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Bucs Beat

Rick Stroud, Greg Auman and Matt Baker

Bucs to sign rookie CB Jude Adjei-Barimah

Adding depth before the start of training camp, the Bucs on Wednesday will sign cornerback Jude Adjei-Barimah, an undrafted rookie from Bowling Green.

Adjei-Barimah, 5-foot-11 and 200 pounds, had 82 tackles as a senior in 2014, including four tackles for loss. He went to rookie minicamp with the Jaguars as a tryout player, but was not signed.

His signing will bring the Bucs back to a maximum 90 players for the start of training camp Saturday, replacing C.J. Wilson, who was placed on the reserve-retired list last week after losing two fingers in a fireworks accident July 4.

The Bucs have only one other rookie cornerback on roster in Texas A&M's Deshazor Everett, and only one other rookie defensive back in safety Chris Hackett.

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Bowers will compete inside at defensive tackle

Da'Quan Bowers played primarily at defensive end in his four seasons with the Bucs, but general manager Jason Licht said Tuesday that the former second-round pick, re-signed Monday, will get a look as a defensive tackle.

The Bucs have four established veterans there in Gerald McCoy, Henry Melton, Clinton McDonald and Akeem Spence, so for Bowers to make the team, he'd likely need to convince the Bucs they need to carry a fifth defensive tackle. Bowers played some inside at "three technique" last season, especially in nickel situations.

The three games in which Bowers saw his most snaps were games in which McCoy was either inactive or limited by his broken hand; of Bowers' 21 tackles in 2014, 14 came in four games where McCoy was either sidelined or playing with his hand in a cast. …

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Bucs GM Licht: It's not all on Winston's shoulders

The Bucs are prepared for their 2015 season to be wild and unpredictable – a little like the right arm of rookie quarterback Jameis Winston.

But according to general manager Jason Licht, who hopes Winston’s mistakes will be kept to a minimum, the No. 1 pick in the draft has energized the entire organization.

“I think if you look at the history of all rookie quarterbacks, most of them, a high percentage of them, throw a lot of interceptions,’’ Licht said Tuesday. “I’d be remiss to not say we’re not expecting some ups and downs but we’re doing everything we can to minimize them as much as possible.''

Winston and the other Bucs rookies reported to training camp Monday. The full-squad will arrive Friday and the first practice is Saturday morning.

Licht said defensive tackle Gerald McCoy is the face of the franchise and Winston respects it. However, he said Winston has added a ‘spark,’ to the team and veteran players are excited about his arrival.

“We had a lot of players coming up to (coach) Lovie (Smith) and myself giving us their opinion on who they wanted and it was pretty overwhelming (Winston),’’ Licht said. "It’s always good when they’re excited about it. …

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Bowl trip: Bucs rookies preparing for busy camp

Bucs quarterback Jameis Winston reacts after missing a spare during a bowling tournament between the Buccaneers rookies and Tampa Fire Rescue rookies at Pin Chasers in Tampa Tuesday.

JAMES BORCHUCK | Times

Bucs quarterback Jameis Winston reacts after missing a spare during a bowling tournament between the Buccaneers rookies and Tampa Fire Rescue rookies at Pin Chasers in Tampa Tuesday.

Bucs veterans report for the start of training camp on Friday, but 21 rookies are already in town, reporting Monday for a busy week of meetings and getting acclimated for their first practice Saturday afternoon.

That included a bonding trip to Pin Chasers in Tampa on Tuesday morning for some friendly bowling competition with the rookies from Tampa Fire and Rescue, but the Bucs players said they have long days this week preparing for the grind of training camp this weekend.

"We're gearing up, and when the vets get here Friday night, it's going to be heavy," said rookie receiver Kenny Bell. "It's off to the races. There's no  ... I don't want to call it babying. We're in meetings, up at One Buc from 6:30 in the morning to 10 o'clock at night, so if you want to get your own study time in, which you have to, it's going to take a lot of extra work. The great thing is we have a ton of guys willing to put in that work." …

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Bucs give Da'Quan Bowers another shot

In four seasons with the Bucs, Da'Quan Bowers played in 50 games, including 10 starts, and recording a disappointing seven career sacks.

DIRK SHADD | Times

In four seasons with the Bucs, Da'Quan Bowers played in 50 games, including 10 starts, and recording a disappointing seven career sacks.

Da'Quan Bowers will get at least one more chance to show the Bucs -- and the NFL -- he is worth another look.

The Bucs re-signed Bowers, who hadn't garnered much attention as a free agent, to a one-year contract Monday, four days before players report to training camp. The deal includes no signing bonus or guaranteed money.

A second-round pick by the Bucs in 2011 after leading the nation in sacks at Clemson, Bowers hasn't lived up to lofty pre-draft expectations. In four seasons with the Bucs, he played in 50 games, including 10 starts, and recording a disappointing seven career sacks.

For that, Bowers was paid $3.885-million.

The Bucs are hoping Bowers will provide some depth to a defensive line that lacks a proven edge rusher. Bowers has shown some versatility with his ability to play inside at defensive tackle on passing downs.

Last season, Bowers played in 11 games and finished with 21 tackles and 1.5 sacks. …

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Jameis Winston effect? Prices rising for secondary Bucs tickets

Whether it’s the addition of No. 1 overall pick Jameis Winston or something else, there appears to be a growing demand for Bucs tickets.

EVE EDELHEIT | Times

Whether it’s the addition of No. 1 overall pick Jameis Winston or something else, there appears to be a growing demand for Bucs tickets.

Whether it’s the addition of No. 1 overall pick Jameis Winston or something else, there appears to be a growing demand for Bucs tickets.

This time last year, the Bucs’ secondary tickets had a median price of $104, according to Vivid Seats, a secondary ticket marketplace. The average price was 27th in the league.

This year? The median ticket is selling for $154 on the secondary market – 18th in the league.

Seattle has the league’s highest median price ($412), according to Vivid Seats.

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Chris Leak part of Bucs' new community program

On a rainy Saturday morning at Skyway Park near the airport in Tampa, 41 young football players, ranging from fourth grade to high school, took part in the Bucs' first-ever "Cannonfire QB Clinic" youth camp, part of the team's new football development program.

The program, a community outreach effort that's an extension of the Bucs' marketing department, is comprised of a "Tampa 2" of director Darrell Taylor, who has a background with the Boys and Girls Clubs in Orlando, as well as Chris Leak, who was the starting quarterback on Florida's 2006 national championship team and was the Gators' receivers coach last season.

"It's another side of coaching -- developing it from a grassroots level. It's very rewarding," Leak said. "I've been under great coaches, and you see how important it is to build this game from the grassroots level up. It's only my first week, but I've had a great experience already. It's everything that encourages the safety of the game, the integrity of the game and just building lifelong fans." …

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Jameis Winston 'anxious' as Bucs training camp nears

Will Vragovic | Tampa Bay Times

Five days before the Bucs' full roster reports for training camp, rookie quarterback Jameis Winston said he's ready to get going.

"I'm anxious," Winston said Sunday afternoon. "I'm just looking forward to getting it started."

Winston, the No. 1 overall pick, was at Tropicana Field for the Rays' Florida State-themed Chop at the Trop. The Seminoles' Heisman Trophy winner caught the ceremonial first pitch from FSU coach Jimbo Fisher.

Fisher said Tampa Bay should be excited about Winston, because he's excited about the opportunity to play here.

"I think he'll do well," Fisher said of the quarterback who helped him capture the 2013 national championship. "I don't want to put too much pressure on him, but he's going to put pressure on himself. Jameis expects to do well. Again, like I've said before, I think he's everything, and everyone down here will find out what he is, and the people of Tampa will. I just think he's a tremendous, competitive player...

"I think hopefully he'll take off." …

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Jameis Winston lawsuit officially set for May 2017 trial

A federal judge has set a trial date for the sexual battery lawsuit filed against Bucs quarterback Jameis Winston.

A 10-day jury trial has been scheduled for May 1, 2017, according to a ruling filed Friday by U.S. District Court Judge Anne C. Conway in the Middle District of Florida. That's about a month later than the date attorneys for Winston and his accuser, Zephyrhills' Erica Kinsman, had agreed to in court documents filed earlier this week.

Kinsman sued Winston, the 2013 Heisman Trophy winner and the No. 1 overall pick in this year's draft, in April, claiming he raped her in December 2012 when they were both students at Florida State. Winston, who has never been arrested, has maintained his innocence and has filed a counterclaim against Kinsman, accusing her of defamation.

Conway also set a discovery deadline of Oct. 14, 2016 and a mediation deadline of Dec. 2, 2016. 

 

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Bucs made 'no promises,' to Dotson, who will report on time

Bucs right tackle Demar Dotson, who walked out of off-season workouts over a contract dispute, will report to training camp on time next Friday, general manager Jason Licht said Thursday.

But that doesn't necessarily guarantee Dotson will receive a new deal.

The Bucs pulled their offer for a multi-year extension worth at least $4-million per year after Dotson left voluntary workouts. Dotson did a couple smart things, He showed up for mandatory minicamp and dropped agent Greg Hobbs while signing with Joby Branion, reported last week by Greg Auman. Branion also represents Bucs' quarterback Mike Glennon and linebacker Bruce Carter.

Licht also had a face-to-face meetiing with Dotson to clear the air a bit.

The Bucs acknowledge the 29-year old Dotson is underpaid. But he has two years left on a contract that will earn him a base salary of $2.5-million in 2015 and $1.75-million in '16.

If Dotson performs as expected and maintaiins his starting spot early in camp, look for talks to begin between the Bucs and Branion. But Licht made no guaranteees. …

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Injured Bucs corner C.J. Wilson stepping away for now

C.J. Wilson is not expected to play in the NFL this season, but is practice-squad eligible and could rejoin the Bucs in that capacity late this season if his rehab progresses well, allowing him a chance to return to practice without taking up a roster spot.

JIM DAMASKE | Times

C.J. Wilson is not expected to play in the NFL this season, but is practice-squad eligible and could rejoin the Bucs in that capacity late this season if his rehab progresses well, allowing him a chance to return to practice without taking up a roster spot.

Bucs cornerback C.J. Wilson, who lost two fingers on his right hand in a fireworks accident on July 4, was placed on the reserve-retired list Friday, stepping away from football until his hand is healthy again.

Wilson, 25, has met with Bucs team doctors and trainers and will not count toward the team's 90-player roster limit when training camp opens next week. The Bucs will continue to hold his NFL rights, and players can "unretire" from the reserve-retired list at any point should Wilson make enough progress in his rehabilitation to try playing again. Wilson lost the index and middle finger in an accident while celebrating the holiday with friends and family in North Carolina.

Wilson's agent, Joel Turner, said Bucs coach Lovie Smith and general manager Jason Licht were "first class" in handling Wilson's accident and injury. He declined to comment on whether the team had provided any financial settlement with Wilson, though NFL teams are typically not obligated to do so with non-football injuries.

"He definitely wants to and plans to play again when healthy," Turner said. …

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Bucs, David still finding 'common ground' in contract talks

Lavonte David is a sideline-to-sideline tackling machine as one of the NFL’s best outside linebackers. But he still has a lot of ground to cover in contract talks with the Bucs to wrap up a long-term contract extension.

The Bucs and David have a significant gap to bridge in negotiations that could carry past the deadline for players to report to training camp July 31.

The 25-year-old David, the team’s leading tackler the past three seasons, is in the final year of his rookie contract and set to become a free agent at the end of the 2015 season.

But both sides appear focused on keeping David in Tampa Bay for the long-term.

“The one thing I don’t want lost is that we do realize Lavonte is one of the elite (outside) linebackers in the league and he’s a cornerstone player and he should be rewarded for his outstanding play and what he means to this organization,’’ Bucs general manager Jason Licht said. “We just need to find common ground.’’

The 6-foot-1, 233-pound David signed a four-year, $3.596-million contract as a second-round pick (58th overall) out of Nebraska by the Bucs in 2012. …

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Jameis Winston lawsuit could see trial in April 2017

Jameis Winston was chosen by the Bucs as the No. 1 overall pick in this spring's NFL draft.

JAMES BORCHUCK | Times

Jameis Winston was chosen by the Bucs as the No. 1 overall pick in this spring's NFL draft.

The legal drama involving Bucs quarterback Jameis Winston could continue for almost two more years.

Attorneys for Winston and the woman who sued him on a complaint of sexual battery have agreed to a tentative trial date of April 3, 2017, according to court records. That's almost two years after his accuser, Zephyrhills' Erica Kinsman, filed the civil lawsuit against Winston, who was chosen by the Bucs as the No. 1 overall pick in this spring's NFL draft.

The allegations date back to an off-campus sexual encounter in December 2012, when Kinsman and Winston were both students at Florida State. Kinsman accused Winston of rape; Winston was investigated but never arrested or charged with a crime. The 2013 Heisman Trophy winner has maintained his innocence and has filed a counterclaim against Kinsman, accusing her of defamation.

Documents filed Wednesday in the U.S. District Court's Middle District of Florida outline a tentative timeline for the case. The deadline for discovery falls in October 2016, and the mediation deadline is Dec. 2, 2016. A jury trial in Orlando could last about 10 days. …

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Experts: 'Gunslinger' Winston 4th tier QB...equals bad

What turns many scouts and analysts off about Jameis Winston was his alarming number of interceptions last season.

JAMES BORCHUCK | Times

What turns many scouts and analysts off about Jameis Winston was his alarming number of interceptions last season.

The Bucs believe Jameis Winston is a franchise quarterback and took him No. 1 overall in the NFL draft. But 35 people around the league asked by ESPN to rank passers don't think very highly of the Florida State star.

Winston was rated in the fourth tier of NFL quarterbacks in an annual survey by ESPN's Mike Sando. Perhaps more disturbing is he was ranked 26th ovrerall. That's one spot behind the Titans Marcus Mariota, who was selected second overall in the draft.

You may recall ESPN's Ron Jaworski rated Winston as the No. 32 starting quarterback in the NFL, just ahead of Mariota.

The survey and the comments were anonymous, so these league insiders didn't mind dumping dirt on the quarterbacks they hate.

What turns many scouts and analysts off about Winston was his alarming number of interceptions last season. He threw 25 touchdowns and 18 INTs last season. …

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Derrick Brooks voted as Bucs fans' all-time favorite

Derrick Brooks has been voted as the Bucs' all-time favorite player, according to fan voting on the team's official site.

Times files (2003)

Derrick Brooks has been voted as the Bucs' all-time favorite player, according to fan voting on the team's official site.

Former Bucs linebacker and Pro Football Hall of Famer Derrick Brooks has been voted as the team's all-time favorite player, according to fan voting on the team's official site.

Brooks, who was enshrined to the Hall of Fame and the Bucs' Ring of Honor last year, led a top five entirely comprised of stars from the Bucs' 2002 Super Bowl championship team -- fullback Mike Alstott, defensive back Ronde Barber, safety John Lynch and defensive tackle Warren Sapp filled out the fans' top five.

Another Hall of Famer -- the late Lee Roy Selmon -- came in sixth, followed by current Bucs defensive tackle Gerald McCoy, who was the first of three current players to make the all-time cut, along with linebacker Lavonte David (7th) and receiver Vincent Jackson (13th).

Here's a full rundown of the fans' all-time favorites from the Bucs' official site.

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