TAMPA — On the same day QB Josh Freeman and other team leaders began demanding Bucs players stay out of trouble, LB Geno Hayes showed contrition for his arrest early Monday, vowing there won't be a repeat performance.
"I apologize to the fans, this organization, and I promise you it won't happen again," Hayes said Wednesday. "I'm ready for Sunday. Let's get these Lions."
Hayes was accused of disorderly conduct and trespassing outside the Blue Martini nightclub in Tampa around 2 a.m. Monday. Police said he was arrested after an altercation with officers during which an officer attempted to use a Taser on Hayes, then resorted to tackling him when the device proved ineffective because of Hayes' thick jacket.
Hayes' comments came hours after Freeman stressed publicly a message that team captains have been emphasizing of late.
"We need to take care of business off the field," Freeman said. "It doesn't speak well of the type of coach Raheem (Morris) is. Raheem is a great coach. Everybody has the utmost respect for Raheem, and the talk's really just been, 'We've got to stop screwing this guy over by getting in trouble off the field.' "
Asked whether he thought it was fair that the team's three arrests since October could be seen as reflecting poorly on Morris, Freeman said: "Not at all. I don't think it says anything about the type of coach Raheem is. I think some people could look at it that way, but honestly, the circumstances which the stuff has occurred, it's all on the player. …
"We have to take a high level of responsibility on ourselves. As team captains, as leaders, we've been stressing that a lot lately."
Meanwhile, Hayes was making amends with teammates and taking criticism from coaches. Hayes said Morris had a simple message for him: ""Sometimes you just have to walk away."
Hayes will be assessed an undisclosed fine by the Bucs, per usual when players are arrested. But Morris has been taking things a step further, getting permission from ownership to funnel fine money to the team's community relations department. Then, Morris has the player involved perform community service, putting some action behind the financial penalty. Hayes said he hasn't yet learned what his penalty will be.
"We make them follow the money," Morris said. "That puts a spin on it."
FAMILIAR FACE: LB Tyrone McKenzie, promoted from the practice squad after LB Quincy Black broke his arm, said he was excited for the opportunity to play on the same field where he starred for USF.
"It feels good, just to be out there," McKenzie said of Raymond James Stadium.
McKenzie joined the practice squad last month shortly after his release from the Patriots. He was a third-round pick of New England in 2009 but spent his rookie season on injured reserve after a knee injury.
"I've been trying to learn everything," McKenzie said. "From Day 1, when I stepped in, I came here for a reason. I wanted to learn things fast as I could and get a good grasp on it so I can get the opportunity to go out and play."
WON'T BE LONG: S Cody Grimm, using crutches because of his broken leg, said he expects a smooth recovery that won't prevent him from participating in the offseason program.