It turns out there’s even more to the story of Warren Sapp getting bit by a shark, including that he instigated the incident. The former NFL Network analyst joined The Rich Eisen Show Thursday to discuss the shark bite, which happened Wednesday while he was free-diving for lobster off a charter boat in the Florida Keys. Here’s the whole conversation: the part about the shark starts around 2:15.
“I go down, I grab the anchor line and I pull myself down, cause, you know, that’s how I get my 280-pound butt down to the bottom without expending too much energy so I can actually hold my breath for about 45 seconds once I get to the bottom,” Sapp said. “So I get down to the bottom, and I grab, and I look, and I’m looking, and I’m reaching in [to the holes where lobster hide], and I feel something soft, and I pull my hand out, I’m like ‘Uh-uh, I don’t like the way that feels.’ “So I look over the top, from the bottom hole to the top hole, and I see it. I can see the dorsal fin and the tail, so I’m like “Oh, there’s a shark in there.” So I look over the side and stick my hand back down the thing and now he’s squared up, now he’s waiting, he’s out the backside where I can snatch him out. So you know me…”
“What do you mean, snatch him out?” Eisen asks.
“I decide I’m going to snatch him out,” Sapp said.
“How big is this shark?”
“About four feet, he ain’t a monster.”
“That’s four feet! That’s as big as my tallest son and he’s only seven.”
“He’s a little fella. He comes from a little stock.”
“So what do you mean snatch him out? You’re thinking you’re going to go grab the shark?”
“I did! I snatched him out with my right hand, and then with my left hand, I go grab him by the tail, and he went to take off, he was going in a straight line away from me, so I’m enjoying this moment. I actually fell into a moment, I felt like I was up on the boat with the sharks we grab up on the boat, we grab them and take pictures, you know. I’ll send you pictures of J.C. [charter captain Jack Carlson] doing this, me and J.C., we do this all the time. So I’m doing this under water, looking up to see if J.C.’s right over my shoulder, and of course he’s right over my shoulder.”
After a digression about the time, Eisen asks (4:10) “So the shark bites you. What happened?”
“When I look up at J.C. and I turn back, and I’m almost out of air at this point, man, this sucker turned back,” Sapp said. “And he grabs my shirt and my wrist, I mean, right underneath where if you slice them, that’s the bad part. So he’s at that point, and he locks on to the top of my shirt, and I snatch down, and luckily my shirt had the top of his teeth, cause that part came loose, and he swung his bottom jaw to bit me and he just knocked a nice little plug out of me.”
“How deep is the cut?” Eisen asked. “It looks pretty deep.”
“Oh, yeah, he got me to the gristle, past the white meat,” Sapp said. “I should have gone to the doctor, but I don’t want nobody…I’ll be fine. I’ll play doc by myself for a week, it will be cool.”
Eisen asks why he didn’t get stitches, and Sapp says “All upper extremities can be handled…I wrapped it up, put the black tape on, and went back in, Rich. I had to get the lobster.”
So, this doesn’t sound like the smartest decision-making by Sapp (who does have a history of problematic decisions, including accusations of stepping on his girlfriend’s head and biting her last June and the arrest in the hours after the 2015 Super Bowl for two counts of assault and one count of soliciting a prostitute, which got him fired from NFL Network). We can add it to Jeremy Roenick’s attack on a golf-course alligator in the annals of athletes-turned-analysts behaving strangely around wildlife. Sapp seems pretty lucky to not get more seriously hurt here.
The Rich Eisen Show airs daily on AT&T’s Audience Network Monday – Friday from 12 – 3 p.m. ET.