TAMPA — To celebrate a new five-year, $35.7 million contract and finishing second in the NFL in rushing, Bucs running back Doug Martin treated himself to a week in Tokyo this offseason, taking in the Japanese anime he loves, and video games and much more.
"They're very serious about their video games over there," said Martin, who enjoyed Tokyo's Akihabara district, known for its gadgets and electronics and touted as a "gamer's mecca." "Going to Electric City, they have these buildings and on each level there's a different video game. Everybody's waiting in line to play the video games — it was a sight to see. One game on the whole floor. It's pretty wild. Street Fighter's on this floor, another game on this floor. Y'all have to go. You have to see it."
Wednesday was very much a back-to-work day for Martin, 27, as veterans reported for training camp, getting back to One Buc Place after a six-week break since mandatory minicamp. He's coming off a Pro Bowl season with 1,402 rushing yards, excited about the continuity that comes with offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter being promoted to head coach in January, replacing Lovie Smith.
"I'm coming in here all smiles," said Martin, prominently featured on a new mural on the northeast corner of Raymond James Stadium. "As an offense, I'm confident in what we're going to do this year. I'm very optimistic on this season. … I'm really excited. I'm very anxious to get going, to see what this team can do, see how we're going to improve. I can't wait."
For all his success last season, Martin knows he has areas to improve — after totaling three fumbles lost in his first three NFL seasons, he had five in 2015, three in the final five weeks of the season. It's something he has reviewed and focused on, working to improve his technique.
"I watched all those fumbles after last season," Martin said. "It was more of me fighting for extra yards, not having my other arm on the ball, other hand on the ball. That will all be corrected. I don't look to be fumbling that much this year."
Martin went home to California in the offseason as well — he was born in Oakland and raised in Stockton. He'll get a homecoming in October when the Bucs play at the 49ers, the second of three trips out west, with games at Arizona and San Diego also on the schedule. He's excited to return to his home state, reminded of the way it inspired him four years ago.
"You know what happened last time I went to go play in California, in Oakland," said Martin, referencing a 251-yard, four-touchdown game his rookie year that remains his career best. "It's good to have all that family support come to the game. That definitely boosts the energy for me."
NOTES: Continuing to tweak the bottom of their roster on the eve of training camp, the Bucs on Wednesday waived cornerback Joel Ross and claimed cornerback Daniel Davie, an undrafted rookie from Nebraska who was waived Tuesday by the Colts. It's the third addition this week for the Bucs, who claimed receiver Jonathan Krause from the Eagles on Saturday and also signed rookie offensive lineman Joel Hale on Tuesday. … The Bucs announced that individual single-game tickets will go on sale at 10 a.m. today for all home games.
Contact Greg Auman at [email protected] and (813) 310-2690. Follow @gregauman.