Bucs players report for preseason camp in just two weeks, and rookie TE Austin Seferian-Jenkins said his left foot is in good shape as he recovers from February surgery for a stress fracture.
"I feel really good. My foot feels really good," Seferian-Jenkins said last week from Arizona, where he has been training. "I've been running routes, doing all the exercise and workout drills that they've asked me to do. I feel very comfortable and confident that I'll be ready to go when it comes to training camp."
Seferian-Jenkins has been working in Phoenix with Team EXOS, an international sport performance company with clients ranging from 64 2014 NFL draft picks (11 first-rounders) to the German soccer team. The company also worked with Bucs rookies RB Charles Sims and WR Robert Herron this offseason.
Seferian-Jenkins was limited by the foot injury during the Bucs' three-day rookie minicamp, and because the University of Washington's academic calendar is on the quarters system, he wasn't allowed to attend any other workouts until classes ended in mid June because of an NFL policy designed to keep college players in classes for their final spring before joining the league. That kept him from attending voluntary offseason workouts and the mandatory minicamp (the absence is excused), so he has catching up to do in learning a new offense in training camp.
"The only thing you can really do is try to learn the formations and concepts, the methodology of the offense, but there's nothing that substitutes for the hands-on experience of being out there running routes and getting the timing down with the quarterbacks, the communication, all that stuff," he said. "There's definitely going to be a little bit of a learning curve, but that's to be expected when you're not there at all. It's nothing I can't overcome. I'm just going into it one day at a time and will be working really hard."
Seferian-Jenkins spent time with his fellow Bucs draft picks at the NFL's rookie symposium in Ohio and said he has bonded well with the other five picks, including Sims, Herron and first-round WR Mike Evans, who was his roommate at the symposium.
"I spent a good amount of time with all five of the other guys who are there," said Seferian-Jenkins, who had worked with Herron for about two months in Arizona before the draft. "I'm excited to work with them, and I'm excited to work with the veterans as well. We're all going to get better."
Seferian-Jenkins was the Bucs' second-round pick in May, taken with the 38th overall selection. He was the second tight end taken, behind Lions first-rounder Eric Ebron. Last year he won the Mackey Award, given to college football's top tight end, after catching 36 passes for 450 yards and eight touchdowns.
THIS AND THAT: For all the Bucs' offseason changes, national expectations for Tampa Bay for next season remain muted. Fox Sports' preseason ranking of all 32 teams had the Bucs at 32, and profootballtalk.com had them at No. 26. ESPN was rosier in its "Future Power Rankings," geared toward the next three years, putting the Bucs 17th. … The Bucs might not be the biggest story in Cleveland when they travel to face the Browns on Nov. 2. That's also the first weekend of the NBA season. No word yet on whether LeBron James will be at home or on the road.
Contact Greg Auman at (813) 226-3346 and at [email protected] Follow @gregauman.