Make us your home page
Instagram

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Bucs welcome Adrian Clayborn's return

TAMPA — He didn't exactly run out of the southwest tunnel of Raymond James Stadium, received by a roaring crowd. But the mere presence of Bucs defensive end Adrian Clayborn on the field for the start of offseason practices on Monday was, in its own right, reason for celebration.

With the Bucs producing a woeful pass rush for several seasons (they ranked 29th in sacks in 2012), the importance of the starting right end's return from a torn knee ligament last season can't be overstated.

As half of an anticipated 1-2 punch with fellow 2011 draft pick Da'Quan Bowers, first-round choice Clayborn suffered the biggest setback of his college or pro career when his knee buckled in Week 3 against the Cowboys. It was a huge blow, only months after Bowers' severe injury.

As Clayborn left the locker room in Dallas, tears streaming after learning his season was over, he was in a bad place. But the guy who reveled in running around the field on Monday showed a rejuvenated attitude. That should help him tackle the tremendous expectations on him — ones greater than the 7.5 sacks he produced as a rookie.

"I think the main difference going into this year from last year is that I'm a little more appreciative of football and what I've got," Clayborn said. "I don't take it for granted. I mean, another play, I could be out."

So there's no time to waste.

That includes time rehabbing. Clayborn — much like Bowers during his recovery last year from a ruptured Achilles tendon — took advantage of his time off by working determinedly in the weight room. The results are obvious as he has a slimmer waist and more chiseled upper body.

"I feel like this is the strongest I've been upper body-wise in a long time, probably since college," Clayborn said.

Coach Greg Schiano, a big proponent of injured players doing exactly what Clayborn has, lauded his third-year end.

"Like Da'Quan did, when (Clayborn) was out with an injury that kept him from playing football, he took it as an opportunity to improve his entire body, not just rehab," Schiano said. "So, when I look at Adrian now that's a different-looking guy now than he was six to eight months ago. I think that's really going to pay dividends when he does get going."

Trainers are limiting Clayborn to individual drills for now, but he's still well ahead of some others returning from season-ending injuries. Guards Davin Joseph (knee) and Carl Nicks (foot) and cornerback Darrelle Revis (knee) might not participate in offseason workouts.

Clayborn could be cleared for full-team workouts within a couple of weeks, depending on the feedback Schiano receives from trainers. And it won't be a minute too soon, not with the tall order Clayborn faces.

He has to help make up for the loss of the team's leading pass rusher, Michael Bennett (nine sacks), in free agency.

"I think we made some strides last year," Clayborn said. "It (stinks) to lose Mike Bennett, but I think those guys made strides last year. Learning a new defense, being a year in, I know for myself, I feel like I know the defense a lot more and I know Bowers does. So I feel like we're going to make that next step."

Stephen F. Holder can be reached at sholder@tampabay.com or (813) 226-3377.

Bucs welcome Adrian Clayborn's return 05/21/13 [Last modified: Tuesday, May 21, 2013 11:07pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Volkov hopes to prove his surprise selection right

    Blogs

    RW Alexander Volkov was not a particularly talked-about player in the lead up to the NHL entry draft.

  2. Competition and uncertainty keep New Port Richey's Steve Miklos hooked on power boat racing

    Outdoors

    HOLIDAY — If Steve Miklos could have it his way, every power boat race would take place in rough water. He finds the turbulent conditions calming, an attitude he's developed during a professional power boat racing career that spans hundreds of races dating back to 1991.

    Steve Miklos, the throttle man and owner of the No. 51 Sun Print Racing boat, poses at his shop in Holiday. [CHRIS URSO   |   Times]
  3. Did a Cubs player give Trump the middle finger during a White House visit?

    Ml

    President Donald Trump welcomed former Rays manager Joe Maddon and the World Series champion Chicago Cubs into the Oval Office. But it was a photo that surfaced later that got much of the attention on …

    President Donald Trump welcomed former Rays manager Joe Maddon and the World Series champion Chicago Cubs into the Oval Office. But it was a photo that surfaced later that got much of the attention on social media.
The photo, taken by Lynn Sweet of the Chicago Sun-Times, purportedly shows outfielder Albert Almora Jr. flipping a bird while standing just feet from Trump as the other players were gathered around his desk. [Gordon Wittenmyer via Twitter]
  4. Jeff Vinik contributing $6 million to fund Lightning's practice facility upgrade

    Blogs

    With free agency beginning Saturday, Lightning GM Steve Yzerman will have another selling point in the courting process.

    The plan will create a brand new locker room and training facilities for the team, an 18,000 square foot addition.
  5. Buccaneers defense was among NFL's best when its pressure got to the QB

    Bucs

    It doesn't matter how many times they've thrown a football. It doesn't matter how many seasons they've played. It doesn't matter whether they have a degree from Harvard or Central Florida.

    Bucs defensive tackle Gerald McCoy recorded 6.5 sacks last season, but many of his other contributions didn't show up in the box scores. [ANDRES LEIVA   |   Times]