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Bucs Beat

Rick Stroud, Greg Auman and Matt Baker

Smith: Bucs can honor Glazer best by winning

TAMPA -- Bucs coach Lovie Smith said when the thinks of Malcolm Glazer, he sees the joy the former Bucs owner had in hoisting high the Lombardi Trophy after his team won a Super Bowl after the 2002 season.

"My lasting impression of him would be holding that up, knowing how important these Tampa Bay Bucs were," Smith said Friday, two days after Glazer died at age 85 after years of health problems following a pair of strokes he suffered in 2006. "As I told our football team, eventually we'll have a chance to honor him in a proper way, but the best way we can honor him is to have a successful football team on the field next year, which we plan on doing."

Smith's first comments since Glazer's death came, fittingly, at a community event, as the Bucs unveiled the first of 21 "Buccaneers Academy Fitness Zones," with a huge red canopy emblazoned with the Bucs logo covering the outdoor playing court and providing shade for exercise activities at B.C. Graham Elementary, not far from One Buc Place. …

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Ex-Bucs players McCants, Ahanotu arrested

Two former Bucs players who have run into off-field trouble after their NFL careers have been arrested separately in the past 24 hours, with former first-round pick Keith McCants arrested in Pasco County on two misdemeanor charges and former defensive end Chidi Ahanotu jailed on a contempt of court charge related to a 1997 paternity suit.

McCants, 46, was arrested Thursday on charges of possession of drug paraphernalia and driving with a suspended license, marking his fifth Tampa-area arrest in the last four years. He had two arrests on possession of cocaine charges in Pinellas County in 2010 and 2011, and has had other drug-related arrests in other states as well. McCants was the fourth overall pick in the 1990 draft, but played only three seasons in Tampa Bay, playing sparingly in three more seasons around the NFL. …

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Bucs waive Anthony, sign ex-Rams CB Pointer

The Bucs continue to work to upgrade their depth in the offseason, signing former Rams cornerback Quinton Pointer on Friday and waiving second-year cornerback Marc Anthony.

Pointer, 26, has played sparingly in parts of two seasons since making the Rams' roster in 2012 as an undrafted rookie, totaling six tackles in eight career games. Anthony, who spent all of last season on the Bucs' practice squad, had signed a futures contract in January but faced long odds to make the Bucs' final 53-man roster.

Pointer is from Fort Myers and went to Cape Coral High, which also produced former Bucs stars Earnest Graham and Greg Spires. He played collegiately at UNLV and now joins a deep group of defensive backs that Lovie Smith and Jason Licht have worked hard to upgrade this spring.

The Bucs lost All-Pro corner Darrelle Revis in the secondary, but haved added another elite player in Alterraun Verner, as well as corner Mike Jenkins, nickel D.J. Moore and safety Major Wright. Pointer joins the likes of Deveron Carr and Rashaan Melvin as other young corners battling for the final roster spots behind the team's established players.

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Licht makes more changes to Bucs front office

First-year Bucs general manager Jason Licht continues to add new names to his front office in the weeks since the NFL draft, with new titles for a few key personnel executives as well.

-- Former Bucs linebacker Shelton Quarles, who was the team's director of pro scouting last season, remains with the team in a new position as director of football operations. Quarles had been in charge of the team's pro scouting the past three seasons, and it's unclear how his new role fits into the team's front-office hierarchy.

-- Scott Cohen, who was senior personnel advisor last season and has 23 years of NFL front-office experience, steps into Quarles' position as the new director of pro scouting. Quarles and new director of college scouting Mike Biehl, hired from the Chargers last week, will work under new director of player personnel Jon Robinson, who was hired away from the Patriots this month.

Robinson replaced Dennis Hickey, who left to become general manager of the Miami Dolphins, with Biehl replacing Eric Stokes, who is now Hickey's assistant general manager. …

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Tagliabue has fond memories of Bucs owner Glazer

We've talked to many people from the Bucs and around the NFL about the passing of Bucs owner Malcolm Glazer on Wednesday at age 85, and on Thursday, we were able to speak with former NFL commissioner Paul Tagliabue. The 73-year-old has fond memories of Glazer, having worked as commissioner from the family's arrival in Tampa in 1996 until Glazer was sidelined by two strokes in 2006. Here's the full story on what Tagliabue remembers most about Glazer.

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Warrick Dunn, Dave Moore, UK sites on Malcolm Glazer's death

Some more reaction to the death of Bucs owner Malcolm Glazer:

* Former running back Warrick Dunn said Mr. Glazer wasn’t like other owners he dealt with. He was quieter, a businessman who did most of his work behind the scenes.

“He wasn’t one of those guys that loved being in the spotlight, in front of the media,” Dunn said. “He was more of an individual that just wanted to have a successful product.”

When Mr. Glazer was around the players, Dunn said he was quiet but friendly. He asked about players’ families.  

And before every home game, he shook the hand of every player.

“He probably had the softest hands out of anybody I ever shook hands with,” former tight end Dave Moore said. “We used to kind of kid about it.”

They joked, but they appreciated the gesture. I spoke with three former Bucs yesterday; they all mentioned it.

“You could tell by the way he looked you in the eye and spoke to you, it was genuine,” said Moore, who spent parts of 13 seasons with the Bucs.  …

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Brooks remembers Glazer for handshake, bold decisions

Bucs owner Malcolm Glazer was remembered for greeting players with his 'legendary handshake,' before and after games and as an independent leader who wasn't afraid to make unpopular decisions.

Hall off Fame linebacker Derrick Brooks said he made it a point to be one of the first players in the locker room on game day to greet Glazer.

Glazer died Wednesday. He was 85.

"You would always see him come into the locker room, the legendary handshake and well wishes before the game and the celebrations afterward,'' Brooks said Wednesday. "He was always one to respect our space and yet let us know how proud he was of our work.

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Gerald McCoy mum on contract talks, Lovie Smith brief on Carl Nicks

Gerald McCoy today downplayed any talk about a new contract.

DANIEL WALLACE | Times

Gerald McCoy today downplayed any talk about a new contract.

TAMPA - A few quick Bucs hits from today’s organized training activity:

* Our Rick Stroud reported over the weekend that the Bucs are in talks with DT Gerald McCoy about signing the Pro Bowler to a long-term deal. McCoy downplayed any talk about a new contract.

“I don’t know nothing about that,” McCoy said. “I just come to work and practice, man.”

* Although many injured players were present for the workouts, G Carl Nicks (toe) was noticeably absent. And head coach Lovie Smith was noticeably terse when asked about it.

“No update,” Smith said. “He’s not here. He’s not here for voluntary work.”

That was it.

* First-round WR Mike Evans (hamstring) didn’t participate after injuring himself in last week’s OTA. WR Vincent Jackson ran on the sidelines but did not participate in drills.

“We’ll take our time with them,” Smith said.

S Mark Barron was very limited in practice, and S Dashon Goldson did not participate.

 

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Bucs hire new college scouting director from Chargers

Bucs general manager Jason Licht has made his third front-office hiring in the last two weeks, hiring a new director of college scouting in Mike Biehl, who has spent the last 13 years in the Chargers' scouting department.

Biehl, San Diego's assistant college scouting director since 2008, has worked in the NFL since 1998, spending three years with the Bills in personnel before joining the Chargers in 2001. He steps into the job that came open when Eric Stokes left the Bucs to become assistant general manager of the Dolphins under former Bucs assistant Dennis Hickey.

"I have great respect for Mike's professionalism, work ethic and knowledge of players that I have seen firsthand while scouting over the past 13 years," Licht said in a statement. "He's coming from an organization that has been among the winningest and most successful in the NFL during his time there and whose foundation has been built around draft picks, which was important as we researched all candidates." …

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Bucs on Twitter: Which players are you following?

With all the comings and goings at One Buc Place this offseason, we figured it was a good time to update the long list of Bucs players with accounts on Twitter -- there are 66 with active accounts, and you can follow them all (well, almost all) on one handy timeline here. We haven't included players with long-dormant accounts -- Jamon Meredith and Lavelle Hawkins, for instance, both have accounts but haven't tweeted since 2010.

Amassing a Twitter following is a combination of stardom and tweeting things interesting enough that people want to follow. You can follow our Bucs writers on Twitter at @NFLstroud@gregauman and @MBakerTBTimes. But here are the 20 Bucs players on Twitter with the biggest followings -- it's worth noting that safety Dashon Goldson has 10 times as many as his next closest teammate. And rookie Mike Evans was big enough at Texas A&M that he's sixth on the list despite not taking a single snap in the NFL yet. Here you go ...

1. Dashon Goldson (968,285)

2. Major Wright (91,470)

3. Da'Quan Bowers (73,617)

4. Doug Martin (51,822)

5. Gerald McCoy (49,171)

6. Mike Evans (47,175)

7. D.J. Moore (39,247)

8. Vincent Jackson (39,163)

9. Adrian Clayborn (35,741) …

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Bucs drop QB Smith, add more big TE/WR targets

TAMPA -- Wyoming quarterback Brett Smith, the only passer in Bucs rookie minicamp last week as an undrafted rookie, was among three players waived Wednesday as the team added four players.

As reported Tuesday, the Bucs added former Cowboys and Browns quarterback Alex Tanney, along with three undrafted rookies who bring even more height to the passing game: Harvard TE Cameron Brate (6-foot-5), Louisiana-Lafayette TE Ian Thompson (6-4) and N.C. State receiver Quintin Payton (6-4). To make room on the roster, the team also waived defensive tackle David Hunter and punter Jacob Schum, both signed as street free agents this spring.

Payton was Bucs quarterback Mike Glennon's top receiver in 2012 for the Wolfpack, leading the team with 51 catches for 798 yards. He scored only two touchdowns, and had 23 catches for 481 yards and three scores in 2013. Payton joins an already deep Bucs receiving corps, with 13 players battling for what will likely be five roster spots. …

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Bucs sign ex-Browns QB, Harvard TE after workout

Alex Tanney is perhaps best known for a "trick shot" viral video he made in 2011, drawing nearly 4 million views.

YouTube

Alex Tanney is perhaps best known for a "trick shot" viral video he made in 2011, drawing nearly 4 million views.

After not signing any of 23 tryout players from their three-day rookie minicamp, the Bucs made two moves Tuesday, signing former Cowboys and Browns quarterback Alex Tanney and undrafted rookie tight end Cameron Brate of Harvard after a workout at practice.

"It's pretty exciting," said Brate, who flew into Tampa on Monday and worked out after Tuesday's team practice with two other tight ends. "It was hot -- probably the hottest weather I've ever played football in. I'm not used to that, but it was a really cool experience, working out for the coaches and everything."

Tanney, 26, was with the Cowboys in preseason last year and on the team's practice squad before signing late in the year with Cleveland. The former Monmouth star is perhaps best known for a "trick shot" viral video he made in 2011, drawing nearly 4 million views.

Tanney played at tiny Division III Monmouth College, but set an NCAA record with his prolific passing there: 14,249 passing yards, 157 touchdowns and just 30 interceptions for his career. He completed 68.6 percent of his pass attempts, including 71.5 percent as a senior in 2011. …

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Bucs' Glennon knew 'QB of future' role all along

TAMPA -- Bucs coach Lovie Smith made it clear on the first night of the NFL draft that Mike Glennon is his team's "quarterback of the future," but the second-year pro said Monday that he had been reassured of that status throughout recent months.

The Bucs signed veteran Josh McCown and have him as the team's starter, but Glennon said Smith called him twice during the draft process -- amid talk of Tampa Bay drafting a quarterback and trading Glennon -- to make sure he knew his place in the team's future plans was unchanged.

"It was communicated a while ago, both with Lovie and (GM) Jason (Licht)," Glennon said after the Bucs' first organized team activity (OTA) practice. "We sat down and they discussed what the plans were for the draft and moving forward. They told me this all along, that I was their guy moving forward. Right now, it's a different situation with Josh here ... I'm looking forward to this season, still competing, still helping the team in any way I can." …

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Dashon Goldson still recovering from offseason surgery

TAMPA – Bucs S Dashon Goldson continues to rehab from a foot injury he said he suffered during the season.

The two-time Pro Bowler had an offseason procedure and said his rehab is a “day-to-day thing.”

“Right now I’m just seeing how fast I get back,” Goldson said after watching Tuesday’s practice. “I’m not trying to rush anything.”

Among the other players who did not participate in Tuesday’s drills: OL Carl Nicks, WR Vincent Jackson (tweaked hamstring), rookie TE Austin Seferian-Jenkins (foot) and FB Jorvorskie Lane.

Although Goldson hasn’t been able to practice yet, he said he likes what he’s seen from Lovie Smith and the new coaching staff and free-agent secondary additions Mike Jenkins and Alterraun Verner.

“The guys are responding pretty well,” Goldson said. “I think we’re on to something here.”

Whenever Goldson does return – he didn’t say whether he expects to be back for June minicamps or training camp in July – he said he’ll be confident in his game, despite being fined several times for illegal hits last year.

“I’ve got to be careful,” Goldson said. “I’m not trying to lose any more money or lose any games here due to suspension. I’ve just got to find my zone.”

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Bucs' Evans, Jenkins leave practice following passing drill

Mike Evans shows his leg to a team trainer.

EVE EDELHEIT | Times

Mike Evans shows his leg to a team trainer.

A one-on-one passing drill ended the day for two valuable Bucs' players.

Texas A&M receiver Mike Evans, the Bucs' first-round draft pick, and cornerback Mike Jenkins were injured early in the first organized team activity workout Tuesday.

Evans "tweaked'' his left hamstring and Jenkins had the wind knocked out of him on the play, head coach Lovie Smith said. Neither player returned to practice.

"Injuries are a part of it,'' coach Lovie Smith said. "Mike Evans today tweaked his hamstring a little bit. Things like that will come up from time to time. That's just part of the off-season program. Vincent Jackson has a little tweaked hamstring also. Those guys will eventually get back out there on the football field.

Evans participated in the Bucs rookie minicamp Fri-Sun. Earlier in the week, he suffered from dehydration during conditioning and vomited.

"I struggled with the heat last week,'' Smith said. "In Chicago, I hear it snowed last week, so that heat, it takes awhile to get used to. …

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