Sunday, June 17, 2018
Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Tampa Bay Bucs' Ronde Barber says 200th straight start is just another game

TAMPA — Ronde Barber will play his first regular-season game at safety for the Buccaneers on Sunday. But that's not what will make the day special.

Entering his 16th season, Barber will make his 200th straight start, extending his record among active defensive backs.

"That's a lot of starts," Barber said Wednesday. "To me, it's another start; I've been fortunate to be able to do this for a long time. I've got an organization that's believed in me for 14 years, or however many years that streak goes over. So it's a little bit of an honor but I'm preparing for it like any other week.

"Some people would say luck's involved; I think your answer would be luck might be a part of it but other factors, too. I've been fortunate not to be hurt, certainly. But I don't believe in luck. I'm a guy who takes care of the things I need to take care of and prepare myself every week."

The Bucs are commemorating the occasion with free parking and half-price concessions (excluding alcohol) and a Barber gym bag for every fan. Barber says he's just excited for another opening day in the NFL.

"Absolutely. There will be a lot more fanfare surrounding me of course (with) Ronde Barber Day," Barber said. "So it'll be something special. I've gotten more requests than I've ever had for any game, but that's just part of it. Like I said, it's nice to be recognized for an achievement."

CORNERING THE MARKET: The Bucs re-signed CB Brandon McDonald to their 53-man roster and released G Derek Hardman. McDonald, 27, played in 13 games for the Lions last season. The Bucs also signed G Julian Vandervelde to the practice squad and released WR Bert Reed, a former FSU standout.

Tampa Bay has 11 defensive backs on its active roster compared to 10 offensive linemen.

Coach Greg Schiano said that shouldn't be a problem. "At the end of the day you are only going to dress seven or eight (offensive linemen) anyway," he said. "So we are able to practice. We are not putting a load on anybody.

"Defensive back, we have a couple guys that have nagging little things, and you know (the Panthers, Sunday's opponent) are going to play three wideouts and they are going to do those things. We have to be able to have enough defensive backs to defend them. We just want to make sure that we have the guys in house that can do it, and Mac (McDonald) is a guy who was with us and knows what we are doing and did a good job when he was here."

GAME DAY UPGRADES AT RJS: Fans who attend Bucs games at Raymond James Stadium this season will experience several game day enhancements.

The team announced Wednesday that it will offer free Wi-Fi, top-of-the-line game production, a new replay system and bolstered customer service.

"We're leaving no stone unturned in our efforts to maximize home-field advantage and make Sundays memorable for our fans," said Brian Ford, vice president of business administration.

Bucs fans also will experience a "Bucsparilla" pregame parade with the team's Gasparilla float manned by Captain Fear and his Krewe that will roll through parking lots and tailgate areas around RJS, distributing beads and other prizes.

Clubs will open an hour earlier and close an hour later than they did in 2011, and both entrances include a box office ticket service concierge stationed to answer any questions.

SELLOUT OR BLACKOUT?: The Bucs declined to disclose how many tickets remained to avoid a local television blackout of Sunday's game. The Bucs said on Friday they needed to sell 9,000 tickets by 4:25 p.m. today to reach the 85 percent general threshold to avoid a blackout. The fact the organization won't comment on how many seats remain could be an ominous sign.

Comments
Bucs journal: O.J. Howard poised to take off?

Bucs journal: O.J. Howard poised to take off?

TAMPA — There's always a lot of attention on the rookie class this time of year, rightfully so. There's a reason the Bucs focused on defense, and DT Vita Vea, CBs M.J. Stewart, Carlton Davis and S Justin Whitehead all look like they could have ...
Published: 06/16/18
Ex-Buc Kellen Winslow pleads not guilty to kidnapping, rape charges

Ex-Buc Kellen Winslow pleads not guilty to kidnapping, rape charges

Times wiresVISTA, Calif. – Former Bucs and Hurricanes tight end Kellen Winslow Jr. was jailed without bail Friday after pleading not guilty to nine counts of kidnapping, rape and other charges.If convicted on all counts, Winslow, 34, could face...
Published: 06/15/18
Bucs still don’t know when Jameis Winston will throw another pass that matters

Bucs still don’t know when Jameis Winston will throw another pass that matters

TAMPA — The last pass thrown by Jameis Winston in a regular-season game was his best. The perfectly arced, 39-yard strike to Chris Godwin for a touchdown with nine seconds left gave the Bucs a 31-24 win over New Orleans at Raymond James Stadium...
Published: 06/15/18
Bucs busy on next Ray-Jay renovation with East Stadium Club

Bucs busy on next Ray-Jay renovation with East Stadium Club

The first Bucs home game of the 2018 season is still three months off, but the franchise is busy getting Raymond James Stadium ready with the fourth phase of its $160 million renovation, highlighted by a new East Stadium Club.Construction continues t...
Published: 06/15/18
Sports Day Tampa Bay podcast: Gerald McCoy sounds off

Sports Day Tampa Bay podcast: Gerald McCoy sounds off

The Bucs wrap up minicamp as Gerald McCoy sounds off on the team getting help for him, defensive line coach Brentson Buckner yelling at the veteran defensive tackle and advice for the young players who now have five weeks off before training camp.Plu...
Published: 06/15/18
Gerald McCoy: ‘Stop saying Gerald got help. No, the Bucs got help’

Gerald McCoy: ‘Stop saying Gerald got help. No, the Bucs got help’

TAMPA — On the last day of minicamp, DT Gerald McCoy made it clear that the new additions to the defensive line are what the entire team needed, not just himself."It's not about me. It's about the team," McCoy said of the addition of five new l...
Published: 06/14/18
Updated: 06/15/18
Bucs hit summer break with optimism, eager for training camp

Bucs hit summer break with optimism, eager for training camp

TAMPA — This week's three-day minicamp was the final push in the Bucs' offseason, with about six weeks now until the team reconvenes in late July for training camp and the real preamble to the 2018 season.So what, if anything, can be gleaned fr...
Published: 06/14/18
Updated: 06/15/18
Maybe 2018 is the year the Bucs take that step forward

Maybe 2018 is the year the Bucs take that step forward

TAMPA — The Bucs wrapped up a three-day minicamp on Thursday.“I’m going on vacation,’’ Bucs coach Dirk Koetter said.The next time we see the Bucs will be in five weeks. Just around the corner. That’s when, official...
Published: 06/14/18
Updated: 06/15/18
Ex-Buc Kellen Winslow arrested on suspicion of rape, kidnapping

Ex-Buc Kellen Winslow arrested on suspicion of rape, kidnapping

Times wiresSAN DIEGO – Former Bucs and Hurricanes tight end Kellen Winslow Jr. was arrested Thursday on suspicion of multiple sex-crimes-related charges, including two counts of rape, the San Diego County Sheriff's Department said.The departmen...
Published: 06/14/18
Sealed and delivered: Bucs RB Ronald Jones signs rookie contract

Sealed and delivered: Bucs RB Ronald Jones signs rookie contract

The Bucs' 2018 draft class is now all in the fold, with running back Ronald Jones, second-rounder from USC, signing his rookie deal Thursday.Jones, who won't turn 21 until August after the Bucs go to training camp, was the last of Tampa Bay's eight d...
Published: 06/14/18