Gruber, Paul “Groobs”

Cards: Pro Set Power 1993
Acquired: Canton Acquisition 2012

Paul Gruber played offensive tackle at Wisconsin and was the highest rated offensive lineman that came out of the 1988 draft. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers, a team that frequently missed badly on its draft choices, really did their homework on Paul, drafting him with the overall #4 pick that year. Paul really graded out well in the rough and tumble NFC Central against some really fine defensive opponents, but played on some really horrible Buccaneer franchises which lessened his impact at the position. One wonders how Gruber would’ve fared if he had traded places with Randall McDaniel in Minnesota? Would we be talking about Gruber in the Hall of Fame instead? ┬áIt took only his rookie season before Paul was selected All Pro in 1989. He’d again notch the mark in 1991 and 1992. Still the team suffered through losing seasons, and just couldn’t turn the corner. Despite playing 9 losing season for the Bucs, Gruber re-upped with the team in 1996, thinking that coach Tony Dungy had the Bucs going in the right direction. He wouldn’t have to wait long as Tampa posted its first winning record in 14 seasons in 1997. Paul enjoyed some of his favorite times there over the next two seasons, until a broken leg against Chicago sidelined him for the remainder of the 1999 season. Gruber played in 183 straight games and 4,850 consecutive snaps on offense which were both team records at the time. He retired early in 2000 and was inducted into the Buccaneer Ring of Honor in 2012.

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