After his enormous 1989 season, Mark Carrier was the first Buccaneer receiver selected for the Pro Bowl
One hundred and 68 men have caught a regular-season pass for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, roughly a third of whom were (or still are) wide receivers. J.K. McKay was the first; Edell Shepherd was the most recent.
Among the receivers, Mark Carrier caught the most in a career; Keyshawn Johnson the most in a season, not to mention the most in a single game.
Kevin House had the most touchdowns and the best yardage average. Carrier had the most 100-yard games. Keenan McCardell was the most recent Pro Bowler, joining only Johnson and Carrier as Bucs with that honor.
Karl Williams played in the most games. Willie Drewrey has the longest catch…the two longest, actually. Joe Jurevicius has the longest one in the playoffs.
Brice Hunter caught only four passes in his two years on the team but somehow recorded 73 yards and a touchdown on those four plays. Vince Heflin never officially caught a scoring pass, yet he's on the books for a touchdown, having picked off a lateral after an interception by the Chicago Bears.
Lawrence Dawsey recorded 818 receiving yard as a rookie in 1991 – a total that would have ranked second among NFC rookies last year – for a team that finished 28th in the league in passing yards. Horace Copeland burst onto the scene, too, with 21.1 yards per catch on 30 grabs as a rookie in 1993, just missing House's team record of 22.1 in that category (which House put up in his rookie season).
Copeland also pulled off several end-zone back flips after his touchdowns in Atlanta in 1993, perhaps thrilled at having run by the great Deion Sanders. Charles Wilson could have borrowed that move a year later when he had 176 yards and two touchdowns against the Los Angeles Rams in December. Wilson's yardage total wasn't the most in team history – Carrier holds the record with 212 against New Orleans in 1987 – but it was one of the most impressive in that he did it on only four catches. Wilson may not know this, but he almost exactly duplicated House's feat of October 18, 1981, when he caught four passes for 178 yards and a touchdown.
Jurevicius tipped the ball to himself and spun a 180 across the goal line to catch a touchdown in Philadelphia last year. Gerald Carter once caught a 13-yard touchdown pass with 13:13 left in the game on October 13th, 1985 – his 13th reception of the year (look it up). Bert Emanuel made a diving catch in the 1999 NFC Championship Game to keep the Bucs' final drive alive…oh, wait, no he didn't. At least his name is now informally attached to a line in the NFL rulebook, thanks to that non-catch.
Clearly, a lot happens when the ball is put in the air.
The Bucs only recently broke up a run of two decades of ranking in the league's lower half in passing offense, coming in a healthy sixth last year, but even the less air-worthy Tampa Bay teams have had big moments and standout performers. Your task this week: Determine which Buccaneer receivers have been the best at making good things happen when the ball is thrown.
Below there are 10 candidates for your consideration. Given the deep field of possible candidates and the framework of 10 candidates or less at each position in this continuing exercise, some difficult decisions were made. In the end, the candidates basically reflect the top 10 career pass-catchers (among receivers) in team history; however, 10th-place holder Reidel Anthony relinquished his spot to Morris Owens, the Bucs' leading receiver in each of their first three seasons.
Those 10 candidates are listed below; we're asking you to review their qualifications and vote for two of them in the poll to the right. Your votes will determine who makes the team at the position, although the results will not be announced until the entire team is revealed near the beginning of the 2004 season.
This is 15th installment of our ongoing effort to determine the Greatest Buccaneers at every position; only two remain. Already you've selected two cornerbacks, two defensive ends, two defensive tackles, two outside linebackers, two inside linebackers, two safeties, two offensive tackles, two guards, two running backs, one center, one tight end, one punter, one kick returner and one special teams ace. Still to come in July: kicker and quarterback. To review the positions discussed so far, visit the All-Time Tampa Bay Buccaneers Team home page.
All-Time Tampa Bay Buccaneers Team: Nominated Wide Receivers
The nominations are presented in alphabetical order. Only a player's accomplishments with the Buccaneers are considered.