Greg Schiano's approach to signing former Rutgers players to the Bucs' roster
It’s a fair question: What’s coach Greg Schiano’s thinking behind bringing aboard numerous players he coached at Rutgers?
Looking at the Bucs’ roster, the former Scarlet Knights are piling up. Already, Schiano has re-signed center Jeremy Zuttah to a four-year contract, added free-agent defensive tackle Gary Gibson and signed safety Ron Girault. And since the draft, the Bucs and Schiano signed rookie free agent Desmond Wynn and brought back former Buc Derrick Roberson, a cornerback.
Counting paralyzed former Rutgers player Eric LeGrand – signed last week in a symbolic gesture – and players on tryout contracts, there were five former Rutgers players in the team’s weekend rookie minicamp.
All of which means what, exactly? That’s the question we posed to the coach.
Schiano admits to having a comfort level with his former players. But he emphasized that he promises them nothing and said they’ll be held to the same standards as every other player.
“Some of the guys that I’m very familiar with, if they’re available and I think they have a chance to help us, (we’ll sign),” Schiano said. “But my previous relationships will never cloud my vision on what’s best for the Buccaneers. And that’s exactly what I share with them. ‘Look, I want you to be here. I want to see if it can work. I appreciate your skills and your work ethic.’
“But at the end of the day, I have one responsibility, and that’s to the Buccaneers. So I’m going to do what’s best for them. As long as everybody understands that going in – not that it’s easy when you have to tell somebody they can’t work here anymore – that’s the way it is. That’s professional sports. . . I make it clear to them out of the gate that I’m doing what’s best for the Bucs. If you’re good with that, then let’s roll. All of them understand.”
Roberson and Schiano clearly had this conversation. Roberson holds Schiano in extremely high regard and expressed admiration for the kind of man he is. Even so, Roberson said he came into the weekend’s camp with no expectations.
“One thing I knew was that I couldn’t take me and Coach Schiano’s relationship for granted,” said Roberson, who last played in the NFL in 2010. “I knew Coach Schiano wasn’t going to give me anything. I knew I was going to have to come in and here and prove myself.
“I’m humble, and I’m back and ready to play football. I knew that was the opportunity he was going to give me, just to show that I’m able to come out here and produce. Nothing is (taken) for granted.”
UPDATE: Girault was released after this posting in Monday's roster moves.