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Rick Stroud, Greg Auman and Matt Baker

LB Brandon Magee, waived by Bucs, heads to spring training

Linebacker Brandon Magee, who had six tackles on special teams for the Bucs last season, is headed to spring training as a Red Sox prospect today after being waived by the team on Tuesday night.

"I'm grateful for the opportunity they gave me at the time. Right now, I'm focused on spring training," Magee said Wednesday morning as he drove to Fort Myers and the Red Sox minor-league complex.

Magee, drafted by the Rays out of high school, chose college football at Arizona State, and had worked with the Red Sox in extended spring training as an outfielder last year, then signed with the Bucs in preseason. He played in nine games, getting only one tackle on defense but playing a key role on coverage teams. He went on injured reserve in December, and the Bucs have re-signed the linebacker who replaced him on special teams, Jason Williams.

A Bucs spokesman said Wednesday that Magee being cut was not related to his desire to report to the Red Sox in Fort Myers.

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Smith says 'not erroneous' to assume Bucs leaning Winston

Lovie Smith reiterated his praise for both former FSU quarterback Jameis Winston and former Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota, who have both been to One Buc Place for in-person visits and meetings with top team officials, including the Glazer family.


Lovie Smith reiterated his praise for both former FSU quarterback Jameis Winston and former Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota, who have both been to One Buc Place for in-person visits and meetings with top team officials, including the Glazer family.

Coach Lovie Smith confirmed what many have assumed for weeks: Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston is the 'leader' to become the Bucs' No. 1 overall draft  pick.

But he warned that the process is not over even if they are entering the final stage of evaluation.

When asked at the NFL owners meeting Wednesday if it would be an "erroneous assumption,' to believe the Bucs will choose Winston over Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota or another player, Smith shook his head.

"No, I wouldn't say it's an erroneous assumption,'' Smith said. "I would say when people make that assumption, we haven't had the pro workout (for Winston) yet. But we've done a lot of research, have watched a lot of video and had both of them in and talked with them individually and had them on the board. But the process, the game isn't over yet. I think you can have a leader, but you have to let the game play out and we're doing that.

"We're excited about this final stage almost to decide exactly which direction to go.''

Smith said the Bucs are likely to select a quarterback and have spent extensive time with Winston and Mariota. …

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Glazers 'comfortable,' with Winston, Mariota as No. 1 pick

They are okay with Jameis Winston's past. They are confident Marcus Mariota has a bright future.

The Glazer family which owns the Bucs has signed off on both quarterbacks who are waiting for a coronation as the team's No. 1 overall pick.

But winning still matters, even though over the past few years, Bucs games have been considered more entertainment than competition.

Despite a 2-14 record in the first season under coach Lovie Smith and general manger Jason Licht, co-chairman Joel Glazer has lost not faith in either man to make ‘one of the most important decisions,' in franchise history.

All that said, they had better not screw this one up.

"Absolutely, this is critical, one of the most important decisions we may make in a long time,'' Glazer said Tuesday at the NFL owner's meeting. "But fundamentally, we believe in letting Lovie and Jason do all their ground work, and their staffs, come to their conclusions, discuss it with us, talk about their reasoning and as long as it makes sense, we're supportive. It's that way with every decision and this will be no different. But at the end of the day, whatever decision we make, I see us all being on the same page, agreeing and moving forward. …

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Titans Whisenhunt says Mariota would be starter if taken No. 2

Titans coach Ken Whisenhunt made it clear they are focusing a lot at quarterback with the No. 2 overall pick. Most of their time has been spent with Oregon's Marcus Mariota.

If Mariota is their pick, Whisenhunt says he would expect him to start the first game of the 2015 season. But he admits it's too early in the evaluation process to know which direction the Titans will go. Whisenhunt says as many as six players are in the discussion for Tennessee's first round pick.

“I would hesitate to make any judgments like that until we’re finished with our evaluation,'' Whisenhunt said Tuesday at the NFL owners meetings. "It’s been great spending time with him. I’m very impressed with what he’s done with us so far. Obviously, it’s hard not to be impressed with what he did in college.

"If he comes to us at No. 2, if we pick him at No. 2, then you definitely think he’s going to be the Day  1 starter.''

That might be a more philosophical stance, but it could certainly apply to the Titans this season. …

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Vince Kendrick, who scored first Bucs TD, dies at age 63

Vince Kendrick, who played fullback for the Gators and scored the first touchdown in Bucs history in a 1976 preseason game, died Saturday morning at age 63 after a battle with cancer.

Mr. Kendrick, who was one of the Gators' first black football players and would later return to Gainesville as Florida's running backs coach, had a 1-yard touchdown run on Aug. 8, 1976, in a 10-6 preseason loss for the Bucs against the Green Bay Packers. He would play in only one regular-season game with the Bucs -- with a single carry for 3 yards in the franchise's first game, a 20-0 loss to Houston. He also had 71 rushing yards in 14 games with the Falcons in 1974.

Mr. Kendrick had retired in Deerfield Beach after a long run as the city's parks and recreation director.

Here's the original newspaper story from The Evening Independent on Kendrick's touchdown in 1976, and this obituary from Florida's official site.

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Bucs get no compensatory picks, help others

As expected, the Bucs were not awarded any compensatory draft picks from the NFL on Monday night after a free-agent spending spree last year that gave four other NFL teams compensatory picks for their losses.

Which stings the most? It has to be Cincinnati getting a third-round pick -- the 99th overall in the draft -- for defensive end Michael Johnson, who signed a huge deal with the Bucs, only to be cut after one disappointing season and $16 million. He's already signed back with the Bengals, who maximized the compensatory-pick game perhaps as well as you can.

The Packers got a sixth-round compensatory pick for losing center Evan Dietrich-Smith to the Bucs, and the Seahawks got a sixth-rounder for losing defensive tackle Clinton McDonald to Tampa Bay. New England, which lost linebacker Dane Fletcher to Tampa Bay, got a seventh-rounder.

The single-highest compensatory pick also stings a bit for Bucs fans -- New England gave up a fourth-round pick in 2012 to get Aqib Talib from the Bucs, and they got a third-round pick Monday as compensation for losing him in free agency last year. …

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Bucs Licht won't get over 2-14, but feels fortunate to have No. 1

It was a nightmare scenario. Coach Lovie Smith and general manager Jason Licht took over the Bucs and ran them aground with a 2-14 record in their first season.

But having the No. 1 overall pick is something many teams can rarely dream of.

"We never want it again,'' Licht  said Monday at the NFL owners meetings in Phoenix. "I feel privileged, and so does Lovie, that we are able to make this decision and to set the tone of this franchise hopefully for years to come.''

Has Licht recovered from the experience of one of the worst seasons in franchise history?

"Never. Never get over that,'' Licht said. "I'll never get over it. It'll be a driving force for years to come. I never want to go through that again.''

The Bucs could recover quickly. The first overall pick could bring them a franchise quarterback -- either Florida State's Jameis Winston or Oregon's Marcus Mariota.

Both have visited One Buc Place and each are scheduled to have private workouts at their schools for Tampa Bay within the next 2 1/2 weeks.

Even though Licht and coach Lovie Smith have left open the possibility of taking another player or trading the pick, the team is coming closer to an agreement on which player to select. …

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Licht: Bucs have no problem with Winston at home for draft

Where quarterback Jameis Winston spends the NFL draft -- he plans to be at home in Alabama with his family -- will have no affect on whether the Bucs select him No. 1 overall.

Getty Images

Where quarterback Jameis Winston spends the NFL draft -- he plans to be at home in Alabama with his family -- will have no affect on whether the Bucs select him No. 1 overall.

Where quarterback Jameis Winston spends the NFL draft -- he plans to be at home in Alabama with his family -- will have no affect on whether the Bucs select him No. 1 overall.

General manager Jason Licht, stopping short of saying Winston will go first to begin with, says the Bucs know how to reach him.

"I don't see what the big deal is,'' Licht said during a break at the NFL owner's meeting in Phoenix. "(Browns tackle) Joe Thomas went fishing (on draft day) and he was a pretty good player.

Thomas went third overall in 2007 to the Browns. It's been 21 years since a player selected first overall did not attend the NFL draft -- the Bengals Dan Wilkinson in 1994.

"Yeah, but who's to say Jameis is first overall?' Licht said. "If a player wants to be with his family, that's fine. It's not going to affect our decision whether or not to take a player based on where he is draft day. …

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Mock Draft Monday: Jameis Winston one?

Jameis Winston hasn't even had his pro day yet. But, to state the obvious, the pundits are sure Winston is the guy for the Bucs.

AP photo

Jameis Winston hasn't even had his pro day yet. But, to state the obvious, the pundits are sure Winston is the guy for the Bucs.

I've looked all across the Internet to try to find a reputable mock draft by a respected writer that has the Bucs picking someone other than Jameis Winston with the No. 1 overall pick.

I've got nothing.

Things could change of course, there's still 38 days until the NFL draft. Winston hasn't even had his pro day yet. But, to state the obvious, the pundits are sure Winston is the guy.

The readers remain split. With more than 4,200 votes in our online poll, Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota leads with 44.6 percent of the vote; Winston is right behind him, at 42 percent.

Without further ado, the mock drafts:

Updated picks:

CBS/NFLDraftScout's Dan Brugler: Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston. "Nothing has changed at the top. The Buccaneers have a need at quarterback and Winston is believed to be their target with the No. 1 overall pick."

CBSSports' Pete Prisco: Winston. "Look at the quarterbacks getting signed and traded around the league. Now you know why this is a lock."

SBNation: Winston. "On-field intelligence is without question. Off the field, teams have to determine if he's just immature or if the character issues are legit." …

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Goodell has no problem with Winston staying home for draft

Jameis Winston may not be in Chicago to shake hands with Goodell, put on a Bucs hat and hold a Tampa Bay jersey.

Getty Images

Jameis Winston may not be in Chicago to shake hands with Goodell, put on a Bucs hat and hold a Tampa Bay jersey.

If Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston is the No. 1 overall pick by the Bucs, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell will announce the selection to kick off the draft.

But Winston may not be in Chicago to shake hands with Goodell, put on a Bucs hat and hold a Tampa Bay jersey.

That's okay with Goodell.

Winston related his plans to remain home in Alabama with his family on draft day during his visit with Goodell in New York several weeks ago.

"He was clear that he wanted to spend time with his family,'' Goodell told Sports Illustrated's Peter King in MMQB. "We've had that occur several occasions over the years.''

But if Winston goes to the Bucs, he could become the first No. 1 overall choice to not attend the draft in 21 years, since Dan Wilkinson was picked first by the Bengals in 1994.

"I wouldn't know because I wasn't part of those invites,'' Goodell said. "But I'm not concerned with that. I think that it's something we respect when a player says I'd like to be with my family on that day. It's an important day for them also.''







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Smoke? Lovie says Bucs not just looking at QBs

It could simply be pre-draft misdirection to keep other teams guessing, but while it's widely presumed the Bucs will take former FSU quarterback Jameis Winston with the No. 1 pick in next month's draft, coach Lovie Smith said they're considering other positions for that pick.

"I can see why people would assume that we are going to take a quarerback," Smith told NFL Network's Steve Wyche in an interview from the NFL owners' meetings in Arizona that airs Monday. "There are two excellent quarterbacks that are available at the top. And when you get a chance to draft someone like that, most of the time, people do. But there are other good players in the draft also. I think it's a deep draft."

Bucs fans have been passionately divided between Winston and former Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota -- both have now visited One Buc Place to meet with general manager Jason Licht and coaches. Some fans like the idea of the Bucs either using the pick on another position -- perhaps USC defensive lineman Leonard Williams -- or trading down for multiple picks, sticking with third-year quarterback Mike Glennon instead of a rookie. …

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No Tampa homecoming, as Selvie signs with Giants

The Bucs' search for help at defensive end won't include former USF star George Selvie, who confirmed Friday morning that he's agreed to a one-year deal with the New York Giants.

Selvie, who had 10 sacks in 29 starts with the Cowboys in the last two seasons, wasn't anything expensive for New York -- per ESPN's Adam Schefter, it's just $1.4-million for one year, with only a $200,000 signing bonus. Selvie will be reunited with his former teammate at USF, Jason Pierre-Paul.

On Thursday, Selvie's agent, Deryk Gilmore, had said the Bucs had reached out about Selvie, but the Giants visit was already in the works at that point. The Bucs can certainly address their pass rush in the draft, but they've cut starter Michael Johnson after one season, saw former first-round pick Adrian Clayborn sign with the Falcons and missed out on Trent Cole (Colts) and Derrick Morgan (Titans) in free agency. …

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Bucs sign rookie punter Andy Wilder

Adding another challenger to veteran Michael Koenen, the Bucs signed punter Andy Wilder on Thursday night, the Times' Rick Stroud reported.

Wilder, 24, played at Northern Arizona and was among Division I-AA's top five punters in 2012-13. Bucs special-teams coordinator Kevin O'Dea saw him last week at a free-agent combine for kicking specialists in Arizona last week, and he'll join Chase Tenpenny as rookie challengers to Koenen.

Wilder was a punter and kicker at NAU, much like Pat Murray, who earned the Bucs' kicking job last season after filling both roles in college at Fordham. Wilder ranked fifth in I-AA with a 44.5-yard average in 2013, after leading I-AA with a 46.3-yard average in 2012; Murray ranked second that same season. Wilder converted 20 of 30 field-goal attempts at NAU, but is more likely to compete for the punting job with the Bucs. He was not in the NFL last season, working out for a few teams, including the Dolphins. …

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Cast off from Cowboys, Moore eager to prove himself with Bucs

TAMPA -- Nickel defensive back Sterling Moore is the newest of three Cowboys defensive players to sign with the Bucs in free agency. He also might be the most motivated to show Dallas it made a mistake in not bringing him back.

As a restricted free agent, the 25-year-old Moore could have been kept by the Cowboys with a one-year, $1.54-million tender. They opted not to tender him, and after visiting the Bucs, Steelers and 49ers in the past week, he chose Tampa Bay, with a one-year "prove it" contract.

"I'm not going to lie: It surprised me a lot," Moore said of not being re-signed by the Cowboys. "I think it surprised a lot of people there as well. It was a shock, but that's the direction they decided to move. ... It's definitely a chip on my shoulder. I felt kind of disrespected when I didn't get tendered. That's just extra motivation for this year, to put back-to-back good years together." …

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Bucs sign Cowboys' Sterling Moore as nickel cornerback

After a quiet week in free agency, the Bucs have another new signing to announce, as Sterling Moore, a nickel defensive back who started seven games for the Cowboys last season, has signed a one-year deal with Tampa Bay.

Moore, 25, is the third player the Bucs have signed from the Dallas defense, joining linebacker Bruce Carter and defensive tackle Henry Melton. He had 46 tackles last year but was not tendered an offer as a restricted free agent, putting him on the open market.

Moore has plenty of personal connections to the Bucs, in addition to Carter and Melton. General manager Jason Licht and director of player personnel Jon Robinson were in the Patriots' front office when Moore came into the NFL in 2011, and current Bucs safeties coach Mikal Smith was his position coach in Dallas in 2013. Lovie Smith and Cowboys defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli, who coached together as Bucs assistants, remain very close friends, so any Bucs signing from Dallas would likely come with a recommendation from Marinelli.  …

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