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 wide receiver Antonio Bryant, tired of letdowns, hopes strong 2009 erases bitterness of 2008

“If you get in those playoffs,” Bucs wide receiver Antonio Bryant says, “it’s anybody’s game.”


“If you get in those playoffs,” Bucs wide receiver Antonio Bryant says, “it’s anybody’s game.”

TAMPA — You would be hard-pressed to find a Bucs player more stung by the team's late-season collapse in 2008 than receiver Antonio Bryant.

Even the four-plus months that have passed since Tampa Bay's elimination from postseason contention haven't eased his pain.

Only one thing will. It's only May, but Bryant already has an eye on January.

"I told ya'll a long time and I'm going to keep saying, I'm a bitter loser," Bryant said. "I'm going to put out, and I want my teammates to feel the same way. … I've had that (taste) a lot of times in this league. I've only been to the playoffs once. Just one game. My mouth is real bitter. It's all about getting in those playoffs. If you get in those playoffs, it's anybody's game."

Squandering multiple chances to squeeze into the postseason only made the frustration grow. The Bucs lost their final four games and were eliminated just weeks after holding a lead in the NFC South.

"Arizona (lost four of five) and they snapped out of it," Bryant said of the NFC champion. "We couldn't do the same. We had so many opportunities. … We still couldn't snap out of it. I hope everybody thinks about that, and it's a little motivation going into the season."

As for Bryant's personal performance in 2009, what should we expect from him after his strong bounce-back campaign last fall? Nothing less, he said.

"I've got a lot to prove," said Bryant, 28. "Last year was for the haters. This year is for the doubters."

Bryant has had his share of both. He played for the Bucs on a veteran-minimum salary last season after spending 2007 out of the NFL. He made a strong statement in his return, providing the Bucs with their most consistent offensive threat with 83 receptions for 1,248 yards and seven touchdowns. The Bucs designated him their franchise player, thereby protecting him by severely restricting his ability to move as a free agent and limiting him to a one-year, $9.88 million contract. In the end, he never received the long-term deal he was seeking.

To that end, Bryant is adamant he is not content to rest on his resume.

"I'm on the bubble," he joked. "I'm on a one-year deal."

Racking up as many catches as last season won't be a given considering the Bucs are moving to a new offensive scheme under a new coaching staff and have added offensive weapons such as tight end Kellen Winslow and running back Derrick Ward, who will command touches of their own.

"Nobody cares about what you did last year," he said. " … It may not be about me getting the ball. It may be about some other people getting the ball and opening it up. If that means Antonio's got to run 89 comeback (routes), if 89 comebacks get us in the playoffs and where we want to be, then I'll just run 89 comebacks."

Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Antonio Bryant, tired of letdowns, hopes strong 2009 erases bitterness of 2008 05/13/09 [Last modified: Thursday, May 14, 2009 9:02am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Lightning's Steven Stamkos looks close to top form in first game since November

    Lightning Strikes

    TAMPA — Lightning captain Steven Stamkos was curious how he would feel — and perform — in Friday's exhibition against Nashville, his first game since mid-November knee surgery.

    The Lightning’s Alex Killorn, left, makes his preseason debut and has an assist in a 3-1 win against the Predators at Amalie Arena.
  2. Rays journal: Rays tie franchise home run record

    The Heater

    BALTIMORE — A major flaw in the Rays offense this season — and thus a major reason for their inconsistent play and losing record — has been too much reliance on the home run.

    Wilson Ramos points after hitting a grand slam during the second inning, putting the Rays up 4-0.
  3. Ww's Odessabeach makes run at Husker Magic stakes final


    ST. PETERSBURG — When Hurricane Irma blew through Florida earlier this month, Ww's Odessabeach remained in her comfort zone.

  4. Steven Souza Jr. vindicating big trade for Rays

    The Heater

    BALTIMORE — There was a time when the three-team, 11-player transaction the Rays orchestrated to get Steven Souza Jr. from the Nationals looked liked a bad deal.

    The Rays’ Steven Souza Jr. has 30 home runs while improving his defense and baserunning.
  5. Rays at Orioles, 7:05 p.m. Saturday, Baltimore

    The Heater

    Tonight: at Orioles

    7:05, Camden Yards, Baltimore

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

    PORT CHARLOTTE, FL - FEBRUARY 26:  Pitcher Jake Odorizzi #23 of the Tampa Bay Rays poses for a portrait at Charlotte Sports Park during photo day on February 26, 2014 in Port Charlotte, Florida.  (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)