clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Warren Sapp offers explanation for Twitter beef with Timmy Jernigan

There's more to the story than meets the eye.

Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

Earlier this week in what seemed to be a gesture of appreciation to one of football's great, defensive lineman Timmy Jernigan decided to change his number to No. 99, the same digits that Warren Sapp donned for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

"I always grew up watching Warren Sapp," said Jernigan to "I looked up to him. I definitely wanted to model my game after him."

But for some strange reason, the very outspoken Sapp wasn't thrilled at all by the change.

There really wasn't an immediate explanation for Sapp's rude response, other than the possibility that it was just simply Sapp being Sapp and speaking his mind. But now that Warren has had a chance to elaborate and offer some more context, things have become a bit more clearer.

Speaking to, Sapp told the site about his previous dealings with Jernigan, and how his amicable advances had been turned down.

"It was just more peculiar. I was introduced to him while he was at Florida State by a mutual friend of both of ours," Sapp said. "I don’t want to call that person out, but he is a great friend of mine. So I reached out to the kid (Jernigan) and said, ‘Well here is my (phone) number,’ and then he calls me and reciprocates (exchanging numbers). I told him before he left for the draft, ‘Whatever you need, if you want to work out, do a little bag drills whatever you want, just let me know when you come to South Florida or I’ll come to Tampa or wherever you want to meet me at.’

"So the draft happened and he had one of those things happen at the draft like I did, where you go a little lower than where you expect to have went. So after that went down I placed a text message and a call to him and said, ‘Listen son, now your career takes off. It’s not where you are drafted, it is what you do after you are drafted that make a career. You can’t have a career until you start one. The way to start one is, go to work. So I just tried to give him some encouragement since I know what that is like to be sitting there and having the world say things about you that makes you almost question yourself. I wanted to give him some reinforcement and say, ‘Hey there were 11 guys picked before me and not one of them can stand and say they have anything on me.'"

And that was it. Per Sapp, Jernigan hasn't spoken to him since 2014.

Not only is Sapp a little miffed about the radio silence on Jernigan's end, but he also wishes that Jernigan would've considered the magnitude of picking a first ballot Hall of Famer's number.

"Go out and make a name for yourself for you," Sapp said. "Don’t go and use a first ballot defensive tackle that you will now be judged against. Are you kidding me? Who signed up for that?"

In a similar scenario, Ravens' rookie Keenan Reynolds didn't ask to wear his college No. 19, which was also the number of Baltimore Colts' legend Johnny Unitas.

So with the backstory now emerging, do you think Jernigan was in the right, or the wrong?