Make us your home page

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Tampa Bay Buccaneers begin three-day player-organized minicamp

BRADENTON — Shortly after 11 a.m. Tuesday, Bucs quarterback Josh Freeman led more than 50 of his teammates onto one of three football practice fields at IMG Academies.

Just over a grassy knoll in one end zone, golfers swung rhythmically on a driving range, and the sound of wooden bats hacking baseballs in a nearby cage filled the air.

Against this busy backdrop, all kinds of players, including 2011 draft choices and veteran free agents, gathered to practice wearing no shoulder pads, no helmets and in some cases no shirts for what can be described only as the ultimate voluntary minicamp.

Some made the hour commute from their homes in Tampa, and others checked in at hotels to be ready for the two-a-day workouts that run through Thursday.

Freeman said he and several other veterans decided to pick up the tab for the IMG training staff, food and accommodations if players could provide their transportation to Bradenton.

"You can see the lockout on everybody's faces, even me," defensive tackle Gerald McCoy said. "Everybody looks like lockout. They don't look like themselves. They look like lockout."

To say what took place bared any resemblance to a minicamp that normally would occur at One Buc Place this week if not for the NFL lockout might be a stretch.

But getting that many teammates to forgo vacations and possibly risk injuries to practice on a sweltering day was a testament to the leadership of Freeman, whose voice is being heard well beyond the Bucs' huddle.

"It's a lot, just catching up to guys (to get them to attend)," Freeman said. "They say they'll get back to you, but they don't get back to you, and you've got to call them up. That happens. But I'm just really happy with guys getting here and working out. I'm really happy with the attendance."

Freeman had been working with selected receivers and defensive backs at USF and IMG. But he wanted to simulate a full-squad minicamp and got help organizing the event from McCoy, linebacker Tyrone McKenzie and center Jeff Faine.

Instead of Bucs coaches facilitating the workouts, Freeman enlisted the help of former Florida State quarterback Chris Weinke, director of the IMG Madden Football Academy, and his staff.

Several rookies attended, including first-round pick Adrian Clayborn, a defensive end from Iowa, and third-round pick Mason Foster, a linebacker from Washington.

McCoy took the lead with the defensive line, working individually with Clayborn. A year ago, McCoy had the benefit of organized team activities, minicamps and film study with coaches, and still struggled to adapt to the NFL until midseason. He said Clayborn's path might be tougher.

"The reason I singled him out is that I had the opportunity to go through (organized team activities) and minicamps and get some extra coaching and actually worked with the D-line coach," McCoy said. "The basics, that's kind of what I wanted to show him.

"This lockout is hurting everybody, mainly the rookies. The vets are fortunate to have played in this league. I only played 12 games, but I played so many snaps, it's like I played a full season. I had that advantage. But those rookies coming in, man, it's going to be rough on."

In the afternoon, the Bucs did some team work and seven-on-seven drills before breaking early to dodge a thunderstorm.

For the Bucs, it was a pretty good start to the season.

"It just says we have a hungry team and going out and winning football games next year is important to all our guys," Freeman said. "As far as I've seen, we have a lot of passionate dudes who made time in their schedule to get out here."

Tampa Bay Buccaneers begin three-day player-organized minicamp 06/28/11 [Last modified: Tuesday, June 28, 2011 10:01pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Bucs journal: Simeon Rice gives master class on sacks to defensive ends


    TAMPA — As the Bucs seek their first 10-sack season from a player since Simeon Rice in 2005, who better to help that cause than Rice himself?

  2. Bucs' annual Women of RED preseason party attracts nearly 2,000


    TAMPA — Theresa Jones is primarily a college football fan, but she wanted to get a taste of the Bucs. So the 46-year-old Tampa resident bought a ticket for the team's Women of RED Ultimate Football Party at Raymond James Stadium on Friday.

    Lee White of Seminole tries on a helmet at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Fla. on Friday, August 18, 2017.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers female fans descended upon Raymond James Stadium for the ultimate football party, the 2017 Women of RED: The Takeover, supported by Moffitt Cancer Center. CHARLIE KAIJO   |   Times

  3. Rays vs. Mariners, 1:10 Sunday, Tropicana Field

    The Heater

    Today: vs. Mariners

    1:10, Tropicana Field

    TV/radio: Fox Sports Sun; 620-AM, 680-AM (Spanish)

    Blake Snell
  4. Bucs' Ali Marpet: Move to center could pay off big


    TAMPA — No player works as closely with Jameis Winston as the center. Only those two touch the ball on every play. Together they make — if you will — snap judgements about defensive alignments.

     Jameis Winston #3 of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Ali Marpet #74 warm up prior to preseason game against the Jacksonville Jaguars at EverBank Field on August 17, 2017 in Jacksonville, Florida.  (Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images) 700069805
  5. Inside the Rays continuing historically bad slump


    The numbers tell the story of the Rays inexplicable ongoing offensive slump, and the words detail how tough it has been to deal with.