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Rick Stroud, Greg Auman and Matt Baker

Bucs WR Williams steals show, and football, from rookie S Barron



Bucs receiver Mike Williams expects to catch any football he can get his hands on -- even if he doesn't get his hands on it first.

Such was the case during a two-minute drill that turned thrill during Tuesday's practice. Needing a field goal to win and a touchdown to tie with less than a minute left and facing a fourth-and-25, quarterback Josh Freeman lofted a pass over the middle that rookie safety Mark Barron caught near his midsection, keeping Williams on his back.

But somehow, Williams reached around Barron to get both hands on the football and ripped it away before crashing to the turf. In the simulated game situation, Bucs place-kicker Kai Forbath then made the tying field goal to send the mock game in overtime.

"When we're playing our defense, man, I hate when they win because we go into the locker room and they talk a lot of stuff,'' Williams said.

"It was fourth down, we needed the catch. I just tried to do what I do best and make a play.''

Those types of plays were commonplace two years ago for Williams, who led all rookies in 2010 with 11 touchdowns. But last year, unable to train with the team due to the NFL lockout, Williams struggled. He reported to training camp out of shape and had only three touchdowns and was among the league leaders in dropped passes.

"His work ethic has definintely picked up,'' receivers coach P.J. Fleck said. "And he's reaping his rewards.''





[Last modified: Tuesday, August 14, 2012 12:27pm]


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