TAMPA — Adrian Clayborn wanted to make sure there was no misinterpretation as he made his first impression on Tampa Bay.
Standing behind a lectern at One Buc Place, the Bucs' first-round draft pick had to react when it was pointed out some defensive ends play with more finesse than ferocity but he might be different.
Clayborn interrupted and deadpanned: "That's not me."
Instead, Tampa Bay will come to learn the former Iowa star drafted Thursday night prefers to mix things up with opponents. He'd rather engage them than run by them. And he doesn't mind a little run defense, either.
In short, Clayborn is the sort of defensive end the Bucs haven't often had.
"I think I am (balanced)," Clayborn said. "That's why I consider myself a football player, not necessarily a pass-rush guy. I like playing both sides of the game. I think the run is more fun than the pass. I like kicking offensive linemen's (butts).
"I like to be physical. I'm going to have to switch it up a little bit and kind of get a finesse game. But any time I can get the bull rush, I'm going to do it."
And Clayborn said he hoped, more than anything, he'd get the chance to do it in Tampa after hitting it off with coach Raheem Morris and other members of the staff during the predraft process.
But there came a point Thursday night when he wasn't certain it would happen.
Clayborn pointed out the Browns traded up to the spot immediately behind the Bucs, No. 21, with — according to Clayborn's camp — an eye toward drafting him.
And Clayborn was jittery the Bucs might opt for another defensive end as the No. 20 pick approached. As he nervously sat in the Radio City Music Hall green room, Clayborn was most concerned about Cal's Cameron Jordan and Clemson's Da'Quan Bowers.
"When we got to 17 or 18, I start looking around at Cam Jordan like, 'Is his phone ringing?' " Clayborn said. "At one point, I couldn't see him. Then I thought about Bowers. I was like, 'I hope his phone's not ringing.' I just kept looking around. I don't know if anybody noticed.
"They took forever to send the pick in. I think there was about three minutes left. So for seven minutes, I was looking around like, 'What the hell's going on?' "
After Clayborn's fate as a Buc was sealed, everything was a blur. There were a series of interviews that lasted past midnight, a late-night dinner with family and friends in Manhattan and a 5:30 wake-up call Friday morning for his flight to Tampa.
Of course, Clayborn never made it to sleep. He was too excited about becoming a Buc: "I (said), 'I'm not missing that flight.' "
Stephen F. Holder can be reached at [email protected]