Charismatic Sapp Gets Plenty Of Face Time
The Tampa Tribune, published 27 October 2003

Warren Sapp got a lot of face time Sunday - literally. On two different plays, Sapp lost his helmet. Once was during a sack of Dallas quarterback Quincy Carter. His 75th career sack, which is 3.5 shy of Lee Roy Selmon's franchise record, produced a first for the defensive tackle - a helmet-less sack. ``I had a real good one up in Green Bay against [Brett] Favre one time when I put my hat on his hat and drove him to the ground,'' Sapp said. ``This is the first [sack] without one, so that's a special one.''

Teammate Ronde Barber, for one, wasn't bothered by Sapp's helmet-less performance. ``I like looking at his pretty face,'' Barber said.

Ironically, Sapp's facial exposure occurred on the same day he commented on his controversial ``slave master'' remarks during a pregame television show. ``We're set to play and keep a mask over our heads,'' Sapp said in an interview with analyst Michael Irvin on ESPN. ``Can't take my helmet off. That would help my marketability, wouldn't it? ... You can't see our faces, but we play the most popular game in the world and nobody knows who we are.''

It's a good bet Carter knows who Sapp is, as well as the Cowboys' offensive linemen who struggled to contain the pass rush. Carter was sacked four times. Troy Hambrick seemed less impressed by the Bucs' defense than others, despite the fact Tampa Bay held him to a season-low 25 rushing yards. ``They're front-runners,'' Hambrick said after the loss. ``I didn't hear anything from Sapp until they got the lead. I've seen a better pass rush, but we have a couple of banged-up linemen and they outplayed us.''

Sapp was told of Hambrick's comments and responded: ``Troy Hambrick talked Emmitt Smith out of Dallas. Please, he doesn't even know. Dallas has a power running game, right? A big back? That's the way to talk about it, Troy. ``Troy Hambrick was on the bench behind the greatest running back in the history of the NFL and he was talking trash, so you expect the man to run off at the mouth.''

Sapp has been criticized the past several weeks for running his mouth too much, mainly at officials, which caused the NFL to fine him $50,000 for verbal abuse. There has been a lot of focus on Sapp's off-the-field antics, but Barber defended his teammate, saying he's not a distraction. ``I like his charisma, his character,'' Barber said. ``What would this world be like if everybody was like me? It would be a pretty boring place.''