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Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Sapp to Take Part in Countdown to Kickoff

Former Buccaneer great Warren Sapp is one of 21 Hall of Famers – and the only member of the Class of 2013 – who will take part in a special 32-team countdown to the opening kickoff of Thursday night's Baltimore-Denver game


Warren Sapp had his big moment a month ago, when his bronze bust was unveiled in Canton, Ohio and he delivered a heartfelt acceptance speech at his induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.  Now, Sapp is going to help NFL fans count down to the moment they've been anticipating for months.

On Thursday night, the new National Football League season will begin in Denver with a matchup between the Broncos and the defending Super Bowl Champion Baltimore Ravens.  The primetime game will be broadcast nationally by NBC, with kickoff scheduled for 8:30 p.m. ET.  Moments before the ball is put into play for the first time in 2013, one NFL legend representing each team in the league will appear on the broadcast counting down from 32 to one.

Sapp will represent the Buccaneers in the countdown, joining such all-time greats as Franco Harris, Jim Brown, Anthony Munoz and Michael Irvin.  There are 21 Hall of Famers among the 32 legends who shot pre-taped moments for the countdown, with Sapp the only one from the Class of 2013.  Here is the entire list of team representatives who will take a nation of NFL fans through the final seconds before football is back:

  • Arizona Cardinals: Kurt Warner (QB)
  • Atlanta Falcons: Deion Sanders (CB)
  • Baltimore Ravens: Ray Lewis (LB)
  • Buffalo Bills: Jim Kelly (QB)
  • Carolina Panthers: Kevin Greene (LB-DE)
  • Chicago Bears: Mike Ditka (TE)
  • Cincinnati Bengals: Anthony Munoz (T)
  • Cleveland Browns: Jim Brown (FB)
  • Dallas Cowboys: Michael Irvin (WR)
  • Denver Broncos: Shannon Sharpe (TE)
  • Detroit Lions: Barry Sanders (RB)
  • Green Bay Packers: James Lofton (WR)
  • Houston Texans: Jamie Sharper (LB)
  • Indianapolis Colts: Jeff Saturday (C)
  • Jacksonville Jaguars: Fred Taylor (RB)
  • Kansas City Chiefs: Willie Lanier (LB)
  • Miami Dolphins: Larry Little (G)
  • Minnesota Vikings: John Randle (DT)
  • New England Patriots: Willie McGinest (LB)
  • New Orleans Saints: Willie Roaf (T)
  • New York Giants: Phil Simms (QB)
  • New York Jets: Joe Namath (QB)
  • Oakland Raiders: Howie Long (DE)
  • Philadelphia Eagles: Troy Vincent (DB)
  • Pittsburgh Steelers: Franco Harris (RB)
  • San Francisco 49ers: Jerry Rice (WR)
  • San Diego Chargers: Dan Fouts (QB)
  • Seattle Seahawks: Cortez Kennedy (DT)
  • St. Louis Rams: Marshall Faulk (RB)
  • Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Warren Sapp (DT)
  • Tennessee Titans: Jevon Kearse (DE)
  • Washington Redskins: Lavar Arrington (LB)

The NFL has begun a new tradition in recent years of inviting former greats from every team to help kick off the new season.  Last year, it was linebacker Derrick Brooks – perhaps the next Buccaneer headed to Canton next year – who joined some of his contemporaries in New York for the Dallas-at-New York Giants season opener.

On Thursday, the NFL will be celebrating its 94th season opener in a variety of super-sized ways, including performances by Keith Urban and Danielle Bradbery.  Fans can watch the one-hour pregame show on NBC and the NFL Network.

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