Saturday, April 21, 2018
Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Bucs get Demps but must wait

TAMPA — Jeff Demps likely would not have been able to pursue both of his passions with the Patriots.

But he might get the chance in Tampa Bay.

Thrown in as an afterthought in Saturday's LeGarrette Blount trade with the Patriots (which also netted a seventh-round draft choice), the former Gator comes to the Bucs as they try to satisfy their yearlong curiosity about the dual-sport star.

But if they truly want to find out what the scat back can do on the football field, the Bucs likely will have to tolerate Demps' exploits on the track, too. That's something the Patriots weren't willing to do.

"Track and field is not a money thing for Jeff," his agent, Daniel Rose, said. "He just loves track and wants to do it. But Tampa Bay has been great. I think they're okay with it."

Bucs general manager Mark Dominik was noncommittal.

"We've talked to Jeff a little bit," he said. "We understand what he's doing. We're just taking his rights to see what happens."

Demps, who graduated from Groveland South Lake High, rushed for 23 touchdowns at Florida. He won a silver medal as part of the 4x100-meter relay at the London Olympics in August, helping it set an American record of 37.38 seconds in a preliminary.

He returned to the United States with a renewed focus on football, declaring himself a free agent. The Bucs were among several teams to express interest, but Demps signed with the Patriots.

That's when he made a further impression on the Bucs.

When the Patriots traveled to Tampa last preseason for joint practices, Demps had a strong showing. He followed that up with a well-rounded performance in their preseason game, rushing three times for 41 yards, returning a kickoff 23 yards and a punt 16 yards.

"We watched him at the University of Florida, and we followed what was going on with the Olympics," Dominik said. "The thing we know is he's a compact, powerful but very fast runner who has the versatility and very soft hands. He does a lot of things that are intriguing."

That includes his pursuit of both track and football careers.

On Saturday, Demps competed at the Penn Relays in Philadelphia and was part of a 400 relay that finished third behind another American team and a Jamaican team.

With the track season extending through the summer, Demps might not be in position to participate in much of the Bucs' offseason program or even training camp. The last major event, the world championships in Moscow, are Aug. 10-18. So it's conceivable Demps, 23, could return in time to play in the regular season.

"I have a good feeling he'll be in a uniform this year," Rose said. "Will it be Week 1? I don't know. But I think he'll be playing."

Either way, Demps has no plans to walk away from track.

"He's going to finish the track season," Rose said, "and then he wants to go play football."

Signings: The Bucs signed two undrafted free agents from Purdue: former Plant High quarterback Robert Marve and running back Akeem Shavers.

 
Comments
NFL draft confessions: The Bucs set the trap, and I took the cheese on Johnny Manziel

NFL draft confessions: The Bucs set the trap, and I took the cheese on Johnny Manziel

TAMPA — The NFL draft is one big game of Liar's Poker. Deal me out.Even the guys with a seat at the table don't know when someone is bluffing.Bucs general manager Jason Licht knows that the team's No. 7 overall pick this year will be affected b...
Updated: 12 hours ago
Bucs’ Jameis Winston, Mike Evans catch Miami Heat game from courtside

Bucs’ Jameis Winston, Mike Evans catch Miami Heat game from courtside

We've seen Jameis Winston and Mike Evans bonding this offseason, going to Texas A&M pro day together, among other events. The two Bucs stars and their significant others double-dated Thursday night, getting courtside seats to watch the Miami Heat in ...
Published: 04/20/18
Sports Day Tampa Bay podcast: Bucs have a tough start to their schedule

Sports Day Tampa Bay podcast: Bucs have a tough start to their schedule

The NFL did the Bucs no favors with their 2018 schedule, Rick Stroud says, making them open at New Orleans, followed by home games against Philadelphia and Pittsburgh Plus, linebacker Kendall Beckwith had surgery to repair a broken ankle, p...
Published: 04/20/18
Here’s the Bucs’ full 2018 schedule

Here’s the Bucs’ full 2018 schedule

TAMPA — How good can the Bucs be in 2018? Fans will get a good sense in the first three weeks, as Tampa Bay opens the year with three of its toughest games, all against reigning division champions. The Bucs open 2018 in New Orleans on Sept. 9 ...
Published: 04/19/18
Updated: 04/20/18
Bucs linebacker Kendell Beckwith fractured ankle in car accident

Bucs linebacker Kendell Beckwith fractured ankle in car accident

TAMPA – Bucs linebacker Kendell Beckwith had surgery to repair a broken ankle he suffered in a car accident in Louisiana last week, putting his status for the start of the season in question.Beckwith was passenger in car driven by former L...
Published: 04/19/18
Bucs’ home schedule leaked: Hosting Eagles in Week 2

Bucs’ home schedule leaked: Hosting Eagles in Week 2

The 2018 NFL schedule won't be released until 8 p.m. tonight, but the Bucs' eight home games were posted early — and presumably accidentally — on the team's site, showing what would be a daunting start to the upcoming season.Multiple outl...
Published: 04/19/18
Is Alabama’s Minkah Fitzpatrick a first-round fit for the Bucs?

Is Alabama’s Minkah Fitzpatrick a first-round fit for the Bucs?

Minkah FitzpatrickPosition: SafetyCollege: AlabamaHeight/Weight: 6-1, 201Draft projection: First roundWhy Fitzpatrick makes sense for the BucsOne of the Bucs' biggest needs is to improve their secondary. Fitzpatrick is a playmaker, arguably the best ...
Published: 04/17/18
Jameis Winston set to make $21 million in 2019 as Bucs pick up his option

Jameis Winston set to make $21 million in 2019 as Bucs pick up his option

TAMPA — Jameis Winston is headed for a big pay day after this season, whether he gets a contract extension or not.The Bucs on Tuesday picked up the fifth-year option on Winston's rookie contract worth $20.9 million for 2019. The deal is not gua...
Published: 04/17/18
Get to know potential Bucs NFL draft target Vita Vea of Washington

Get to know potential Bucs NFL draft target Vita Vea of Washington

As next week's NFL draft nears, Bucs fans might want to learn a little more about a potential target at No. 7: Washington defensive tackle Vita Vea.The 6-foot-4, 347-pound monster moves very well for someone his size and could be an intriguing option...
Published: 04/17/18
DeSean Jackson and Jameis Winston were in perfect harmony on Day 1

DeSean Jackson and Jameis Winston were in perfect harmony on Day 1

TAMPA — DeSean Jackson and Jameis Winston were finally on the same page.For the first day of the offseason workout program, anyway.Jackson, 31, is coming off one of the worst seasons of his 10-year career with 50 catches for only 668 yards and ...
Published: 04/16/18