Cover three is a weekly function column written by PewterReport.com’s Tampa Bay Bucs beat writer Trevor Sikkema published each Tuesday. The column, as its name suggests, comes in 3 phases: a statistical observation, an in-depth film breakdown, and a “this or that” segment exactly where the writer asks the reader to chose in between two solutions.

Sikkema’s Stat of the Week

Collect ’round, people. It is story time.

In the summer time of 2011, I was just a young college kid. I was 20, and wasn’t precisely into becoming a rebel, obtaining locations to sneak drinks when below the age of 21. At that time, I was attending Southeastern University in Lakeland, Florida. It was the summer time going into my junior year. But for the duration of these swirling hot months I wouldn’t be in Lakeland. I would be at residence not also far down the road in Bradenton staying with my former roommates (you imply your parents, appropriate, Trev?) – for a couple of months. I had a summer time job functioning landscaping, and naturally, the rent was free of charge. It was a fairly superior deal.

The evening of this story requires location on July 21. It was a Thursday. I had just gotten residence from a challenging day at perform. I recall that week becoming specifically extended, as it really was the dog days of summer time. I was just attempting to make it to the middle of August to ultimately get some rest and go back to college.

Considering the fact that my job was 1 that involved quite a few hours out in the hot sun, it was fairly standard for me to remain in on most Thursday nights for the duration of that time of my life. On that weekend particularly I recall calling up 1 of my greatest pals to come more than, hang out and play video games with me – most likely 1 of the Get in touch with of Duty games given that the new Madden wasn’t out however. He ended up swinging by and as we began to turn out to be 1 with the couch we didn’t strategy on moving from for the subsequent six hours my buddy checked Twitter.

Bucs DT Ndamukong Suh
Bucs DT Ndamukong Suh

At this point in time, Gerald McCoy had just completed his rookie year with the Bucs. Even though there was heated debate in between who Bucs fans wanted a lot more – McCoy, a defensive tackle who hailed from Oklahoma, or Nebraska defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh, who was the Major 12 Defensive Player of the Year and the Outland Trophy winner. When Tampa Bay chosen McCoy with the No. three general choose Bucs fans believed they had their subsequent Warren Sapp.

The Bucs have been coming off a 10-six season in McCoy’s rookie year. Points have been searching up and there was lots of excitement.

Twitter was also reasonably new, at that point. Twitter had been about given that 2008, but even in 2011 it wasn’t something like the news outlet app it is now. So when my buddy saw that McCoy was providing away free of charge tickets to go see Captain America with him, we each sat there, believed about the hour drive it would be, believed about how we wouldn’t get back till four:00 a.m. just to wake up early and go to perform the subsequent day, and stated to each and every other:

We have to go.

So we did.

Soon after we got in the auto and began to make out way up the theater, McCoy tweeted out that he wouldn’t be alone. The Bucs drafted defensive finish Adrian Clayborn in the initial round just a couple of months prior, and later in the evening Clayborn stated he’d be join McCoy to see the film with fans.

We had no thought how quite a few persons have been going to be there. I imply, this was McCoy we have been speaking about. Each single Bucs fan in the Tampa Bay location knew who he was. And he was only providing away 15 tickets? Opportunity have been we weren’t going to get there to be 1 of the initial 15, but we figured you only reside as soon as, why not attempt?

When we got there, not only have been we 1 of the initial 15, we have been like the third and fourth persons there – I told you Twitter wasn’t almost as potent as it is now. When we arrived McCoy and Clayborn have been currently there, we got to meet with them and chat with them as they waited for other individuals to show up.

Former Bucs DT Gerald McCoy
Former Bucs DT Gerald McCoy – Photo by: Getty Photos

I recall asking McCoy about his initial season and how it felt to get his initial sack. He was all smiles the complete time speaking about how pleased he was to be in Tampa Bay and be in the NFL. I asked him about his favourite Marvel motion pictures so far and what he believed of the Avengers.

When I talked to Clayborn, I asked him about his time at Iowa. I asked what he did for enjoyable. He laughed and stated, “Drink.”

As other fans started to make their way, there have been only about 13 or so that even showed up. So McCoy brought us all in the theater – the persons functioning at the theater had no thought who he was. And he purchased 15 tickets at the counter. No particular remedy. No VIP line. Just him shopping for a complete mess of tickets.

Soon after the film we all exited the theater to geek out about it and speak about the upcoming avengers film. It was in that moment I got to see McCoy really be a kid pleased as can be. And I cannot inform you how cool it was that he wanted to share in that joy with other individuals – us.

We stated our goodbyes to McCoy and Clayborn and thanked them for letting us see the film with them. They seemed just pleased to have persons to see it with.

I had no thought at the time but that evening would be one thing I remembered, one thing that at some point propelled me towards the profession I have now. Prior to that evening, I had never ever truly talked to an athlete in a manner that went beyond their sport. It was normally in settings exactly where they have been clearly a lot more vital that me, and the conversions have been frequently led by words of idolatry.

But that evening it was distinct.

That evening the most identified player on the sports group I grew up watching was just like me, just going to see a film. It was the individual side of an athlete I had never ever truly seasoned prior to. Getting there that evening is devoid of a doubt a root of why I came to the realization I wanted to be a sports journalist. To inform the human side of sports just as substantially as the achievement side. That these guys are a lot more than just what you watch for a couple of hours on a Sunday.

I’m getting into my third year of covering the Buccaneers professionally for PewterReport.com. I’ve observed McCoy a numerous quantity of instances, and however I never ever told him this story. I normally believed it was silly or that I would normally have a different possibility to inform him 1 day, reminisce and even thank him.

You never ever have as substantially time as you believe you do.

Panthers DT Gerald McCoy
Panthers DT Gerald McCoy – Photo from Panthers Twitter

Bucs fans know the ending to the McCoy saga in Tampa Bay. Soon after nine seasons, he’s now in Carolina with the Panthers.

Some fans are pleased with that. There are some that couldn’t wait for the Bucs to move on from him.

As the No. three general choose in 2010, McCoy was aspect of just two winning seasons. Regardless of becoming third all-time in franchise history in sacks, he couldn’t aid the group sufficient do what fans so desperately want them to do: win.

Lots of persons wanted McCoy to be distinct. They wanted him to be Sapp. They wanted him to be Suh. They wanted him to be one thing else. But he wasn’t. He was Gerald McCoy, and that is okay.

McCoy may possibly not have been what you wanted him to be on the field off the field on social media in his individual life. But to ask him to be something other than who he is is not fair. I am not saying that he shouldn’t have pushed himself or that he shouldn’t have worked challenging to alter and strengthen. That is not what I’m speaking about. What I’m saying is not advertising a person becoming stagnant. I’m speaking about McCoy basically becoming who he was – as a worker, as a teammate, and so forth. All of what created him a player and individual, and the output that followed. You do not have to take it so personally. He was who he was. He did it his way. Perhaps that wasn’t sufficient to be the subsequent Sapp. But it was sufficient to be the only McCoy, and that is okay.

At a skilled football level, did he reside up to the requirements he necessary to? Clearly his employers in Tampa didn’t think he did, at least at the finish. That is why they moved on from him. And if that is your barometer for judgement, then you are justified.

They believed they could get a person greater, and they think they did in Suh (we’ll get to that on the subsequent web page). But by means of the superior and the undesirable, by means of the expectations and by means of the correct identity, nights like July 21, 2011 taught me that these athletes can only be who they are, and that involves a complete other side off the field, what ever final results that may possibly yield on the field. You do not have to take it any additional than the truth that you may think he didn’t execute sufficient or the appropriate way for your group, if that is what you think.

Perhaps the final results on the field weren’t what you wanted them to be. They are not what any Bucs fan would say they wanted them to be. But by means of them, by means of almost everything, he was Gerald McCoy. And that was a guy who created my tiny story and substantially larger stories for quite a few other individuals a reality. Perhaps he wasn’t this imply, ruthless son of a gun who went in the techniques of Sapp. Perhaps he wasn’t your cup of tea as a football player. Perhaps he wasn’t even your cup of tea as a man. You obtaining that opinion is yours to have, and it may not even be incorrect in some techniques.

Former Bucs DT Gerald McCoy
Former Bucs DT Gerald McCoy – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR

But, as for McCoy, he was normally the genuine McCoy, and that, becoming who he was with the excellent moments and the not so excellent ones, is okay.

Soon after all, we’re not normally going to be what absolutely everyone else desires us to be. We can only be ourselves, be the alternatives we make, and reside with what follows.