"As far as signing him, organizations have to do what they have to do when you let a player of my caliber go, so I understand that," McCoy said. "But as far as giving away my number, in the history of the Bucs, they have a ring of honor, and all of the greatest players in the organization usually get their numbers retired."
McCoy pointed to how the franchise handled other former Bucs greats, and considers himself one of that group.
"When [Warren] Sapp left, John Lynch, [Derrick Brooks], Lee Roy Selmon, Ronde Barber, when all these guys left, nobody wore their number," McCoy said. "They didn't give their number away, and it was a sign of respect. Well, six Pro Bowls, All-Pro four times, this is Tampa Bay, and I'm one of the best players to ever play in the organization. I'm going to say it, usually I wouldn't, but I'm going to say it, so what. It kind of shows the respect and how they feel about me, I think it does."
Added McCoy: "Them giving the number away, that's their prerogative, but the respect they showed. It would be different if it was a guy who signed four or five years. This is a one-year deal ... I mean, it may seem like it's just a number, but it's bigger than that. It's respect, and that was a big part of the separation between me and Tampa, period, was the respect they showed to me all offseason, it just wasn't there."
McCoy added that coach Bruce Arians was the only coach or front office person who ever reached out to him outside the building, which in his mind underscored the lack of respect he believes he deserved.
"I spoke to more people in Baltimore's, Cleveland's and Carolina's staff than I spoke to the Bucs all offseason, and that's a fact," he said.