Rays' Joe Maddon carries fond memories of Warren Sapp

BY foxsports • August 3, 2013

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- They work in different sports. They have much different roles. They earned their fame on different sides of the bay.

Still, Warren Sapp has a supporter in Joe Maddon. The Tampa Bay Rays manager had positive memories when asked about the former Tampa Bay Buccaneers defensive tackle, who was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame on Saturday in Canton, Ohio.

Sapp, a seven-time Pro Bowl player, spent nine of his 13-year NFL career with the Bucs. He had 96.5 sacks and was named an All-Pro six times.

To Maddon, Sapp also is a friend of the Rays.

"I had a chance to visit with him on different occasions," Maddon said before the Rays played the San Francisco Giants on Saturday at Tropicana Field. "Very energetic man. Very complimentary of what we do, and we're very complimentary of his football career. ... He's really a fun guy. I've had a chance to enjoy the conversation."

Of course, Sapp and Maddon represent separate eras. Sapp and Maddon have become stars of the Tampa Bay sports scene, but they never entertained the region's fans at the same time: Sapp, a former No. 12 overall pick, played for the Bucs from 1995 to 2003, and Maddon first managed the Rays at the start of the 2006 season, when they were known as the Devil Rays.

Between them, however, they own a pair of impressive resumes. Sapp helped the Bucs win their only Super Bowl title during the 2002 season, and Maddon is a two-time American League Manager of the Year who led the Rays to their only World Series appearance in 2008.

Maddon had no juicy Sapp stories to spill. But he recalled the two sharing quality time once at a trendy Tampa restaurant, where they swapped greetings.

What if Sapp had traded his gear for different pads and cleats?

"Catcher," Maddon said, when asked what baseball position Sapp would play. "For instance, if (Boston Red Sox outfielder Daniel) Nava runs into him as opposed to J-Mo (Rays catcher Jose Molina), Nava would not have had that walk-off hit the other night."

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