Flashback: Tampa Bay Bucs
The Bucs announced they’ll be honoring Mike Alstott as one of two Ring of Honor inductees this year; let’s look back at his early success with Warrick Dunn.
Alstott, who was drafted in the second round in 1996, didn’t start to see his full talents realized until the team drafted Dunn in the first round of the 1997 draft. Together they combined for 7,805 rushing yards and 54 touchdowns through five seasons under coach Tony Dungy. Together, they contributed to the team cracking the top 15, four out of five seasons and the top 10 twice in team rushing from 1997-2001. The team also made the playoffs four of five seasons in that stretch.
Alstott and Dunn were the perfect complimentary duo. Dunn would be the speedy scatback that burned opposing defenses while Alstott pummeled and punished would be tacklers on the inside.
Dunn bust out getting huge chunks at a time rushing from the backfield and catching passes. While he only had two 1,000 yard rushing yard seasons, his total yards rushing and receiving would always exceed 1,000 yards. Hi s best season on the team was a combined 1,555 yards (1,133 rushing and 422 receiving) for nine touchdowns in 2000.
Alstott, while he never exceeded 1,000 rushing yards in a single season during his entire career, managed to exceed 1,000 total yards only once in 1999. He rushed for 949 yards for seven touchdowns and caught for 239 yards for a combined 1188 yards and nine touchdowns.
Dunn left for the Atlanta Falcons in 2002, but ended up returning to the team to finish his career in 2008. Alstott would remain with the team in a more traditional fullback role with the team under head coach Jon Gruden until 2007 when he retired.
Whether or not Alstott goes in the Pro Football Hall of Fame remains to be seen since Alstott primarily got his yards from the half back position while he was officially still listed as a fullback.