Sunday, December 17, 2017
Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Rams make Michael Sam first openly gay player drafted

Missouri defensive lineman Michael Sam went to the Rams in the seventh round Saturday (249th among 256 picks), becoming the first openly gay player to be drafted.

"I knew I was going to get picked somewhere," Sam said from San Diego, where he watched the draft with friends, family and his boyfriend at his agent's home. "Every team that passed me, I was thinking how I'm going to sack their quarterback."

Sam publicly came out this year; his team and coaches found out before last season. Sam was the SEC defensive player of the year last season, but analysts considered the 6-foot-2, 255-pounder too short to be a defensive end and too slow to be a linebacker.

"In the world of diversity we live in now, I'm honored to be a part of this," Rams coach Jeff Fisher said.

With the draft's next pick, St. Louis took Tennessee State center Demetrius Rhaney.

"Michael Sam, he's like a brother now," Rhaney said. "That's my teammate. I can't wait to meet him, and let's get the ball rolling."

Rams draft ex-janitor: The Rams took in the fourth round Utah State safety Maurice Alexander, who two years ago worked as a janitor at their stadium. Alexander got kicked off the team for a year and was sentenced to a year in jail (all but 45 days suspended) for punching a teammate. He came home to the St. Louis suburb of Eureka and cleaned up after games. "I always stood at the end of that field, and I just looked at it," he said. "This could be my dream spot. That year off, it taught me a lot. I know it could be over quick."

Murray to K.C.: The Chiefs took ex-Georgia quarterback Aaron Murray, a graduate of Tampa's Plant High, in the fifth round. The SEC's career passing leader, who will compete with Tyler Bray for the No. 3 spot, said he knew the Chiefs were interested after an interview. "We were supposed to talk for 45 minutes, and it ended up being an hour-and-45-minute meeting," he said. "The scheme that we were doing at Georgia was the same as what they're doing up there. It was a great fit."

More QBs: A.J. McCarron, who led Alabama to two national titles, went one spot after Murray to the Bengals. He said he expects to learn behind incumbent starter Andy Dalton. LSU's Zach Mettenberger went to the Titans in the sixth round. Tennessee has endorsed Jack Locker as the starter, but he can become a free agent after next season. And the Texans, whom some analysts expected to use the top overall pick on a quarterback, took Pittsburgh's Tom Savage in the fourth round. New coach Bill O'Brien said he will compete for the starting job with Ryan Fitzpatrick, Case Keenum and T.J. Yates.

Bills: Tailback Bryce Brown was acquired from the Eagles for a 2015 conditional pick.

No Longhorns: No player from the University of Texas was drafted for the first time since 1937. QB Garrett Gilbert, who left Texas for SMU, went to the Rams in the sixth round.

Mr. Irrelevant: With the last pick, the Texans took Memphis safety Lonnie Ballentine. He is the guest of honor for the weeklong Mr. Irrelevant festivities in Newport Beach, Calif., which include a parade.

Comments

Bucsí Gerald McCoy, Lavonte David out for Mondayís game vs. Falcons

TAMPA ó As if containing All-Pro Julio Jones and the Falcons offense isnít challenging enough, the Bucs will try to do so Monday night without perhaps their top defensive players, tackle Gerald McCoy and linebacker Lavonte David.On Saturday, Bucs coa...
Updated: 5 hours ago
McCoy, David, Hargreaves all out Monday against Falcons

McCoy, David, Hargreaves all out Monday against Falcons

As if containing Julio Jones and the Falcons offense weren't challenging enough, the Bucs will try to so Monday night without perhaps their top two defensive players in DT Gerald McCoy and LB Lavonte David.Bucs coach Dirk Koetter on Saturday ruled bo...
Updated: 9 hours ago
Bucsí Ward glad to be back, eager for rematch with brother Terron

Bucsí Ward glad to be back, eager for rematch with brother Terron

Bucs safety T.J. Ward will make a healthy return Monday after missing two games with a concussion, and it's also a chance to face his brother Terron, a running back with the Falcons."Our whole family's going to be there, rooting us on," T.J. said aft...
Updated: 9 hours ago
Jones: Tony Dungy didnít leave the Bucs on the clearance rack

Jones: Tony Dungy didnít leave the Bucs on the clearance rack

It is and always will be the greatest debate in Tampa Bay sports history.Jon Gruden or Tony Dungy?You donít even need to say anything more than that. Bucs fans already know what youíre talking about.Gruden or Dungy?Who was most responsible for the on...
Published: 12/16/17
Jon Gruden or Tony Dungy? Why the debate rages on

Jon Gruden or Tony Dungy? Why the debate rages on

TAMPA — Bucs coach Jon Gruden did not win the Super Bowl with Tony Dungy’s team. Don’t believe me? Ask Dungy. "It wasn’t. They did a great job. They took it and tweaked it," Dungy said. "The same way I got a great (Colts) tea...
Published: 12/16/17
Staff writers pick sides (kind of) in the Dungy-Gruden debate

Staff writers pick sides (kind of) in the Dungy-Gruden debate

Even with ó perhaps especially with óJon Gruden set to be inducted into the Bucs Ring of Honor Monday night, Tampa Bayís Great Sports Debate hasnít abated. Who deserves more credit for the biggest moment in Tampa Bay sports history ó the Bucsí Super ...
Published: 12/16/17
Nobody has Jameis Winstonís back more than Dirk Koetter, offensive coordinator Todd Monken insists

Nobody has Jameis Winstonís back more than Dirk Koetter, offensive coordinator Todd Monken insists

Nobody is a bigger supporter of Bucs quarterback Jameis Winston than head coach Dirk Koetter.That was the passionate message that offensive coordinator/receivers coach Todd Monken unloaded at his news conference Friday, saying that reports that Winst...
Published: 12/15/17
Updated: 12/16/17
Bucs journal: Adarius Glantonís experience could come in handy for ailing LB corps

Bucs journal: Adarius Glantonís experience could come in handy for ailing LB corps

TAMPA ó The Bucsí linebacker depth was tested during the first five weeks of the season, when Lavonte David and Kwon Alexander missed a combined six games with injuries.And now, as David is again sidelined by a hamstring injury, the experience gained...
Published: 12/15/17
Cannon Fodder podcast: Letís revisit Monday night games in Bucsí past

Cannon Fodder podcast: Letís revisit Monday night games in Bucsí past

Times Bucs writer Greg Auman has injury updates on Lavonte David and Gerald McCoy and a nostalgic trip through the Bucsí history on Monday night, including the current three-game win streak and yes, that infamous 2003 Colts game where the Bucs were u...
Published: 12/15/17
Why the Bucs need a Dungy more than a Gruden

Why the Bucs need a Dungy more than a Gruden

TAMPA ó The worst week of Dirk Koetterís life rolls on.Itís Gruden Week, just like Shark Week, only with smaller teeth and a bigger playbook. Itís the big build-up to Grudenís induction into the Buc Ring of Honor this Monday night, with the accompany...
Published: 12/15/17