Originally posted on 60 Max Power O  |  Last updated 7/9/12

7. Linebacker Hardy Nickerson: Played for the Buccaneers from 1993 to 1999. One of the NFL’s surest tacklers throughout his career, Nickerson spent his prime in pewter and red. Of his five Pro Bowl selections and two All-Pro nods, all came in his seven-year stint with the Bucs.

Why is Nickerson No. 7?
The “man in the middle” before Derrick Brooks, Nickerson found his niche in the middle of Tony Dungy’s 4-3 defensive scheme. Nickerson is third on the organization’s all-time tackle list with 926 and fifth all-time in forced fumbles. Over his last four years with the Bucs, Nickerson helped maintain a defense that ranked third or better three straight seasons. Nickerson’s 214-tackle 1993 season remains a single-season best for Tampa Bay.

Nickerson’s Legacy with the Buccaneers:
The emergence of Derrick Brooks and age led to Nickerson’s exit from Tampa Bay after the 1999 season (despite his fifth Pro-Bowl selection in seven seasons). Nickerson will be remembered as part of a defensive-minded group that finally got the Bucs back into the .500 column in 1998 (the Bucs finished 8-8). Before that, it had been 17 seasons since Tampa had seen the mark.

Nickerson was the cog in the middle. He was consistent, solid, and almost always made the tackle. Caught in an era when Mike Singletary ruled the world of middle linebackers, Nickerson served as a bright spot on a team with few in his early years before yielding possession of the middle to one of the all-time greats (Brooks).

The Bucs were 53-59 overall in Nickerson’s seasons, although the team was 29-19 over the last three campaigns (all under Tony Dungy). The sturdy linebacker thrived in the Dungy’s system. Nickerson will not make it to Canton but he can hold pride in knowing that he was one of the best players in the league for the decade of the ‘90s.

Be sure to check out other great articles at Sports Media 101.

var switchTo5x=true; stLight.options({publisher:''});
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

NHL officially won’t participate in the 2018 Winter Olympics, cites hypocritical reason for not playing

Report: ‘Multiple’ teams open to giving Nerlens Noel max contract

Tiger Woods arrested on DUI charges

Report: Clippers ‘overwhelming favorite’ to keep Chris Paul

Giants owner: Signing Kaepernick would anger fans

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Mike Trout to undergo MRI after suffering thumb injury

John Wall: Bench was cause of Wizards’ ‘downfall’

Arum says Pacquiao would fight McGregor if Mayweather won't

Aaron Judge hits first grand slam of his career

David Stern: Lakers could have had Chris Paul, GM panicked

Brandon Jacobs vows to 'expose' Jim Harbaugh, get him fired

The 'Hope your Cup runneth over this Memorial Day' quiz

Meet your Stanley Cup finalists: Nashville Predators

Getaway Day: There's a murderer's row in the NL West

Journey to the Stanley Cup Final: Pittsburgh Penguins

Best of Yardbarker: Ladies and gentlemen, start your engines

The Rewind: Vince Carter's graduation day celebration that wasn't

Manu Ginobili gave life to the San Antonio Spurs

Why the Indianapolis 500 is called 'the greatest spectacle in racing'

Stanley Cup Final: A David vs. Goliath matchup that's not as lopsided as it may appear

The 'More like Whiffer, Texas Ranger...amirite?' quiz

The 10 best sports docs available for streaming

Box Score 5/26: Bring on the Finals

NFL News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

The 'Hope your Cup runneth over this Memorial Day' quiz

Meet your Stanley Cup finalists: Nashville Predators

Getaway Day: There's a murderer's row in the NL West

Journey to the Stanley Cup Final: Pittsburgh Penguins

Best of Yardbarker: Ladies and gentlemen, start your engines

The 'More like Whiffer, Texas Ranger...amirite?' quiz

Stanley Cup Final: A David vs. Goliath matchup that's not as lopsided as it may appear

Manu Ginobili gave life to the San Antonio Spurs

The Rewind: Vince Carter's graduation day celebration that wasn't

The 10 best sports docs available for streaming

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker