Soon-to-be Hall of Fame linebacker Derrick Brooks, already a busy man in his retirement, has added another job to his work week, announced Friday by the NFL and NFLPA as a new appeals officer for the league.
Brooks, who will be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame next week in Canton, will serve as an arbitrator for on-field discipline against players, deciding appropriate punishment for fines levied for actions during games. He replaces former Vikings star Matt Birk, and will be one of two appeals officers, along with former NFL coach Ted Cottrell.
Brooks already has plenty on his plate, working as president of the Arena Football League's Tampa Bay Storm, with the Tampa high school that bears his name and other work with his foundation.
"Derrick views this game with a very unique understanding as both a player and a team president," said Troy Vincent, the NFL's executive vice president of football operations. "His review of appeals will be informed by experience as a player and as an executive." …Full Story
The Bucs made two transactions Thursday as players reported for the start of training camp, claiming linebacker Brandon Magee off waivers from the Browns and placing defensive end Ronald Talley on the non-football injury list.
Magee, 23, played collegiately at Arizona State and played in eight games with Cleveland last year, totaling five tackles. He's the second linebacker added by the Bucs in as many days, joining undrafted rookie Jeremy Grable of Valdosta State.
Talley, who played three years with Arizona, is competing for a backup defensive end job and was signed by Tampa Bay last month. His agent declined to comment on any specifics of his injury when reached Thursday afternoon. It's unknown how long he'll be sidelined.Full Story
TAMPA -- It was barely 7:15 a.m. Thursday when Gerald McCoy walked up to One Buc Place, reporting for training camp in a red robe and slippers like a kid on Christmas morning.
Many players had already arrived before sunrise, and if it seemed like the Bucs couldn't wait for their first camp under Lovie Smith, well, they weren't the only ones.
"I know I'm not jumping up with pompoms right now, but believe me, I've seen this day for a long time," Smith said. "We have. There's a lot of us excited about getting out there on the football field."
The team's first practice won't come until Friday afternoon -- fans can watch at 4:30 p.m. at One Buc -- and the team won't be in full pads for a few days, with the Bucs' regular-season opener still more than six weeks away. But with nearly seven months of buildup since Smith's hiring started a busy offseason of change, the start of camp brought a welcome end to so much prologue. …Full Story
DANIEL WALLACE | Times
Carl Nicks, pictured during minicamp in June, did not report to training camp Thursday and was excused for personal reaasons, coach Love Smith, right said.
Bucs guard Carl Nicks hasn't gone to work on a football field in about 10 months. He will have to wait at least another day.
Nicks did not report to training camp Thursday and was excused for personal reasons, coach Lovie Smith said. The absence apparently is not related to the toe injury or surgery for MRSA which has prevented Nicks from playing more than nine games in two seasons with the Bucs. Smith said he is excused only for the day.
"It doesn't concern me,'' Smith said. "It's part of training camp, part of life.
"During the course of the year, you're going to have some guys where things come up and they can't be here. What you can't do is concentrate on that a whole lot. Everything is fine. There's just too much going on with the rest of the crew. Just concentrate on the guys that are here right now.''
Two other injured players who missed off season workouts -- safeties Mark Barron and Dashon -- will be available when the team hits the practice field for the first time at 4 p.m. Friday. …Full Story
WILL VRAGOVIC | Times
Gerald McCoy arrived for training camp wearing a robe and slippers.
TAMPA -- Gerald McCoy is eager to see the Bucs defense get back to being a dominating unit, but he has high expectations for improvement on the other side of the ball this season as well.
"I'm really excited to see what happens with our offense. They have so many dynamic players on that side of the ball," he said. "I'm excited to see how the o-line comes together. I don't know how much people really know how good Josh McCown is. I think a lot of people are about to see how good he really is."
McCown, 35, enters the season entrenched as the team's starting quarterback ahead of Mike Glennon, who started 13 games as a rookie last year. McCoy said there's a true leadership to McCown, who has gained much experience in 11 NFL seasons without the wear and tear of being a regular starting quarterback the whole way.
"People don't realize how athletic he is," said McCoy, wearing a robe and slippers as players arrived to report for training camp at One Buc Place just after 7 a.m. Thursday. "He's (35), but with the amount of time he's played, he's 28. His mental capacity is as old as it gets. He's been around for a while. His leadership ability is incredible, and he's going to lead this team." …Full Story
WILL VRAGOVIC | Times
Da'Quan Bowers totaled just seven tackles last season and underwent knee surgery after being sidelined at the end of the year.
TAMPA -- The morning after his general manager challenged him to show up and prove something in training camp, Bucs defensive end Da'Quan Bowers said he knows he must be more than he's been in his first three NFL seasons.
"No question about it, I owe it to this organization, owe it to this team. I've been here long enough, and I haven't really been that player that I know I can be," he said. "I think it's time I really put forth that extra foot, to be that player that I know I'm capable of being."
Bowers totaled just seven tackles last season and underwent knee surgery after being sidelined at the end of the year. Bucs general manager Jason Licht said Wednesday night that he had to be "blunt" about Bowers showing his commitment to playing at the NFL level. In three seasons, the former second-round pick has totaled 5.5 sacks but said he's now physically in the best shape he's been.
"This is probably the best I've felt coming into camp over the past couple of years," he said. "It's been a consistent offseason for me. I've put in the work. I'm ready to finally reap the benefits." …Full Story
WILL VRAGOVIC | Times
Josh McCown went 3-2 as a starter with the Bears last season, throwing 13 touchdowns and only one intercepetion.
Bucs quarterback Josh McCown reported to his 13th training camp Thursday, but it's his first as a starter in a decade.
The 35-year-old McCown was last counted on as the No. 1 quarterback in 2004 with the Arizona Cardinals, where he failed to throw a touchdown in his first four games.
"Again, very humbling, especially at this stage,'' McCown said. "But I'm excited because you know where you stand going into camp so it's definitely a little bit of a departure from different years. But I'm excited about it. I'm looking forward to it. It's going to be fun.
"It's a fun time of year, just going to camp. It's always the same feeling. You get a little bit of butterflies, nerves and anxiousness just to get started. But for me, being in my 13th year, it's humbling just to able to do this so I'm very thankful for the opporuntity. It's very cool.'' …Full Story
TAMPA -- Bucs players report for preseason training camp at 6:30 a.m. Thursday, and general manager Jason Licht made it clear Wednesday that there's some urgency to defensive end Da'Quan Bowers showing up and proving something to coaches.
"The one player we hope shows up in shape and proves to us he wants to be a football player is Da'Quan Bowers, to be blunt about it," Licht said during an hourlong "town hall meeting" session on 620 WDAE AM. "We need him to show up. He needs to prove to us that he wants to be on this team. We hope that he does and we're rooting for him."
Bowers, a former second-round pick from Clemson, has had limited production in three seasons and is now fighting for a roster spot against the likes of second-year pro Steven Means and undrafted rookie Chaz Sutton. Bowers made headlines from South Carolina this week when a friend was reportedly arrested for disorderly conduct after a night of drinking, but Licht said he had no problem on that with Bowers, who had called police himself.
"He did the right thing, tried to defuse it," Licht said. "I can't hold that against him." …Full Story
Two days before players report for the start of preseason training camp, the Bucs have released veteran D.J. Moore, a former Bears player who was a candidate for the team's starting nickel defensive back job.
The departure of Moore, who played under Lovie Smith in Chicago, leaves third-year pro Leonard Johnson in good position at nickel, though former USF corner Mike Jenkins could step into that role if he can't beat out Johnthan Banks for a starting corner job. The team also announced the signings of linebacker Jeremy Grable, an undrafted rookie from Valdosta State, and offensive tackle J.B. Shugarts, who has been in camp with four teams over the past two years but has not played in any NFL games. …Full Story
JAMES BORCHUCK | Times (2000)
Tony Dungy, right, traded for mercurial Jets receiver Keyshawn Johnson, left, in 2000.
Tony Dungy attemped to clarify his remarks regarding Rams defensive end Michael Sam. In a statement released Tuesday by Pro Football Talk, Dungy said, "I was asked whether I would have drafted Michael Sam and I answered that would not have drafted him. I gave my honest answer, which is that I felt drafting him would bring much distraction to the team.''
The interview took place sometime in May, based on Dungy's recollection that at the time of the interview, the Oprah Winfrey reality show had announced it would chronicle Sam's first pro season.
Sam, who announced he was gay prior to the NFL draft, was selected in the seventh round by the Rams.
"I was not asked whether or not Michael Sam deserves an opportunity to play in the NFL. He absolutely does,'' Dungy said. "I was not asked whether his sexual orientation should play a part in the evaluation process. It should not. I was not asked whether I would have a problem having Michael Sam on my team. I would not.''
So why wouldn't Dungy draft Sam? …Full Story
NBC Photo: Paul Drinkwater (2009)
Former Bucs coach Tony Dungy issued a statement on Tuesday afternoon in an attempt to clarify his comments on Michael Sam.
After a day of national reaction to comments that he would not draft Rams rookie Michael Sam, former Bucs coach Tony Dungy issued a statement on Tuesday afternoon in an attempt to clarify his comments.
In a story published Sunday morning in the Tampa Tribune, Dungy said as to whether he would draft Sam, who is openly gay: "I wouldn’t have taken him. Not because I don’t believe Michael Sam should have a chance to play, but I wouldn’t want to deal with all of it. It’s not going to be totally smooth … things will happen."
Dungy's statement does little to change the context of his quote, other than to call into question when the statement was made -- at least two months ago, according to his timeline. Here is the statement in full, as published at ProFootballTalk.com.
"On Monday afternoon while on vacation with my family, I was quite surprised to read excerpts from an interview I gave several weeks ago related to this year’s NFL Draft, and I feel compelled to clarify those remarks. …Full Story
AUSTIN ANTHONY | Times
Derrick Brooks, left, said he wasn’t in a position to judge whether Tony Dungy was being treated fairly for his remarks on Michael Sam.
With his induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame a week and a half away, Derrick Brooks held a conference call with reporters Tuesday morning to talk about a number of issues.
Let’s start with his remarks on the controversy du jour – former Bucs coach Tony Dungy’s recent remarks that he wouldn’t have drafted Michael Sam because of the hoopla that would have accompanied the NFL’s first openly gay player. Responding to a question on the subject, Brooks prefaced his response by saying he hadn’t spoken with Dungy yet.
The rest of Brooks’ reply: “I just generally feel that he’s probably saying what 31 other teams were probably thinking in that regard. They didn’t draft him, for whatever reason. He was just saying, if he were a head coach, this is how he would have approached the situation, or approached the player’s situation.”
Brooks said he wasn’t in a position to judge whether Dungy was being treated fairly for his remarks. …Full Story
DANIEL WALLACE | Times
Entering his fourth season, Da'Quan Bowers has only 5.5 career sacks and faces an uphill battle to make the final roster.
The last weekend before the start of training camp can create some anxious moments for NFL coaches and executives as players enjoy their final freedom before the grind of the season. Things can get out of hand.
As Da'Quan Bowers tweeted Sunday morning, "What a crazy night...''
Bowers, the Bucs defensive end, flew former Destiny's Child singer Farrah Franklin to Myrtle Beach to spend the weekend with him and Texans linebacker Ricky Sapp, a teammate of Bowers' at Clemson.
According to TMZ, which broke the story, the alcohol must have been flowing as they were out on the town Saturday afternoon and evening. They wound up back at Sapp's place and both players suspected Franklin was doing drugs. Bowers told police he was suspicious of Franklin because she would go to the bathroom for extended periods of time.
When Franklin started acting irrationally, screaming and slamming doors, Bowers and Sapp called police. Franklin fled but police found her laying down in a neighbor's lawn. Police described Franklin as 'highly intoxicated,' and 'unsteady on her feet.' Having left Bowers and Sapp, she told police she had nowhere to go and planned on sleeping in the woods. …Full Story
DANIEL WALLACE | Times
Austin Seferian-Jenkins said his left foot is in good shape as he recovers from February surgery for a stress fracture.
TAMPA -- Bucs players report for preseason camp in just two weeks, and rookie tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins said his left foot is in good shape as he recovers from February surgery for a stress fracture.
"I feel really good. My foot feels really good," Seferian-Jenkins said Wednesday from Arizona, where he's been training. "I've been running routes, doing all the exercise and workout drills that they've asked me to do. I feel very comfortable and confident that I'll be ready to go when it comes to training camp."
Seferian-Jenkins has been working in Phoenix with Team EXOS, an international sport performance company whose clients range from 64 2014 NFL draft picks (11 first-rounders) to the German soccer team. They also have worked with Bucs rookies Charles Sims and Robert Herron this offseason. …Full Story
DANIEL WALLACE | Times
Butch Davis, left, spent the past two seasons as a special assistant to Greg Schiano, right, on the Bucs' coaching staff.
Former college and NFL coach Butch Davis, who spent the past two seasons as a special assistant to Greg Schiano on the Bucs' coaching staff, said Tuesday he will be working for ESPN this fall as a college football studio analyst.
Davis, 62, said he will be on camera for 16 Saturdays in Bristol this fall, working for ESPN, ESPN2 and other platforms, from the morning pregame shows until kickoff of the network's prime-time game. He'll stay in Bristol to work eight Sunday mornings as well, wrapping up the weekend's college football and looking ahead to the NFL games as well.
Davis, who has worked previously with the NFL Network, said he'll also be part of ESPN's "bus tour" roundup of college visits in August leading up to college football season. He may also work some in studio during some Thursday night college football games and bowl games as well.
Davis has been head coach at the University of Miami, with the Cleveland Browns and the University of North Carolina, where he was fired in 2011 after the program was involved in an academic scandal. He joined Schiano's staff in February 2012 but was not retained with the rest of Schiano's staff after the team went 4-12 in 2013. Full Story