellison||S Kenny Gant|
|LB Jeff Gooch||T Paul Gruber||DE Tyoka Jackson|
|DT Jason Maniecki||WR Marvin Marshall||C Tony Mayberry|
|TE Dave Moore||T Jason Odom||C Jim Pyne|
|LB Shelton Quarles||RB Errict Rhett||CB Reggie Rusk|
|QB Steve Walsh||T Jerry Wunsch|