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Tampa Bay releases all-time Sooner great Gerald McCoy

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Gerald McCoy talks to  football players during his 2015 football camp in Oklahoma City. (Oklahoman archive photo)
Gerald McCoy talks to  football players during his 2015 football camp in Oklahoma City. (Oklahoman archive photo)


I walked into Southeast High School a couple of weeks ago to do a story on the Spartans’ boys soccer team, which three days later won the Class 4A state championship. And I realized I hadn’t been on the Southeast campus since 2006. The day G.K. McCoy signed a football letter of intent with OU.

McCoy has gone by Gerald with the Sooners and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, but he was G.K. at Southeast. And he was a ballplayer.

Still is. McCoy was released by the Buccaneers on Monday, but not because his nine-year career is reaching the end. Tampa Bay just made one of those NFL payroll-cap decisions that all teams make – and can make, because of a weak union – so McCoy is a free agent and likely is headed for a contending team.

According to the Tampa Bay Times, McCoy will take a pay cut from $13 million to perhaps somewhere in the $9-10 million range, but likely with a contending team. You can read that story here.

McCoy, a defensive tackle anchor of OU’s 2008 team that reached the national championship game and even better on the Sooners’ star-crossed 2009 team that sported the best OU defense since 2001, was equally impactful with the Buccaneers. Tampa Bay didn’t win much, so McCoy played in relative anonymity, but he was a six-time Pro Bowler and is fourth among active defensive tackles in career sacks, with 54.5.

How good of a career has McCoy fashioned? Pro-football-reference.com has a useful too that accumulates career value. The website has equations for approximate value at each position, per season. For career approximate value, it computes 100 percent of a player’s best season, 95 percent of a player’s next-best season, 90 percent of a player’s third-best season and so on.

Using that tool, McCoy so far has the ninth-best NFL career among all Sooners. Better than Tommie Harris. Better than Roy Williams. Better than Joe Washington. Better than Tony Casillas. Better than Billy Sims. Better than Tommy McDonald, who is in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Here is the top 10:

1. Troy Aikman, quarterback, who of course transferred to UCLA and only through relaxed standards can be claimed by the Sooners;

2. Bobby Boyd, the great Baltimore Colts safety who was a Bud Wilkinson quarterback in the late 1950s;3

3. Adrian Peterson, the tailback who I assume you know quite a bit about and who is headed for the Pro Football Hall of Fame;

4. Ralph Neely, the Dallas Cowboys cornerstone offensive tackle (1965-77) who belongs in the Pro Football Hall of Fame;

5. Lee Roy Selmon, the Pro Football Hall of Famer and generally-accepted greatest Sooner of them all and a predecessor of McCoy as a Buccaneer defensive tackle;

6. Greg Pruitt, the wishbone halfback turned NFL Swiss army knife as a runner, receiver and kick returner in the 1970s;

7. Kelly Gregg, the nose guard with (mostly) the Ravens in the 2000s;

8. Trent Williams, the OU teammate of McCoy’s who has become a standout offensive tackle;

9. McCoy;

10. McDonald.

With just an average season in 2019, McCoy figures to jump Pruitt, Gregg and Williams. Two more solid seasons – McCoy is just 31 – would jump McCoy into the top five.

McCoy is an all-time Sooner great. He’s an all-time Tampa Bay great, too. He’ll just move on from the Buccaneers.

Related Photos
Gerald McCoy gets the kids in a huddle during the 2015 Gerald McCoy Football Camp at Webster Middle School in Oklahoma City on Friday June 13, 2015.  Photo by Jackie Dobson, The Oklahoman.

Gerald McCoy gets the kids in a huddle during the 2015 Gerald McCoy Football Camp at Webster Middle School in Oklahoma City on Friday June 13, 2015. Photo by Jackie Dobson, The Oklahoman.

<figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-7e42bb11d14c6064adee5a05833f1c74.jpg" alt="Photo - Gerald McCoy gets the kids in a huddle during the 2015 Gerald McCoy Football Camp at Webster Middle School in Oklahoma City on Friday June 13, 2015. Photo by Jackie Dobson, The Oklahoman. " title="Gerald McCoy gets the kids in a huddle during the 2015 Gerald McCoy Football Camp at Webster Middle School in Oklahoma City on Friday June 13, 2015. Photo by Jackie Dobson, The Oklahoman. "><figcaption>Gerald McCoy gets the kids in a huddle during the 2015 Gerald McCoy Football Camp at Webster Middle School in Oklahoma City on Friday June 13, 2015. Photo by Jackie Dobson, The Oklahoman. </figcaption></figure>
Berry Tramel

Berry Tramel, a lifelong Oklahoman, sports fan and newspaper reader, joined The Oklahoman in 1991 and has served as beat writer, assistant sports editor, sports editor and columnist. Tramel grew up reading four daily newspapers — The Oklahoman,... Read more ›

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