Two men for whom lifelong dreams came true on Thursday night took their next steps today when Tampa Bay Buccaneers first-round picks Mark Barron and Doug Martin were introduced at One Buc Place.
With smiles all around, coach Greg Schiano welcomed the pair of picks, saying, "I think I speak for all the coaches and everybody whose had a chance to be around these guys when I say we cannot wait to work with you guys."
For Barron and Martin, both low-key, businesslike young men, they spoke not of their elation over being drafted but, rather, about their plans to get started with helping the Bucs bounce back from a 4-12 season.
Barron knows what it's like to be a champion – times two – having won a pair of BCS Championships at Alabama. He doesn't plan to settle for less in Tampa Bay.
"Coming from the program that I come from, it's kind of just the mindset that I have," Barron said. "You want to be the best at everything we do. Every day we go out to practice (at Alabama), we're just working at being the best.
"I think I'm going to carry over that mindset with the way we did things at Alabama. I think that'll make it an easy transition for me to come in and have a great impact. I think I'll be able to bring that mindset of winning and wanting to be the best."
For Martin, being selected by the Bucs was quite fortuitous given Schiano's intent to run the ball with abandon behind what's expected to be a stout offensive line.
"It makes me real excited to know they're going to have a great emphasis on running the ball," Martin said. "We have a great O line this year and I'm excited to start the season."
While they play different positions, the Bucs saw a common thread in the two players in that they are known to be players of high character.
"It's the type of people we want to bring into our organization, what they are on and off the football field," general manager Mark Dominik said. "You don't become a leader and a captain on your football team unless you have a lot of positive attributes. As we dug deeper into these two men, we saw the same characteristics."