Happy 40th birthday, Warren Sapp! Wow, 40. You’d think that a guy who has been through the entire gauntlet of the Former Pro Athlete’s Textbook would be a little older, but here we are just barely cracking the egg of Sapp’s contribution to society and popular culture alike. One of the truest examples of the brash, arrogant Miami Hurricanes of the late 1980s and early 90s – oh how we miss them so – Sapp was a freak of nature throughout his college and pro careers, and his reputation as a true NFL rock star began on the first night of 1995 NFL Draft, when he was passed on by 11 teams because of rumors of cocaine and marijuana use. A Miami Hurricane? Why, I never.
But for the bulk of his 13 seasons in the NFL, Sapp made those 11 teams pay for not drafting him higher, and he basically made any team that wasn’t the Tampa Bay Buccaneers his bitch for simply being against him. A seven-time Pro Bowler and two-time NFL All-Decade Team selection, Sapp will most likely be a first ballot Hall-of-Famer when the Pro Football Hall of Fame Selection Committee meets to vote on Feb. 2, 2013; however, it isn’t entirely out of the realm of possibility that Sapp’s unique ability to burn bridges has hurt his chances a little.
More than anything, the Chad Clifton hit stands out as the prime example of Sapp’s “I’m gonna do whatever the f*ck I feel like” style of play. Then, of course, there was the time that he basically called Paul Tagliabue a slave master because he was fined $30,000 after running into a referee during one of his flamboyant pre-game displays. It also doesn’t help that since his retirement and current employment with the NFL Network, Sapp has called Brandon Marshall, a national spokesperson for Borderline Personality Disorder, a “retard” and there was that little incident with him “reporting” that Jeremy Shockey was the New Orleans Saints snitch in Bountygate.
Throw in a nasty divorce, a failed real estate venture and subsequent bankruptcy (he’s joined the ranks of D-list celebrities promoting nightclubs), domestic violence charges (eventually dropped), and an appearance on Dancing with the Stars, and it’s safe to say that Sapp has done more in just a few years of retirement than most pro athletes will do in a lifetime. So we salute you Warren Sapp on this, your 40th birthday. Cheers to 40 more, and please… no sex tapes.