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Rick Stroud, Greg Auman and Matt Baker

What you need to know about Bucs training camp

The Bucs have their first training camp practice of 2017 at 8:45 on Friday, July 27. Here, the team practices early in last year's training camp on the way to a 9-7 record that just missed the playoffs.

LOREN ELLIOTT | TIMES

The Bucs have their first training camp practice of 2017 at 8:45 on Friday, July 27. Here, the team practices early in last year's training camp on the way to a 9-7 record that just missed the playoffs.

Training camp is here.

This morning is the first practice of the Bucs' 2017 training camp -- the first of 13 that are free and open to the general public -- so we have all the details to answer your questions about where and when and so on.

Today's practice starts at 8:45 a.m. and runs until 10:27 a.m. -- Dirk Koetter is nothing if not precise -- with gates opening for fans at 8 a.m. at One Buc Place. Admission and parking are free -- the parking is west of One Buc Place and the entry point for fans will be the gate outside the western fence surrounding the facility.

All practices start at 8:45 a.m. with one exception -- Aug. 19 starts at 9:45 -- and are generally scheduled to end between 10:30 and 11 a.m.

Dates for Bucs practices that are open to the general public: Friday, Saturday, Sunday (July 28-30); Aug. 2, 4, 5, 7, 9, 19, 20, 22, 23, 24. Two practices are for exclusive audiences -- Monday is a military appreciation day and Aug. 3 is for season-ticket members. The Bucs have two joint practices with the Jaguars in Jacksonville on Aug. 14-15 that are open to the public. …

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Jon Gruden on interest in return to coaching: 'Nothing changed'

Former Bucs coach Jon Gruden has kept the door open for a return to coaching, but reiterated Thursday night that "nothing changed" in his interest to return to the sideline and leave his job with ESPN's "Monday Night Football."

TIMES (2015)

Former Bucs coach Jon Gruden has kept the door open for a return to coaching, but reiterated Thursday night that "nothing changed" in his interest to return to the sideline and leave his job with ESPN's "Monday Night Football."

Former Bucs coach Jon Gruden has been out of coaching since 2008, and while he remains interested in a potential return to the sidelines, he reiterated Thursday night that as that interest goes, "nothing changed."

In a lengthy interview with PewterReport.com, Gruden was candid about his desire to at some point get back to coaching, but also made it clear he still enjoys his well-paying job as part of ESPN's "Monday Night Football" broadcast team.

"I’ve met with several people – I won’t deny that," Gruden told Pewter Report. "People – just about every year I talk about coming back to coach. I’m not in here every day at 4:30 or 4:00 in the morning watching pinball. You know? I’m preparing myself to come back. I am. Every day. I’m preparing to come back."

Gruden is mentioned as a candidate for high-profile vacancies every offseason -- he was linked to the Rams this past season. Asked by the Times on Thursday night if anything has changed with his interest toward a return to coaching, Gruden said: "No. Nothing changed."

Gruden has expressed an interest in returning before, always framed in a context of still enjoying his work as a TV analyst. …

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Bucs sign ex-Gators, Vikings DE Justin Trattou

New Bucs defensive end Justin Trattou played collegiately at Florida, and returns an interception in a 2010 game here against USF.

WILL VRAGOVIC | Times (2010)

New Bucs defensive end Justin Trattou played collegiately at Florida, and returns an interception in a 2010 game here against USF.

On the night before the start of training camp, the Bucs have made a roster move, adding former Gators defensive end Justin Trattou to take the place of rookie Evan Panfil, who was waived with an injury designation.

Trattou, 28, played in all 16 games for the Vikings last season, and he played two seasons with the Giants and the last four in Minnesota, getting 13 career tackles. Trattou was a starter on Florida's 2008 national championship team, getting 27 tackles and four tackles for loss. He's 6-foot-4 and 258 pounds and gives the Bucs more short-term depth as several defensive ends are recovering from injury.

Panfil, who signed with the Bucs as an undrafted rookie out of Purdue, worked with the team in OTAs and minicamp.

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DeSean Jackson: Ready for training camp in Ferrari 488 GTB

Bucs receiver DeSean Jackson pulled up for the opening day of training camp in a Ferrari 488 GTB, with teammate Mike Evans along for the ride

TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS

Bucs receiver DeSean Jackson pulled up for the opening day of training camp in a Ferrari 488 GTB, with teammate Mike Evans along for the ride

Let the HBO "Hard Knocks" over-the-top oneupmanship begin at Bucs training camp.

When the Bucs signed Pro Bowl receiver DeSean Jackson this spring, quarterback Jameis Winston explained that his new target was "a Bentley with a Ferrari engine" -- a nod to Jackson's smaller frame but elite speed.

And when Jackson pulled up to One Buc Place for the start of training camp on Thursday morning -- with teammate and Harry Potter superfan Mike Evans riding shotgun and sporting a black "STRAIGHT OUTTA HOGWARTS" T-shirt -- Jackson did so in a Ferrari. A white Ferrari 488 GTB, best we can tell.

Jackson got $20-million guaranteed on his new Bucs contract, so he can afford to drive what he wants -- in this case, a new 488 should start around $249,000.

Car & Driver ranks it as its No. 1 exotic sports car: "With its twin-turbo 3.9-liter V-8 located behind you, you’ll enjoy its sonorous wail, and ferocious acceleration, all the way to 8000 rpm, where it makes 661 hp," its review says, mentioning that it goes from 0 to 60 in 3.0 seconds. …

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Bucs' O.J. Howard says in NFL, 'it's an SEC game every day'

Bucs rookie O.J. Howard, shown playing for Alabama in the national championship game in Tampa in January, says every game in the NFL is an SEC game, with no letdowns.

ANDRES LEIVA | TIMES

Bucs rookie O.J. Howard, shown playing for Alabama in the national championship game in Tampa in January, says every game in the NFL is an SEC game, with no letdowns.

Bucs rookie O.J. Howard hasn't played in an NFL game yet, but he already appreciates the grind of an NFL season -- every week can be a loss, perhaps more so than in college football, where Alabama went 12-0 in nonconference, non-bowl games in his three years there.

"In the NFL, every guy is really good -- like Coach said earlier, it's like an Alabama-LSU matchup every day," Howard said Thursday as the full squad reported for the start of training camp. "That's exactly what it is -- it's an SEC game every day for me. No nonconference games, everybody's good and you have to have great technique."

Alabama outscored its nonconference opponents by an average margin of 41-8 in those 12 wins while Howard played for the Crimson Tide. But it's unusual to note that while some players can pile up stats in lopsided wins against lesser opponents, that's not the case for Howard. The only 100-yard receiving games of his three-year college career were both national championship games -- a win against Clemson to end the 2015 season and a loss in January in Tampa to end the 2016 season.

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Bucs' Mike Evans wants his 'A' game in 4th NFL season

Bucs receiver Mike Evans, shown during an OTA workout last month, said he wouldn't give himself an "A" for any of his first three NFL seasons, despite going to the Pro Bowl and twice catching 12 touchdown passes in a season.

LOREN ELLIOTT | TIMES

Bucs receiver Mike Evans, shown during an OTA workout last month, said he wouldn't give himself an "A" for any of his first three NFL seasons, despite going to the Pro Bowl and twice catching 12 touchdown passes in a season.

Bucs receiver Mike Evans has been in the NFL for three seasons, and in two of them, he's had 12 touchdown catches, setting and then matching his own team record. He made the Pro Bowl for the first time last season, but if you ask him to grade those three years, he doesn't see an "A" product just yet.

"Rookie year, B-minus," Evans said Thursday as veterans reported for the start of Bucs training camp. "C-plus my second year, and last year, B-plus."

His yardage total has improved each year -- 1,051 as a rookie, 1,206 in 2015 and then 1,321 yards last season -- and will benefit from the Bucs adding players like receiver DeSean Jackson and rookies O.J. Howard and Chris Godwin. He said

"I will improve," he said. "I'm feeling stronger. I'm getting older, more mature, and the game is slowing down each year. I'm looking to improve and get that 'A' grade."

Here's video of Evans talking about the Bucs' expectations of improvement this year. He also was given the Bucs' 2016 Pro Football Writers Association's "Good Guy Award," given to the player who best shows professionalism and helps writers do their jobs. Here's video of some guy presenting him with the award.

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Red zone: New-look Kwon Alexander eager to prove himself

Bucs linebacker Kwon Alexander sports a new look with red hair as players reported for training camp Thursday.

GREG AUMAN | TIMES

Bucs linebacker Kwon Alexander sports a new look with red hair as players reported for training camp Thursday.

On the morning that Bucs veterans report for the start of training camp, linebacker Kwon Alexander spoke with reporters and showed off a new red look to his hair, as well as an eagerness to get on the field and prove himself to doubters.

"First of all, we just all have to come together," Alexander said Thursday. "We're not worrying about what everybody else is thinking right now. We come together, we play together as a team and as a family, we can do a lot of big things. That's all we're worrying about right now."

Alexander, who turns 23 next week, led the NFL in solo tackles in his second season with the Bucs, and he said the continuity of having Mike Smith back for a second season as defensive coordinator will help -- last year's defense finished strong, though he conceded it took some time to get comfortable with the scheme. …

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Video shows ex-Bucs DT Brian Price going through glass door

Former Bucs defensive tackle Brian Price is shown in a video from a Michigan TV station running through the glass door of an auto parts store.

WDIV-Local 4

Former Bucs defensive tackle Brian Price is shown in a video from a Michigan TV station running through the glass door of an auto parts store.

More and more stories are coming forward of former NFL players and the sad, stunning effects of CTE after their football careers, and a new video shows former Bucs defensive tackle Brian Price running through the glass door of an auto parts store.

Price, now 28, is featured by a Michigan TV station in a segment talking about his post-NFL life, now married with a child and another on the way. There's also frightening video of an agitated Price outside a store, then charging straight through a glass door, and emerging moments later. His wife suspects he is suffering from CTE, and Price told the TV station he doesn't remember the incident, other than coming to with blood in his mouth.

Price, a second-round pick from UCLA in 2010, played only two seasons with the Bucs before his career was over, limited by injuries. He finished with three sacks and 24 total tackles in 2010-11.

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Jameis Winston as HBO star: 'I can't compete with Jon Snow'

Bucs QB Jameis Winston made a live appearance from One Buc Place on NFL Network's "Good Morning Football" on Thursday as veteran players report for training camp.

Bucs QB Jameis Winston made a live appearance from One Buc Place on NFL Network's "Good Morning Football" on Thursday as veteran players report for training camp.

This morning marks the official start of training camp for the Bucs, with veterans reporting today, two days after rookies, preparing for Friday morning's first practice.

And if the presence of HBO's "Hard Knocks" cameras isn't enough to add to the national buzz surrounding the Bucs, quarterback Jameis Winston made a live appearance on NFL Network's "Good Morning Football" show, talking about his excitement for the season ahead.

Among the highlights:

-- On whether he can be the next HBO star, following the Sopranos and "Game of Thrones": "I'm thankful for the opportunity. I can't compete with Jon Snow and people like that on GoT. Hopefully I can help lead my team to a few victories."

-- On what Mike Evans is if DeSean Jackson is "a Bentley with a Ferrari engine" as he's said: "Everything. DeSean's a special guy. He's been doing it in this league a long time. But Mike, man, Mike is my guy. He's a special kid as well. You can throw him the ball anywhere and he's going to catch that thing. He can go deep, go up. He's a specimen out there and I'm very thankful to have him." …

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'That's not me': Jaguars' Dante Fowler apologizes for arrest

Dante Fowler faces misdemeanor charges of simple battery and criminal mischief from his arrest, and entered a written plea of "not guilty" on Tuesday.

AP photo

Dante Fowler faces misdemeanor charges of simple battery and criminal mischief from his arrest, and entered a written plea of "not guilty" on Tuesday.

Former Lakewood High and Gators star Dante Fowler, now a defensive end with the Jacksonville Jaguars, spoke Wednesday for the first time since his arrest in St. Petersburg last week, apologizing to his team and fans.

"I would like to start off by apologizing to the organization of the Jacksonville Jaguars and also the city of Jacksonville for my actions and for what had gone down," Fowler told reporters as the Jaguars opened training camp. "I just wanted to let people know and everybody know that's not me as a person. I'm a better person than that, and it won't happen again."

Fowler faces misdemeanor charges of simple battery and criminal mischief from his arrest, and entered a written plea of "not guilty" on Tuesday. According to the arrest report, he was driving in an apartment complex when a man made a comment about his driving, and Fowler got out of the car, exchanged words with the man, hit him, knocking his glasses off, then stepped on the glasses. He picked up the man's grocery bag of "recently purchased liquor" and threw it in a lake, according to the report. …

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Bucs' Josh Huff has DUI citation dismissed, attorney says

Bucs receiver Josh Huff makes a first-down catch against the Saints, one of three games he played in for Tampa Bay last season.

LOREN ELLIOTT | TIMES

Bucs receiver Josh Huff makes a first-down catch against the Saints, one of three games he played in for Tampa Bay last season.

Bucs receiver Josh Huff continues to resolve the legal issues that cost him a job with the Eagles last year, as the DUI citation against him was dismissed Tuesday, according to his attorney.

Huff had been cited for suspicion of being under the influence of marijuana after he was stopped for speeding in New Jersey in November -- prosecutors dismissed that citation, and Huff pleaded guilty to the speeding citation, according to attorney Andrew Smith.

Huff had also been charged with unlawful possession of a weapon, but entered into a pre-trial diversion program in April that will allow that charge to be dropped upon completion of a six-month probationary period. Smith said in April that the gun was bought legally in Huff's home state of Texas, where he has a permit to carry it, but he did not have a permit in New Jersey.

The legal updates would make it easier for Huff to avoid any suspension from the NFL stemming from his arrest. The Eagles released Huff after he was arrested and the Bucs picked him up -- he played in three games, totaling three catches for 41 yards and returning six kickoffs for 72 yards. …

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Bucs DE Jacquies Smith (ACL) will start on active PUP list

Jacquies Smith will begin training camp on the active Physically Unable to Perform list.

DIRK SHADD | Times (2015)

Jacquies Smith will begin training camp on the active Physically Unable to Perform list.

In the first quarter of a season opening win at Altanta last season, Jacquies Smith suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee while attemping to cover a punt.

One of the Bucs' most promising young pass rushers, Smith had 13.5 sacks in 27 games during the 2014-15 seasons. He was expected to be the team's left end on passing downs.

On Wednesday, the Bucs announced that Smith will begin training camp on the active Physically Unable to Perform list. By placing him on the active PUP list, Smith will count against the 90-man roster limit and can be activated anytime before the final roster cutdown to 53 players.

It's a setback to be sure for Smith and the Bucs, who have not had a player record at least 10 sacks in a season since Simeon Rice in 2005.

The Bucs were confident enough that Smith would make an impact in 2017 that they tendered him a one-year tcontract worth $1.8-million as a restricted free agent. The designation Wednesday means the Bucs expect Smith to be ready sometime before the start of the regular season.

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Bucs rookies Beckwith, McNichols cleared for training camp

LSU linebacker Kendell Beckwiith (51) fell to the third round after he tore his anterior cruciate ligament in a game against Florida Nov. 19.

LOREN ELLIOTT | Times

LSU linebacker Kendell Beckwiith (51) fell to the third round after he tore his anterior cruciate ligament in a game against Florida Nov. 19.

The Bucs took a calculated risk on two injured players that were discounted in the NFL draft and it may pay off.

Louisiana State linebacker Kendell Beckwiith fell to the third round after he tore his anterior cruciate ligament in a game against Florida Nov. 19. Boise State running back Jeremy McNichols had surgery on a torn labrum in March and lasted until the fifth round.

Highly productive players in college, both Beckwith and McNichols passed physicals and have been clear for full participation in training camp which begins with the first workout Friday.

Rookies reported to training camp One Buc Place on Tuesday. The full squad will report on Thursday.

The 6-foot-3, 247-pound Beckwith had 91 tackles for the Tigers last season with one sack and four passes defensed. He will compete with second-year pro Devante Bond at the strong side linebacker position but also could be used as a pass rusher. …

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'Ready to win, and win big:' Dick Vitale sees Bucs going 10-6

ESPN's Dick Vitale, shown at One Buc Place last year when he announced a Bucs draft pick, has high hopes for Tampa Bay this fall, predicting a 10-6 record for the Bucs.

GREG AUMAN | TIMES

ESPN's Dick Vitale, shown at One Buc Place last year when he announced a Bucs draft pick, has high hopes for Tampa Bay this fall, predicting a 10-6 record for the Bucs.

ESPN's Dick Vitale, whose love and optimism for Tampa Bay sports teams goes far beyond basketball, has high hopes for the Bucs in 2017.

"Let me tell you this: Watch out for the Tampa Bay Bucs," said Vitale, wearing a creamsicle orange polo in a video posted on Instagram. "I anticipate a big year. Yes, I'm biased. I'm a season-ticket holder. They were 9-7 last year. 10-6! Jameis Winston's going to have a big year. He's got quality receivers, and I'm telling you, this team is ready to win, and win big."

Vitale, a regular at Rays home games as well, got to announce a Bucs draft pick last year, getting the honors in the fourth round in 2016 when Tampa Bay drafted cornerback Ryan Smith from N.C. Central. He had spent time with the Bucs' Jameis Winston and Donovan Smith before that appearance and came away impressed by two of the Bucs' key young players.

Back in April, Vitale lobbied for the Bucs to move up and get Florida State running back Dalvin Cook -- Tampa Bay ultimately passed on Cook in the first round before he went to the Vikings in the second round at No. 41 overall.

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Red state: Yes, Bill O'Reilly is a Bucs fan

Former Fox News personality Bill O'Reilly was sporting a red Bucs polo during his "No Spin News" video podcast Monday. An assistant said the shirt was given to him by former Bucs tight end Dave Moore.

Former Fox News personality Bill O'Reilly was sporting a red Bucs polo during his "No Spin News" video podcast Monday. An assistant said the shirt was given to him by former Bucs tight end Dave Moore.

TAMPA -- The question was simple enough for Bucs fans: Why is former Fox News personality Bill O'Reilly wearing a red Bucs polo?

O'Reilly was wearing the polo during a few video clips from his "No Spin News" podcast posted on his website Monday, which was exciting news for some Bucs fans and not-so-exciting news for others.

The source of his previously unknown Bucs support is right here in the Tampa area: Former Bucs tight end Dave Moore, now part of the Bucs' radio broadcast team, gave the shirt to the popular pundit, according to O'Reilly's assistant.

"Dave is a pal of his. He's a fan of the Bucs," said Makeda Wubneh, who has also worked with O'Reilly as a producer with Fox News, adding that O'Reilly had explained that the shirt was given to him by Moore.

Moore, entering his 11th season as part of the Bucs' radio broadcast team, wasn't in the office Tuesday at Moore Resources, the insurance company he opened in 2008, and couldn't be reached for details. He played 13 of his 15 seasons in the NFL from 1992-2006 with the Bucs, catching 207 passes with 28 touchdowns.

O'Reilly, 67, was fired in April amid an investigation into harassment allegations, ending his run hosting one of the most popular shows in cable television. O'Reilly will appear at Tampa's Amalie Arena on Sept. 23 as part of his "The Spin Stops Here!" tour.

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