Purdue legend, and my all-time favorite football player Mike Alstott will be inducted into the Tampa Bay Buccaneers Ring of Honor on Oct. 4th at Raymond James Stadium. He will be entering the Ring of Honor with fellow Bucs legend Doug Williams. They will become just the seventh and eights members to enter the Ring of Honor. Alstott also becomes the first running back to enter the Ring of Honor.
We of course all know of the great career that Alstott had at Purdue but for those that didn't follow his Buccaneers career he goes down as one of their all time greats. Alstott played his entire career with the organization from 1996-2007. During that time Alstott was known for his ability to take and give out punishment. The big hits, and even bigger neck pads, became a staple of Alstott's game. During the 2001 season in which the Bucs won the Super Bowl Alstott was the team's touchdown leader with 10. He would do this five other times for the team. During that Super Bowl Alstott also scored a touchdown becoming the first Purdue Boilermaker to score a touchdown in a Super Bowl. That's only true because technically QBs don't get credit for scoring a touchdown when the throw a TD pass.
As far as career numbers his yardage totals don't really show the full impact he had on the team. Since he alternated between fullback and running back with the team, depending on coach, other personnel, and scheme, he didn't always get the number of carries that some of us thought he should've. Total number of touchdowns is a better indication of his talent. During his career Alstott punched the ball in 58 times on the ground and 13 times off receptions. If the Bucs got the ball near the goal line you knew the A-Train was going to pound it in. It was always a shame to me that Alstott never crossed the 1,000 rushing yard mark during his career. He came close during the 1999 season when he wound up with 949 yards on the ground. Regardless of never reaching that milestone he had one hell of a career.
Neck injuries ultimately forced him to retire while he still could've kept it going for a couple of more seasons. Rather than putting any more stress on his body and possibly ending up without his health intact when he retired he opted to hang it up. Since retiring Alstott has coached a bit of high school football and still remains beloved in the Tampa area. He was a fan favorite during his entire time with the Bucs and I think that speaks to the kind of teammate, player, and man he was. That's something to be proud of regardless of his great on the field accomplishments. I'm still stinging that he hasn't been inducted into the NFL Hall of Fame. He doesn't have gaudy numbers like the rest of the running backs out there but his contribution to the team as a fullback isn't something that can be measured with stats. Maybe one day his contribution will be recognized by the league in general but for now he will have to settle for the Ring of Honor celebration.