By simple logic, any player picked up on waivers while NFL rosters are at 90 players will have long odds to stick around once rosters are cut to 53, and it's easy to dismiss a late-July NFL signing with "last in, first out" rationale. Having said that, there's reason to think Jonathan Krause -- claimed by the Bucs off waivers from the Eagles on Saturday -- could join what is already a deep and wide-open competition for the team's final receiver jobs.
The Bucs now have 12 receivers battling for what should be five or six spots -- Krause is 24, a good reminder that nine of those 12 receivers are 24 or younger, with Russell Shepard just 25. Krause is entering his third year out of Vanderbilt, having spent time with the Browns and Patriots before getting his first NFL action late last season with the Eagles. A few things, then: …Full Story
TAMPA -- Moments into a kickball game, Bucs tackle Donovan Smith stepped away from the crowd of kids gathered with teammate Jameis Winston behind a makeshift home plate, raised his hand and gently called out: "Officer!"
The Tampa Police officer nodded, smiled and walked over, taking his place in line. He would end up popping up for an out, but at the same time, the at-bat was successful.
The central hope of "Champions of Character Day" at Perry Harvey Sr. Park on Thursday night was, in the midst of serious national tension between African-Americans and law enforcement officers, to bring Tampa teenagers and police together.
"We're trying to start the process of trying to prevent what's going on outside of Tampa (from happening) inside of Tampa," said former Gators defensive end Thaddeus Bullard, better known today as WWE wrestling star Titus O'Neil. "It's our obligation, not only to our youth but to our community, to have a good relationship with law enforcement, both with the Sheriff's Office and the Tampa Police Department." …Full Story
As the Bucs' 2016 season fast approaches, one of the more interesting debates among fans is whether Austin Seferian-Jenkins or Cameron Brate will be more productive at tight end for Tampa Bay.
Seferian-Jenkins was a second-round pick in 2015 who has missed 16 of 32 career games with assorted injuries; Brate was an undrafted rookie cut by the Bucs in both of the last two seasons, only to return to the roster and play well in Seferian-Jenkins' absence in each season. Seferian-Jenkins made things more interesting this spring when he was kicked out of an OTA practice, though Dirk Koetter was careful to try to downplay the issue.
The larger question, when weighing which tight end might put up better numbers in 2016, is simply whether you think Seferian-Jenkins can be healthy -- he missed time as a rookie with foot and back injuries, then a shoulder last year. …Full Story
Training camp has nearly arrived for the 2016 Bucs -- rookies report Monday, veterans on Wednesday, and the team's first practice is Thursday morning, with only two weeks then until Tampa Bay's preseason opener at the Eagles on Aug. 11.
With that in mind, here are five storylines we're expecting to unfold between now and the start of the regular season. We'll write plenty about Jameis Winston's improvements and Mike Smith's new defense, but there are other compelling questions. We'll get some answers with the first practice, with others not resolved until final roster cuts in September.
1. Is anyone still injured? The biggest concern might be guard J.R. Sweezy, who hasn't practiced since he was signed in March, due to a still-undisclosed "procedure." He's expected to take over for Logan Mankins at left guard, so having one of the Bucs' biggest additions healthy is important. …Full Story
We're wrapping up a summer stretch of nearly six weeks without general media access to Bucs players ahead of the start of training camp, so any player interviews are interesting to hear, even if they echo the sentiments from minicamp and OTAs.
Defensive tackle Clinton McDonald was on the radio Wednesday with Fox Sports Arkansas, and he continues to show great optimism for what the Bucs can do if healthy in 2016. McDonald was limited to just six games in 2015 before a season-ending pectoral injury, but he piled up 31 tackles in those six games.
"Last year we got stagnant with injuries, got stagnant with being a young team, fell short in a long season, but this year, I think with our camaraderie, with our togetherness as teammates, as coaches, as a whole organization, will (help) us to go further into the season with more wins and bring us about a playoff berth," McDonald said on the show Wednesday.
McDonald was part of a Super Bowl team in Seattle before coming to the Bucs, and said while every NFL team has talent, he thinks the attitude throughout the locker room can be what changes the Bucs in 2016. …Full Story
Former Bucs and Colts coach Tony Dungy never imagined a Pro Football Hall of Fame coaching career when he finally got the chance to lead a team in Tampa Bay in 1996. At that time there weren't many African American NFL head coaches and he feels he will be representing a lot of those men who paved his road to Canton, Ohio when he is enshrined at an induction ceremony Aug. 6.
'You think about the cream of the cream of the NFL being in there,’’ Dungy said Wednesday on a national conference call. “To think that you’re going to be in that group is still hard to believe.
“I’m humbled, but it still doesn’t seem real. It’s going to be awesome. It’s going to be very special.’’
Dungy had a 148-79 overall record during his 13-year head coaching career that began with the Bucs in '96 and ended with the Colts after the '08 season. He became the first African American coach to win a Super Bowl when the Colts beat Lovie Smith's Chicago Bears to end the '06 season. …Full Story
DIRK SHADD | Times
Jameis Winston, coming off a 4,000-yard rookie season, is the 20th quarterback taken in ESPN leagues and 23rd in Yahoo. He's almost certain to outperform this ranking.
In a previous life, back way before Twitter, before I covered the Bucs, before I even covered USF for nine years, I wrote a weekly fantasy football column for what was then the St. Petersburg Times back in 2003.
And while it still seems way too early for you to be having your fantasy football draft, I'm reminded of a helpful trick I used to advocate to help take your fantasy team from just making the playoffs to really competing for a championship: sneaking a peek at which defenses players will face in the weeks associated with fantasy football playoffs. To me, it's even more important than being aware of when your bye weeks fall. Everybody has a bye week, but not everybody gets to face inferior defenses when fantasy championships are decided. …Full Story
Former Bucs head coach and Ohio St. defensive coordinator Greg Schiano knew that Jerry Sandusky was abusing young boys when he witnessed such an act in a shower while he was an assistant at Penn State in the 1990s, according to testimony unsealed by a Philadelphia court Tuesday.
The revelation appears in a deposition by former Penn State assistant Mike McQueary, who was the chief witness in the Sandusky investigation. McQueary said Tom Bradley, then defensive coordinator at Penn State, told him that another coach, Schiano, had come to him with similar information in the early '90's. Schiano worked as a grad assistant for coach Joe Paterno in 1990 and coached defensive backs from '91-'95.
RELATED: Paterno knew of Sandusky abuse in 1976, according to testimony in newly unsealed records
McQueary testified that Bradley told him Schiano "had come into his office white as a ghost and said he just saw Jerry doing something to a little boy in the shower."
McQueary said the conversation with Bradley occured in 2005 or 2006.
Schiano tweeted out Tuesday afternoon that he "never saw any abuse, nor had reason to suspect any abuse, during my time at Penn State." …Full Story
Palm Beach Post (2014)
Miko Grimes, wife of new Buc Brent Grimes, has lashed out her husband’s former team, the Dolphins.
TAMPA — Pro Bowl cornerback Brent Grimes has yet to start his first training camp with the Bucs, but his wife Miko is already making headlines for the wrong reasons.
Miko Grimes built a strong following on Twitter with blunt and outspoken opinions in Miami, even about her husband's former team, the Dolphins. It's not unusual for her to use vulgarities in interacting with followers.
But early Monday morning, she made an anti-Semitic comment about billionaire Dolphins owner Stephen Ross and former Jets general manager Mike Tannenbaum, now the Dolphins' executive vice president of football operations.
"Gotta respect ross for keeping his jew buddies employed but did he not see how tannenbaum put the Jets in the dumpster w/that sanchez deal," she tweeted at 1:50 a.m. to her 16,000-plus followers, referring to former Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez. …Full Story
The NFL's supplemental draft is next week, and of the six eligible prospects, the one perhaps most likely to merit a late-round draft pick is Purdue defensive tackle Ra'Zahn Howard. The Bucs still have a need for depth at defensive tackle, after not using any draft picks at the position and opting not to re-sign backups Henry Melton and Tony McDaniel, who both remain unsigned after going through free agency this summer.
One potential flag for Howard is that he was arrested twice in Indiana this spring in separate incidents. On Jan. 31, he was arrested for public intoxication, a charge that local prosecutors are still processing. In April, Howard was arrested and charged with misdemeanor counts of failure to stop after an accident causing damage and false reporting, as well as citations for driving with a suspended license and expired license tag. In June, he entered into a "deferral agreement" with prosecutors on those charges, with a compliance meeting set in December. …Full Story
When the NFL moved its extra points out from 20 yards to 33 last year, kicking from the 15-yard line was intended to make the PAT less of a given. It certainly accomplished this -- after missing eight extra points in 2014, NFL kickers combined to miss 71.
What was a 99.3 percent success rate in 2014 dropped to 94.2 percent from the longer distance. It added drama where there was nearly none, and to some extent, made NFL coaches ponder the merits of going for two more than even before.
NFL teams went for two 93 times in 2015 -- that's 60 percent more than the year before, when there were only 58 attempts.
There are so many interesting ways to dissect the two-point conversion -- if extra points are successful 94 percent of the time, you'd have to be good enough to convert going for two better than 47 percent for it to generate more scoring. …Full Story
BRENDAN FITTERER | Times (2014)
Louis Murphy, entering his third season with the Bucs, caught 10 passes for 198 yards last year before suffering a season-ending knee injury, which required surgery.
Bucs receiver Louis Murphy may have enjoyed a college teammate's wedding a bit too much this past weekend in Palm Beach.
Murphy, 29, was not charged with any crime, but woke up early Saturday morning and found himself locked in the Flagler Museum, where former Gators teammate and Bears receiver Deonte Thompson had his wedding the night before. According to a Palm Beach Police report, Murphy told police that he had been drinking, went to the museum's courtyard and fell asleep on the stairs. "When he woke up, everyone was gone, and the doors were locked," the report states.
Murphy told police he "got nervous and broke the glass on one of the doors in order to unlock it," then called a friend, who called 911. Police arrived at 1:12 a.m., and then the museum's facilities manager arrived and estimated the damage to the window at $1,000. The two parties agreed to "work out the repair costs amongst themselves," according to the report. …Full Story
Bucs offensive lineman Dominique Robertson, an undrafted rookie competing to make the team as a backup, was hospitalized with gunshot wounds in Loma Linda, California, on Thursday morning and has since been questioned by police and released.
Robertson's attorney, Zulu Ali of Riverside, Calif., said Saturday that Robertson was shot twice in the leg and is "doing OK," having been released from the hospital Friday night. He was questioned by police about the shooting for about four hours, Ali said, reiterating that his client was a "victim" and "bystander" in the shooting.
Robertson told police he was shot outside an apartment complex, though San Bernardino County Sheriff's deputies responding there "were unable to locate evidence (of) a crime scene," according to a release. Neighbors told deputies they did not hear any gunshots or disturbances in the area.
Robertson's mother told the Riverside Press Enterprise he was staying with friends at the apartment complex. Robertson is the nephew of Bucs offensive line coach George Warhop. …Full Story
In nearly any context, NFL players are compensated well, with a minimum salary of $450,000 and contracts that can exceed $100 million.
But even well-paid NFL players were impressed by the ridiculous money tossed around Friday on the first day of free agency for the NBA, where a new salary cap has lesser-known players landing contracts that can dwarf their NFL counterparts. Colts quarterback Andrew Luck made headlines earlier in the week with a six-year, $140-million contract; on Friday, Mike Conley, 28-year-old point guard for a Memphis team swept in the first round of the playoffs, got a five-year, $153-million contract.
"This NBA free agency money!!" tweeted Bucs defensive tackle Gerald McCoy, one of the league's top paid at his position, but still getting less per year than comparably anonymous Magic guard Evan Fournier. …Full Story
JIM DAMASKE | Times
Jon Gruden and the Bucs sideline celebrate a touchdown during their Super Bowl victory over the Raiders in San Diego in January 2003.
For Bucs fans who have worn out their DVD of the Super Bowl XXXVII, who still keep a VCR around the house to play old tapes from the creamsicle days, there is exciting news: The NFL is posting the network broadcasts of three classic games for each NFL team on Youtube this summer.
For each NFL team, five games were chosen, and fans voted to choose which three go online. It shouldn't be much of a contest for the Bucs -- their Super Bowl victory over the Raiders in San Diego in January 2003 was the leading vote-getter, with 43 percent, edging out the game that preceded it, Tampa Bay's NFC Championship win at Philadelphia, which got 29 percent.
The race for third was closer, however -- the Bucs' Monday Night Football shootout win against the Rams in 2000 got 14 percent, the franchise's first-ever win over the Saints in 1977 after an 0-26 start is got 8 percent, and a 2006 win over the Eagles on a 62-yard kick by Matt Bryant got 6 percent.
You can see all the options for all 32 teams here, and see how the voting went for each team by clicking on the team logo. …Full Story