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)

Quiet night a happy one for new Tampa Bay Buccaneer Leonard Johnson

Former Largo High star Leonard Johnson makes the Bucs roster after going undrafted out of Iowa State.

DANIEL WALLACE | Times

Former Largo High star Leonard Johnson makes the Bucs roster after going undrafted out of Iowa State.

TAMPA — Leonard Johnson has lived a dream for a couple of months as the Clearwater native has suited up for his hometown team, the Bucs.

But the undrafted rookie cornerback from Iowa State still faced a very important obstacle: final cuts.

Friday night he cleared that hurdle — after some nerve-racking hours by the phone.

"(Friday) was a stressful time, but I was at ease knowing that I did put my best effort out and (played) to the best of my ability every day," Johnson said. "Either way it would have went, I think I would have been, not comfortable, but I would've been satisfied."

Johnson's phone never rang — that's a good thing — but he remained wary until arriving at One Buc Place Saturday morning for practice.

"I didn't know I made the team until I came to practice and got my playbook …" he said. "When I got in (Saturday) and I got that playbook, I just sent my mom a text message confirming it. But it's still a long way. I've seen two guys (cut) already."

While the roster will continue to be manipulated, according to coach Greg Schiano, meaning some reserve players could still be cut, the Bucs were impressed by Johnson's performance.

"If you look at his cumulative body of work this preseason, he's played pretty well," Schiano said of Johnson. "He's earned the right to be here. The competition goes on. But right now, he's in a position where he can help us win."

Making the cut allows Johnson to be a part of an event on Tuesday during which the Bucs will break ground on Tampa Bay Buccaneers Field in his old neighborhood. The project is being made possible by a $100,000 grant from the team.

"I wanted to ask how I could play a role in that because I played (there)," Johnson said. "They're opening a new field right in my community. It's going to be real big. If I can play a part in that, because … I grew up throwing footballs right on that field. … Now it's something great."

STILL FLUID: The Bucs still list WR Preston Parker as their top kick and punt returner, but Schiano is not committing to him or anyone else yet.

Rookie RB Michael Smith appears destined to be the kickoff returner after handling 10 of the 11 returns in the preseason. And Schiano said Parker might or might not be the punt returner, where WR Sammie Stroughter is a strong possibility.

"They're all in the mix right now," Schiano said. "I'm not sure who is going to be the guy. There may be more than one guy depending on the situation. I'm not ready to publicly say that. I think I have some thoughts and ideas, but we'll probably work through that more as we go."

Parker jeopardized his role as the primary return man by not cleanly fielding punts, a problem he had last season, too.

QUICK LOOK: The Bucs briefly considered signing former Falcons and Alabama QB John Parker Wilson to their practice squad Saturday before he agreed to join the Jaguars' practice squad. The Bucs, according to the Denver Post, agreed to sign QB Adam Weber to their practice squad, after his release Friday from the Broncos. Tampa Bay needed a practice squad quarterback because it has just two on its active roster.

Quiet night a happy one for new Tampa Bay Buccaneer Leonard Johnson 09/01/12 [Last modified: Saturday, September 1, 2012 7:04pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Lightning journal: Ryan Callahan feels good after first game action since January

    Sports

    TAMPA — As veteran RW Ryan Callahan was riding a stationary bike before Friday's exhibition game, he felt nervous. There was anxiety.

    Tampa Bay Lightning right wing Ryan Callahan (24) pursues Nashville Predators center Colton Sissons (10) during the first period of Friday (9/22/17) preseason game between the Tampa Bay Lightning and the Nashville Predators at Amalie Arena in Tampa.
  2. FSU players rally around freshman QB James Blackman

    College

    TALLAHASSEE — For the first few minutes Saturday, Florida State's James Blackman looked like a true freshman making his first start at quarterback for a big-time program.

    Florida State Seminoles quarterback James Blackman (1) gets sacked during the first quarter of the Florida State Seminoles game against the North Carolina State Wolfpack on September 23, 2017, at Doak Campbell Stadium in Tallahassee, Fla.  Final score, North Carolina State Wolfpack 27, Florida State Seminoles 21.
  3. No. 12 FSU, defense struggle in 27-21 loss to N.C. State

    College

    TALLAHASSEE — It's easy to blame No. 12 Florida State's 27-21 loss to North Carolina State on the injury to starting quarterback Deondre Francois or the three-week layoff because of Hurricane Irma.

    It would also be wrong.

    Florida State Seminoles wide receiver Nyqwan Murray (8) carries during the first quarter of the Florida State Seminoles game against the North Carolina State Wolfpack on September 23, 2017, at Doak Campbell Stadium in Tallahassee, Fla.  At the half, North Carolina State Wolfpack 17, Florida State Seminoles 10.
  4. Trump tells Warriors star Stephen Curry that White House visit is off

    Nba

    SOMERSET, N.J. — Stephen Curry and President Donald Trump agree on one thing: The Golden State star is not going to the White House anytime soon.

    Golden State Warriors' Stephen Curry poses for photos during NBA basketball team media day Friday, Sept. 22, 2017, in Oakland, Calif. [Associated Press]
  5. For starters: Rays at Orioles, facing another old friend in Jeremy Hellickson

    Blogs

    UPDATE, 3:29: Here is the Rays lineup, with Duda at 1B and Morrison the DH: