Warren Sapp continues verbal assault on Michael Strahan

Warren Sapp - Christian Petersen

Sapp takes shots at Strahan while praising former Tampa Bay teammate Simeon Rice.

Warren Sapp has always loved to hear himself talk. And when it comes to former New York Giants defensive end Michael Strahan, Sapp absolutely can't resist taking verbal shots at him.

The latest came Wednesday in a Tampa Tribune article in which he said his former teammate Simeon Rice "was a better rusher than Michael Strahan any day of the week and twice on Sunday.''

Sapp, who beat out Strahan for a spot in the Hall of Fame in February, jabbed Strahan for having his success on the left side, not the right where teams usually station their premier pass rushers.

"(Rice) didn't rush the worst lineman,'' said Sapp, who beat out Strahan for a spot in the Pro Football Hall of Fame Class of 2013. "You know the right tackle is the worst of the five. Strahan played right end his first four years. When they were putting the label on him as a bust, they put 'B-U-S . OK, let's transition him on the other side and see if he can play in his fourth year.'

"They put him at right end and he couldn't do it, so they moved him to the weak guy. One-on-one with the (Eagles right tackle) Jon Runyans for eight quarters every year. Sim won't ever have his name brought up (for the Hall of Fame), and that's a shame. He's one of the best pass rushers I've ever encountered in my life.''

Sapp's feelings about Rice might be understandable since they were highly successful teammates together. Rice deserves plaudits for his 122 career sacks, but he was never the all-around player Strahan was. Rice made three Pro Bowls and was named All-Pro once in 13 seasons. Strahan made seven Pro Bowls and was All-Pro four times in 15 seasons. Strahan finished fifth on the all-time sack list with 141.5.

[Related: 'Bucs Nation' backs Sapp]

Sapp has his facts wrong in one area. Strahan moved to the left side after two years, not four. It is true, though, that his first four years were pedestrian. He totaled 18 sacks in four years before back-to-back 14 and 15-sack seasons in 1997 and 1998.

Sapp also ignores the fact that Reggie White, considered by many the best defensive end of the modern era, played left end. So did Hall of Famers Howie Long, Carl Eller and Jack Youngblood.

I simply don't understand Sapp's need to consistently belittle Strahan. Like him or not, and which side I fall on is pretty clear, Sapp had a great career and Hall of Fame voters have recognized him for it.

Now it's time for Sapp to shut his trap, show some class and start acting like a Hall of Famer.

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