Bucs sign T Demar Dotson to a three-year extension
When Demar Dotson arrived in Tampa Bay as an undrafted free agent from Southern Miss known mostly as a basketball player, he didn't even own the right footwear.
"Everything I have in life I've worked for,'' Dotson said. "I came in here as a rookie and didn't even have a pair of shoes, a pair of cleats to come out here. I had to work myself up. I think that's just what God made me, a guy that always has to stay humble. Maybe if I get things too easy, I don't stay humble. I think just having things come hard keeps me on my knees and keeps me grateful.''
The Bucs on Monday locked up Dotson, their longest tenured player, by signing him two a three-year contract extension.
Dotson, 30, was in the final year of a contract that would've paid him $1.75-million in 2016. Terms were not released but the new deal runs through 2019.
Dotson has appeared in 72 games with 52 starts in his career with Tampa Bay. Last season, he suffered a left knee injury in preseason, missing the first 10 games. But he reclaimed his starting job from Gosder Cherilus before the end of the season and coach Dirk Koetter callled him the team's best offensive lineman early in training camp.
"As you guys know, he's one of the good guys, one of the great guys in the organization,'' Bucs general manager Jason Licht said. "He's been a cornerstone player for us and our extensions that we've done here recently with Gerald (McCoy), Lavonte (David) and Doug (Martin), these guys all have one thing in common. They work their (tails) off and are very consistent players, very good players in the league and you know what you're getting out of them every day on the playing field, on the practice field.''
A year ago, Dotson sought a new contract and held out of Organized Team Activities. But all those plans were erased when he suffered a knee injury in the preseason.
"I don't know if I would call it a dark, scary place, but I was pressing for this contract and I knew I wasn't going to get it right now,'' Dotson said. "So it was a little disheartening at the end of the day. But I was eager to get back and work. So when I got hurt, I knew I wasn't going to get (a new contract), so I got it out of my mind, so it just allowed me to focused on my rehab so I could get back and prove that I'm worthy of this contract.''
Dotson, who turns 31 in October, said his late start in football probably preserved his body.
"Even though I'm not getting younger, I'm not feeling old,'' Dotson said. "I think I can move just as good as a 22-year-old, I can do whatever anybody else coming in here can do. It plays the point that I didn't play a lot of football growing up. So even though I get older in age, I don't think my body is to that point where I wake up in the morning and feel like I'm almost 31 years old. I feel like I'm 25 years old.''