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Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Byron Leftwich is slimmer, happier

TAMPA — QB Byron Leftwich won't say exactly how much weight he has lost since the end of last season.

"I might even get smaller," said Leftwich, who is listed at 250 pounds on the roster but looks lighter as the team continues its voluntary team workouts at One Buc Place this week.

Leftwich will say he has lost double digits — more than 10 pounds — since February, when he won a Super Bowl ring at Raymond James Stadium as a backup with the Steelers. He credits his better shape to having a spring without the lingering injuries that have slowed him the past three seasons.

"This was the first time in a long time I had an offseason to use," Leftwich said. "In the past, I've been rehabbing, almost 2½ years, just straight rehabbing. It takes time to get back to your old self where you're moving and everything's fine. I'm finally at that point."

WILD CARD: RBs Earnest Graham and Derrick Ward will likely be the primary ballcarriers in the fall, but second-year pro Clifton Smith should have a larger role after working primarily on returns as a rookie.

"Clif is going to be the joker that can give us some really different things," running backs coach Steve Logan said. "Clif may have a more expanded role in this offense, rather than just as a punt returner. … We've talked to the kids about these last four OTAs, we're going to begin to try to focus on who brings what to the table, and then we'll exploit that as coaches. That's our job."

UNVEILED: Defensive coordinator Jim Bates said Elbert Mack is in position to be the third cornerback, behind Ronde Barber and Aqib Talib. … Talib and WR Antonio Bryant now have banners hanging from the northwest corner of the outside of Raymond James Stadium, joining linebacker Barrett Ruud among new players on display.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Byron Leftwich is slimmer, happier 06/03/09 [Last modified: Thursday, June 4, 2009 6:47am]
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