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)

Tampa Bay Buccaneers show interest in former Florida Gator Jeff Demps

TAMPA — Less than eight months ago, former University of Florida sprinter/running back Jeff Demps made a life-changing declaration, giving up football to pursue his Olympic dreams.

Now, with a silver medal in hand, Demps is realizing he can have the best of both worlds.

The versatile runner and receiver on Tuesday retained NFL agent Daniel Rose and is drawing interest from several teams, including the Bucs.

"There's a lot of interest," Rose said. "We talked to some teams before the Olympics, but we wanted him to concentrate on the Olympics. Preparing for the Olympics is a very regimented process, and he needed to focus on that.

"At 22 years old, how could you tell a kid not to go to the Olympics?"

That was the driving force behind Demps' decision in January to give up football. He said then: "I can have the mind-set of a full-time track guy now."

His track coach at UF, Mike Holloway, summed up the decision: "What has made Jeff unique is that Jeff has always done very, very good things in track and field while lifting (weights) and other things that football players do. … If you can do the things he has done, training as a football/track guy, what happens when he is just a track guy?"

Demps provided the answer in London, helping the American men's 4x100 relay team place second.

But NFL teams have continually expressed interest, Rose said, making it clear Demps has options. He returned from London on Monday, immediately turning his thoughts to football.

As of Tuesday, there was no resolution, but the Bucs certainly are in the picture.

"I've spoken to the Bucs," Rose said, "but there are a lot of other teams interested. He's not committed to any team yet. He just got off the plane. But Tampa Bay would be a great fit. We're going to let it play out and he'll be somewhere soon."

The postponement of Demps' football career proved worthwhile. Demps ran the first leg of the 4x100 preliminary in London, helping the quartet finish in 37.38, an American record.

The team ultimately placed second and Demps was awarded a silver medal. But Demps nearly didn't make the cut in the first place; he was added to Team USA in late July as a replacement for injured Mike Rodgers.

Demps is considered undersized for the NFL at around 5 feet 8 and 190 pounds, but his speed sets him well apart. It's an asset whether Demps lines up in the backfield or as a receiver, both of which he often has done. He also averaged 25 yards on kickoff returns last season at UF.

It's unclear how the Bucs would use Demps, but most of his experience has come as a running back. He averaged 6.7 yards per carry at UF, rushing for 569 yards in 12 games as a senior.

Rose said he was mildly surprised Demps wasn't drafted in April, though that was probably attributable to the decision to pursue track.

Demps' camp hardly has any regrets, especially given his real NFL prospects.

"It wouldn't have been in anyone's best interest to tell him to skip the Olympics," Rose said. "That's something he'll have forever."

Times staff writer Antonya English contributed to this report. Stephen F. Holder can be reached at sholder@tampabay.com.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers show interest in former Florida Gator Jeff Demps 08/14/12 [Last modified: Tuesday, August 14, 2012 9:23pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Alex Faedo, Florida advance to face LSU in College World Series finals

    College

    OMAHA, Neb. — Alex Faedo pitched three-hit ball for 71/3 innings in a second straight strong performance against TCU, and Florida moved to the College World Series finals with a 3-0 win Saturday night.

    Florida’s Austin Langworthy scores on a single by Mike Rivera in the second inning during a 3-0 victory over TCU.
  2. Jones: Bucs need success to get national respect

    Bucs

    Tampa Bay Times columnist Tom Jones offers up his Two Cents on the world of sports.

    No respect

    Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Dirk Koetter walks the field during the second day of mandatory minicamp at One Buccaneer Place in Tampa, Fla., on Wednesday, June 14, 2017. LOREN ELLIOTT   |   Times
  3. Rays journal: Jumbo Diaz falters after getting within a strike of ending rally

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — Saturday's game got away starting with a leadoff walk in the seventh inning by Rays LHP Jose Alvarado, who was brought in exclusively to face Baltimore's lefty-swinging Seth Smith.

    Rays reliever Jumbo Diaz wipes his face as he walks off the mound after the Orioles score four during the seventh inning to give them a 7-3 lead. Diaz was one strike away from working out of the jam before he allowed a two-run double and a two-run homer on back-to-back pitches.
  4. Rookie Jake Faria dissatisfied with performance in Rays' loss to Orioles

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — The rookie pitcher walked to his locker Saturday after tossing the fourth quality start in as many tries to begin his career. He held the potent Orioles bats to three runs and for six innings gave his team a chance to win.

    Orioles third baseman Manny Machado tags out the Rays’ Mallex Smith at third after a rundown in the first inning.
  5. Roger Mooney's takeaways from Saturday's Rays-Orioles game

    The Heater

    It was refreshing to see RHP Jacob Faria take the blame after the loss even though he gave the Rays a chance to win. Too often young pitchers are encouraged by what they did and not necessarily the outcome, but Faria, making just his fourth big-league start, came to the Trop to win, didn't, and pointed the finger …