Last week I wrote about Ricky Bell should go in the ring of honor despite not playing many years here he meant so much to the team.
There is another player who meant just as much to our football team as well despite playing here only 7 seasons, Hardy Nickerson.
Hardy Nickerson not only should be in the Ring of Honor asap with Ricky Bell, but Hardy also should be considered for the NFL Hall of Fame.
During his 7 seasons in Tampa Bay, he performed at the highest level and was by far one of the greatest players to play the game at his position at that time.
Hardy was drafted in the 5th round,122nd pick overall by the Steelers. After 6 seasons with the Steelers Hardy decides to test the free agent waters, when at the time the free agency wasn’t a big part of the NFL yet.
In 1993 Hardy’s first season with us, little did we know what we had in him as a player. By the time the 1993 season was over, Hardy recorded 214 tackles for the season, and that is still the most ever tackles in a season by a Buccaneer.
Hardy’s greatness, not only helped transform the Bucs into a winning organization, but he was also there for Lynch, Sapp, and Brooks in their rookie years and showed them what playing with heart and desire looks like.
He, in my opinion to this day, was the absolute best free agent acquisition the Bucs ever had. Simeon Rice was great, Vincent Jackson was great, but Hardy turned us around.
I still remember sitting in the stands chanting, “Hardy! Hardy! Hardy!” and you’d see him flex and you just knew a big play was coming from him.
He became one of the most popular Bucs ever and according to My friend Paul Stewart’s site BucPower.com, in 2003 Hardy was named the 3rd greatest Buccaneers player of all time, also earning Pro Bowls in 1996, 1997,1998, and 1999. He should have been in the Pro Bowl all seven years here.
Bucs, it should be your priority to get Bell and Nickerson in the Ring of Honor asap. NFL Hall of Fame voters need to get Hardy inducted into Canton because those seven years he played here, were among the greatest performances by any middle linebacker, and he deserves every recognition he gets.