TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – He took his time getting to the podium. It stood alone in the middle of the stage inside the AdventHealth Training Center, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers team facility.
“Wow!” exclaimed Monte Kiffin, the former Buccaneers defensive coordinator, when he reached it. “I know one thing. I walk a little slower.”
Kiffin, who is 81 years old, blamed his lack of speed on a “bad back” before expressing his gratitude for this opportunity. He will officially enter the Ring of Honor next month, the 14th inductee and the first inductee who was an assistant coach with the team.
“It is a great honor to be here. The Glazer family has been so great to me – bless his soul, Malcolm, we go way back,” said Kiffin.
He recalled sitting next to Glazer while they traveled from game to game, city to city, discussing his successes and why he chose to buy the team.
Then, Kiffin reminded everyone in the auditorium why he was able to bond with his players.
“It is about the players,” he said, “being a great teacher. Show them how to do it. This is how you pass rush. This is how you drop into coverage. This is how you fake the blitz. You come out and take it, take it to the house.”
He reiterated it is about the players on the team and, yes, he celebrated this honor with three of his former players: Mike Alstott, Shelton Quarles and Booger McFarland. They joined him on the stage for a photo.
Kiffin reflected on the moment his name will be displayed inside Raymond James Stadium. That ceremony is scheduled for halftime of the game against the Atlanta Falcons on Sunday, September 19. He admitted the thought nearly brings tears to his eyes.
“That is going to be pretty special,” he said, “it really is.”