Friday, June 22, 2018
Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Bucs defensive end Aaron Morgan heads home to face Saints

TAMPA — Considering Bucs defensive end Aaron Morgan grew up in New Orleans, the matchup Sunday against the Saints in the Superdome will be a special homecoming.

But, truth be told, Morgan always felt more at home in bayou boats than on Bourbon Street.

"I was an outdoorsy kid," he said.

Morgan, 23, has fished since he was 3, largely because of his father, Jimmy Sr., a longshoreman. The family moved to Amite, a small town 80 miles north of New Orleans, when Morgan was 10 years old. He would help his dad around the house, from tractor work to gardening, and wrestle with his two older brothers.

But Morgan always found time to fish. To this day, Morgan and brother Eric, 34, have epic competitions each time they're in town together. They'll spend 12 hours in an aluminum, flat-bottom boat, searching for freshwater perch, catfish and bass, with points awarded for casting, type of catch and finding the best spots.

"When he comes home, I've got some redemption to do," Eric said, laughing. "He beat me real bad last time. He game-planned all that time to beat me that one time. It's okay. When we're home this time, I'm going to be ready."

The rematch won't come until the offseason because Morgan will be busy this weekend trying to reel in Saints quarterback Drew Brees. Morgan, promoted from the practice squad in early November, has received more playing time in recent weeks, used primarily as a speed rusher off the edge on passing downs.

Morgan, who was undrafted out of Louisiana-Monroe in 2010, is still developing as a player, but he's gaining confidence in the Bucs scheme.

And defensive coordinator Bill Sheridan said the 6-foot-4, 250-pounder has speed that makes him different from some of the other linemen.

"He brings a lot to this defense," defensive end Da'Quan Bowers said. "He's very, very fast. He can bend the edge. A lot of guys think he's all about speed, but he's got some power behind him, too. … He's bringing a different approach (that) fits in perfectly with what we're doing."

Morgan didn't watch or play much football until he got in high school. At a smaller school such as Amite High, with around 500 students, he had the chance to compete in several sports, including track, baseball, and basketball.

But Eric knew his younger brother's calling was football while watching one of his early junior varsity games.

"That week, he asked me, 'Is it legal for me to strip the ball from the running back when he has the ball and take it back for a touchdown?' " Eric remembered. "I told him, 'You can if you get your hands on the ball.' When I walked into the stadium, that was the first play I saw him do. It was kind of like a dream. Like, 'Is this really going on?' He stripped the ball and went back 40 yards for a touchdown. I was in awe."

Morgan's coming-out party came at the Superdome, when he led Amite to a Class 3A state championship in 2004. The game helped put him on the recruiting map before he landed at Louisiana-Monroe.

And on Sunday, Morgan will be back, with about 20 friends and family in the stands.

"It's exciting," Morgan said. "It's always good to go home."

Comments
Chris Godwin on SiriusXM: Bucs have confidence in backup QBs

Chris Godwin on SiriusXM: Bucs have confidence in backup QBs

Bucs receiver Chris Godwin, who has had as good an offseason as any Tampa Bay player, was on SiriusXM NFL radio for a scheduled interview on Thursday night, talking about a range of subjects, including the news of Jameis Winston's suspension to start...
Updated: 2 hours ago
With Winston suspension, how might Bucs split QB reps in preseason?

With Winston suspension, how might Bucs split QB reps in preseason?

With news that Jameis Winston will be suspended for the first three games of 2018, Bucs coach Dirk Koetter has an interesting decision to make for training camp and especially in preseason games: How does he split reps between Winston and backup Ryan...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Bucs QB Jameis Winston’s suspension: What they’re saying

Bucs QB Jameis Winston’s suspension: What they’re saying

There are so many sides to the Jameis Winston suspension, and it will continue to be a major Bucs story line through September and beyond. Here's some of the reactions and notes that have already emerged in the first 24 hours since news broke Thursda...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Welcome back to the dark side, Bucs fans

Welcome back to the dark side, Bucs fans

TAMPA — Thursday was not the end of Jameis Winston in Tampa Bay, but it is in sight.Me? I was sitting at home. I was tired of the NBA draft, even with Tampa's Kevin Knox going to the New York Knicks.So I switched to the NFL Network. An episode ...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Winston aftermath: Report says Darby wasn’t in car for whole ride

Winston aftermath: Report says Darby wasn’t in car for whole ride

There's no telling how much detail will be disclosed in what the NFL learned in its investigation that led to Jameis Winston being suspended for the first three games of the upcoming season, but some have already been reported in the first 24 hours s...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Kwon Alexander to Jameis Winston: ‘We gotcha back’

Kwon Alexander to Jameis Winston: ‘We gotcha back’

There are many questions in the aftermath of Thursday's news that Bucs quarterback Jameis Winston will be suspended for the first three games of the 2018 season, but even before the suspension is officially announced, he is drawing support on social ...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Sports Day Tampa Bay podcast: Jameis Winston to receive three-game suspension

Sports Day Tampa Bay podcast: Jameis Winston to receive three-game suspension

Bucs quarterback Jameis Winston will be suspended by the NFL for three games according to reports, and that number could go up if he doesn't meet certain criteria.Rick Stroud explains that the suspension is not for a failure to report the 2016 i...
Updated: 5 hours ago
Timeline of investigations, suspensions and allegations involving Jameis Winston

Timeline of investigations, suspensions and allegations involving Jameis Winston

The NFL will suspend Bucs quarterback Jameis Winston three games without pay to start the regular season for violating the league's personal conduct policy. The suspension could be increased if he fails to meet certain undisclosed requirements expect...
Published: 06/21/18
Updated: 06/22/18
Jameis Winston suspension means Bucs will turn to Ryan Fitzpatrick at QB

Jameis Winston suspension means Bucs will turn to Ryan Fitzpatrick at QB

TAMPA — The news of Jameis Winston's suspension to start this season likely means the Bucs will have veteran Ryan Fitzpatrick stepping in at quarterback for the first three games of the regular season.Fitzpatrick took over as the starter for th...
Published: 06/21/18
Next move is simple for the Bucs: Get rid of Jameis Winston

Next move is simple for the Bucs: Get rid of Jameis Winston

Trade him. Waive him. Cut him.Whatever.Just get rid of him.Jameis Winston should never play another game for the Tampa Bay Bucs.Plain and simple, he's a bad guy and the Bucs should have nothing more to do with him.He already will miss the first three...
Published: 06/21/18