Once a walk-on, Bucs TE Cross enjoying familiar path as rookie
The Bucs still have seven tight ends on roster, likely battling for four spots on the final roster, but undrafted rookie Alan Cross knows this path well, having started his career at Memphis as a walk-on long-snapper.
"It's like I've told everybody, it's like I'm starting all over at Memphis again, some walk-on kid from Millington," said Cross, 23, who would become a four-year starter at tight end for the Tigers, catching 90 passes for 1,020 yards and 14 touchdowns. "It's been a great journey so far. They've given me a great opportunity to prove myself on tape, on the field and in practice."
Despite being a productive pass-catcher in college, Cross said blocking has been his best asset as a tight end, so he's had more work to do catching the ball. He has two catches for 20 yards in preseason -- draft pick Danny Vitale and backups Brandon Myers and Kivon Cartwright have combined for three catches for 7 yards by comparison.
"I'm still not good at it, but I've gotten better at route running, and trying to improve on that," Cross said. "Just trying to take deep breaths and play the game."
Cross, who sports a full red beard, bears some resemblance to actor John C. Reilly, and said he's been given a nickname from teammates: Mike Honcho, a nod to the modeling name of Reilly's Cal Naughton Jr. character in "Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby."
"I know what I've got to do. I've been here before," he said. "I just want to impress my coaches and my teammates."