Monday, December 19, 2005

A Blast from the Past: Number 56, LB, Hardy Nickerson:

Hardy, Hardy, Hardy, Hardy, Hardy.... The famous chant by Buccaneer fans from 1993-1999.

Hardy Nickerson was drafted in 1987 by the Pittsburgh Steelers in the 5th round and 122nd pick overall out of California.

As promised here is this weeks "A Blast from the Past". This is my way to pay tribute to the great Buccaneer players of the past. Some of these players are in our hearts as Buccaneer fans, but will never be honored any other way. This week I picked the great Hardy Nickerson, linebacker for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Hardy was the most popular and hard-working Buc ever, he did more to revitalize the new-Bucs on the arrival of Tony Dungy than any other player.

The Buccaneers acquired Hardy as an unrestricted free agent from Pittsburgh in 1993. This was a time when free agents were not really a big part of the NFL yet. Hardy become one of the all time great free agent acquisitions for the Buccaneers. The BuccaneerĂ‚’s traditionally have not done well in free agency up until late. During a time that the Buccaneers where deciding who was to be owner, whether the team would stay in Tampa or move out of the State, Hardy was the onconsistencyncy the Fans had. In 1995, the Glazers bought the Buccaneer franchise an ensured that Bucs would remain in Tampa. Hardy had already been to one Pro Bowl in 1993, but it was not until 1996 when Coach Dungy was hired and Monte Kiffin's first season as defensive coordinator saw the Bucs began to turn the corner. Hardy was the focal point of the defensive. Hardy would continue to go to the Pro Bowl from 1996-1999. Hardy played his part in changing the Bucs. Hardy the only Buccaneer Pro Bowler would bring back Pro Bowl T-shirts for the unknown stars and told them this is the level that they needed to play at in order to change the Buccaneers history. The players joined Hardy and in 1997, Alstott, Brooks, Sapp, Lynch, Mayberry and Dunn joined Nickerson in the 1997 Pro Bowl. This marked the change of the Buccaneers along with the new uniforms and logo of the 1997 season. Hardy left the Buccaneers after the Bucs refused to give Hardy the contact he sought. He left as a free agent when the Jaguars offered him a crazy contract. He played through two injury ridden years and was let go by Jacksonville during the 2002 off-season. He spent 2002 as a Packer in Green Bay, proving the Bucs had seen the best seven years of his career. Hardy is now retired and from time to time he shows up at One Bucs Place.

Hardy Nickerson played for the Buccaneers from 1993-1999.

Nickerson at the end of his Buccaneer career: 7 interceptions for a total of 57 yards, 603 solo tackles, 425 assisted tackles, and 9 sacks.

Hardy to this day still holds the Buccaneer record for most tackles during a season with 214 tackles in the 1993 season.

Hardy Nickerson was selected by the Pewter Report as the number 8th greatest Buc of all time and tagged "the hulkĂ‚”.

Hardy was named as the 3rd Greatest Buccaneer Player of all-time by BUCPOWER.COM in 2003.

Coach Jon Gruden has done his best to keep Buccaneer Tradition alive. He brings old players together with the new players. He has been instrumental in hiring old players to help with his staff: Reggie Cobb and Doug Williams. Lee Roy Selmon has even been offered a job, but has turned it down. However, the Buccaneers have named the War Room for the (draft) as Lee Roy Selmon room.

Seen here is a picture of Coach Gruden with Hardy Nickerson.

Thanks Hardy for all that you have done.


Sports Litter said...

As a Jag fan, I remember when we signed Hardy Nickerson. He played LB along side Kevin Hardy. We had some stupid Hardy Boys thing flash up on the jumbo tron all game long.

We did sign him to some nasty contract. That was back in our free spending days. We were so hyped up to land him, and he ending up being awful.

Ski said...

the best thing about having hardy on the bucs was that you knew he would come up with a big play in a close game. opposing team driving on the bucs with two minutes left in the fourth quarter? you KNEW hardy would make the interception in the end zone.

dan lewis said...

AWFUL? He went to pro bowls almost every year he played here. He was named as the 3rd Greatest Buccaneer Player of all-time by BUCPOWER.COM in 2003. In fact he helped turn the Bucs around with his winning attitude.You probably mean Kevin Hardy, not hardy nickerson.