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Rick Stroud, Greg Auman and Matt Baker

Bucs' free agents express desire to return in '16

Pro Bowl RB Doug Martin is the biggest of the Bucs' unrestricted free agents who can hit the open market in March.

AP photo

Pro Bowl RB Doug Martin is the biggest of the Bucs' unrestricted free agents who can hit the open market in March.

4

January

Pro Bowl RB Doug Martin is the biggest of the Bucs' unrestricted free agents who can hit the open market in March, but other key players expressed an interest in returning to the Bucs and continuing the team's improvement next fall.

"It's all about opportunity for me and where I feel comfortable," said cornerback Sterling Moore, who established himself as a starter in the second half of the season before being slowed by an ankle injury last week. "Obviously I came here because I felt comfortable in the system ... It's all about the coaching staff and where I feel comfortable. I think I showed when I was out there I played well and things fit."

There are several free agents in the Bucs' secondary, and safety Chris Conte, who had 79 tackles and two interceptions before missing the final two games with a knee injury, said he hopes he can return to a system that he played in under Lovie Smith with the Bears.

"I think this team's headed in the right direction," Conte said. "There's still just pieces that we need and guys buying into the mentality of being winners. Of course, the team you were with, you want them to want you back. These are the coaches I've always wanted to play for, and hopefully they still believe in me and want me to be back. Definitely, this is the place I want to be and start something here."

Martin, who finished second in the NFL in rushing with 1,402 yards, said after Sunday's game that he wants to return to the Bucs and likes the direction the team is heading in after a 6-10 season.

"I would love to come back here," Martin said. "It's a young team and there were a lot of positive things that happened this year. I would love to be around when we blossom. It's going to be handled on the business side, so I have no idea. ... The way we ended is not how we intended to end, but on the bright side, a lot of positive things happened that we'll take into next year in the offseason, a lot of things to build on. ... This is a young team with a lot of great potential with a lot to prove and we will."

[Last modified: Monday, January 4, 2016 1:27pm]

    

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