Saturday, November 25, 2017
Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Bucs' Nicks excused from reporting day for personal reasons

RECOMMENDED READING


TAMPA — Bucs G Carl Nicks has not gone to work on a football field in about 10 months. He will have to wait at least another day.

Nicks did not report to training camp Thursday and was excused for personal reasons, coach Lovie Smith said. The absence, apparently, is not related to the toe injury or MRSA staph infection that limited him to nine games over the past two seasons. Smith said he was excused only for the day.

"It doesn't concern me," Smith said. "It's part of training camp, part of life. During the course of the year, you're going to have some guys where things come up and they can't be here."

Two players who missed offseason workouts due to undisclosed injuries, S Mark Barron and S Dashon Goldson, will be available when the team hits the field for the first time today.

"I think the rest of the guys should be good to go," Smith said. "It's a chance to see other guys. It's always about who's there and who's available to work out."

PAYING UP: The morning after his general manager challenged him to prove something during training camp, DE Da'Quan Bowers said he knows he must play better than his first three seasons.

"No question about it. I owe it to this organization, owe it to this team. I've been here long enough, and I haven't really been that player that I know I can be," he said. "I think it's time I really put forth that extra foot, to be that player that I know I'm capable of being."

Bowers totaled just seven tackles last season and underwent knee surgery for an undisclosed injury after being sidelined for the final two games.

Wednesday night, GM Jason Licht said he had to be "blunt" about Bowers showing his commitment to playing at the NFL level.

In three seasons, the 2011 second-round pick has 51/2 sacks but said he's physically in the best shape of his career.

"This is probably the best I've felt coming into camp over the past couple of years," he said. "It's been a consistent offseason for me. I've put in the work. I'm ready to finally reap the benefits."

PEP TALK: Smith isn't one for inspirational speeches to start training camp. In fact, he said his message is the same every year.

"I talk all season about the man in the mirror. I'm a big Michael Jackson fan, which says everybody take care of yourselves, spend all your time with you and improving yourself," Smith said, alluding to the 1997 song.

"It's just about having a career year. No matter how you've played so far, we need all of us to have the best year we've had, and it starts out there. It's not a magic pill. It's just hard work, going to work from today on, and that's what we plan on doing."

 
Comments
Bucs-Falcons: Tampa Bay Times staff predictions for Sunday’s 1 p.m. game

Bucs-Falcons: Tampa Bay Times staff predictions for Sunday’s 1 p.m. game

The Bucs face the defending NFC champion in its new home Sunday in Atlanta.Here’s the Times’ Bucs coverage team’s predictions for Tampa Bay’s 1 p.m. game against the Atlanta Falcons at Mercedes-Benz Stadium:MATTY ICE-FOLLIESRick Stroud, @NFLStroud: T...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Bucs journal: DE Will Gholston likely to return from neck injury

Bucs journal: DE Will Gholston likely to return from neck injury

TAMPA — Bucs DE Will Gholston is expected to make a healthy return Sunday in Atlanta after missing two games with a neck injury, and he’s thankful and relieved not to have to deal with anything more severe."It was knee-buckling," said Gholston, offic...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Cannon Fodder podcast: Eye on Julio Jones, new stadium

Cannon Fodder podcast: Eye on Julio Jones, new stadium

Times Bucs writer Greg Auman is back for one more Bucs-Falcons preview podcast, looking at Julio Jones’ rank among the all-time Bucs’ opponents, the new stadium in Atlanta, our story on game balls and much more. Listen below: ...
Updated: 10 hours ago
Bucs’ Will Gholston glad to return from ‘knee-buckling’ neck injury

Bucs’ Will Gholston glad to return from ‘knee-buckling’ neck injury

Bucs defensive end Will Gholston will make a healthy return Sunday in Atlanta after missing two games with a neck injury, and he's thankful and relieved not to have to deal with anything more severe."It was knee-buckling," Gholston said. "I was stand...
Updated: 11 hours ago
Bucs players, coaches say they cherish getting game balls for special feats

Bucs players, coaches say they cherish getting game balls for special feats

TAMPA — In the jubilant moments after a Bucs win, Dirk Koetter will sometimes ask for a game-used ball from his equipment staff, hold it high in the locker room and present it to the player who was most crucial to the victory.NFL players can ask for ...
Published: 11/23/17

Koetter says Bucs not distracted by Jameis Winston’s off-field issue

The Bucs are 1-0 since news broke last Friday of Jameis Winston being accused by an Uber driver of groping her during a ride in March of 2016.That's really all the evidence coach Dirk Koetter needs to say the issue has not been a distraction to the t...
Published: 11/22/17
Updated: 11/23/17
Presenting the 2017 Sports Turkey of the Year

Presenting the 2017 Sports Turkey of the Year

Happy Turkey Day!Today is a day of tradition.The Macy’s parade. Turkey and stuffing. The Lions and Cowboys.And our annual "Turkey of the Year.’’It’s a tradition started by my former colleague at the Minneapolis Star Tribune, the brilliant columnist P...
Published: 11/22/17
Updated: 11/23/17
Bucs journal: Gerald McCoy says team has not turned the corner yet

Bucs journal: Gerald McCoy says team has not turned the corner yet

TAMPA — The Bucs have some positive momentum with back-to-back wins, but DT Gerald McCoy said it’s too soon to say his 4-6 team has turned a corner."We haven’t turned a corner yet," McCoy said Wednesday, preparing for Sunday’s game at Atlanta. "It’s ...
Published: 11/22/17
McCoy is only Bucs player in Pro Bowl voting top 10s

McCoy is only Bucs player in Pro Bowl voting top 10s

The Bucs aren't faring well in early Pro Bowl fan voting, with DT Gerald McCoy as the only Tampa Bay player ranking in the top 10 at his position.McCoy, seeking his sixth straight Pro Bowl selection, ranks seventh among NFL defensive tackles, one wee...
Published: 11/22/17
NFL Week 12: Tampa Bay Times staff picks

NFL Week 12: Tampa Bay Times staff picks

Happy Thanksgiving! It's already week 12 of the NFL season, and the football feast is set to begin. It all starts at at 12:30 p.m. Thursday, when the Lions try to win their fifth straight Thanksgiving Day game against a Minnesota team out to bec...
Published: 11/22/17