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Rick Stroud, Times Staff Writer

Rick Stroud

Rick Stroud covers the Bucs and the NFL for the Times. He joined the paper in 1983 after graduating from Arkansas St., where he played baseball. He has reported on national sporting events including more than 20 Super Bowls, the NCAA Final Four, and the Major League Baseball playoffs. While working as the beat writer assigned to the University of Florida at the Times, Stroud's stories documented NCAA rules violations by the football and basketball programs. He began covering the Bucs in 1990. Since then, the team has undergone seven coaching changes, the death of owner Hugh Culverhouse and the sale of the franchise to billionaire owner Malcolm Glazer and a stadium referendum and a Super Bowl XXVII victory. He co-hosts a sports talk show weekday mornings from 6-9 on WDAE 620-AM, 95.3-FM.



Blog: Bucs Beat

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  1. Jameis Winston is not JaMarcus Russell



    If there's one thing that NFL scouts and personnel executives should be ashamed of this time of year, it's serving as one of the unnamed assassins that seem to surface the week before the draft in an attempt to devalue players.

    The latest example appeared last week in the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel in which a reporter Bob McGinn surveyed 19 NFL executives in personnel, revealing that they think Jameis Winston is much more likely to be a bust than Marcus Mariota....

    JaMarcus Russell, drafted by the Raiders in 2007, is perhaps the poster child for NFL quarterback flops selected No. 1 overall.
  2. Bucs weigh risk vs. reward in dealing No. 1 draft pick



    NFL draft-day trades — particularly those involving high picks — are rare and risky.

    For every sage, there's a sucker.

    Jimmy Johnson made the Cowboys a dynasty by shipping running back Herschel Walker to the Vikings for what he turned into a collection of eventual Pro Bowl players. Mike Ditka destroyed the Saints by swapping his entire draft with the Redskins to select running back Ricky Williams....

    EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - DECEMBER 14:  Eli Manning #10 of the New York Giants looks on during warm-ups prior to their game against the Washington Redskins at MetLife Stadium on December 14, 2014 in East Rutherford, New Jersey.  (Photo by Alex Goodlett/Getty Images)
  3. Bucs open 2015 season against Titans


    TAMPA — Jameis Winston and Marcus Mariota have both won the Heisman Trophy, played in national title games, met in the Rose Bowl and been courted by many of the same NFL teams heading into next week's draft.

    But that may not even be the beginning of their NFL quarterback rivalry story.

    If they are selected with the No. 1 and No. 2 overall picks as speculated, they may begin their pro careers on opposite sidelines....

    The Bucs are leaning heavily toward making FSU QB Jameis Winston the top draft pick.
  4. Bucs vs Titans open in possible Winston-Mariota showdown


    Jameis Winston and Marcus Mariota have both won the Heisman Trophy, played in national championship games, met in the Rose Bowl and been courted by many of the same teams heading into the draft....

  5. Analysis: Bucs consensus points to Jameis Winston


    TAMPA — Larger than Lee Roy. Bigger than Bo. More vital than Vinny.

    That's how ginormous this NFL draft is to the Buccaneers, according to general manager Jason Licht.

    "Personally, I think it's probably the biggest draft in the history of the organization," Licht said Monday. "We've got a real chance to really put us over the top and get us to the level that we think we're going to be at this year, which we think is competing for a championship. It's a great draft, and it's a great draft to have the No. 1 pick."...

    A civil lawsuit filed against Jameis Winston will not affect the Bucs’ draft plans. A trade offer would have to be in the blockbuster category.
  6. Bucs have 'total agreement' on No. 1 pick but will wait for draft


    Ten days before the NFL draft, the Bucs have come to a 'total agreement,' as to which player they will select with the No. 1 overall choice.

    But the team says it will not negotiate or attempt to sign that player prior to handing the card with the name of their choice to commissioner Roger Goodell on April 30.

    Barring a last-minute trade which seems unlikley, the Bucs are expected to choose either Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston or Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota and have spent extensive time with each player....

    "We're in total agreement,'' Bucs coach Lovie Smith said. "As a staff, not just (general manager) Jason (Licht) and I.''
  7. Lawsuit against Jameis Winston doesn't surprise Bucs



    There never has been a player entering the NFL draft more thoroughly investigated by the Bucs than Jameis Winston.

    "You wouldn't believe how many people we've talked to and how much research we've done," coach Lovie Smith said.

    That's why none of the information contained in Winston accuser Erica Kinsman's civil suit filed Thursday — two weeks before the draft — was new to the Bucs or most likely any NFL team. Not the reference to the plaintiff's victim advocate at Florida State informing Kinsman "that a second woman had come forward and reported being sexually assaulted by Winston." Not claims that the cab driver "observed the Plaintiff appeared to be impaired,' as Kinsman alleges in her complaint....

    NFL teams, including the Bucs, have spent months (if not years) looking into the background of FSU Heisman Trophy-winner Jameis Winston, still considered the favorite to be selected first overall by Tampa Bay in next week’s draft.
  8. Bucs used St. Attorney's office to background check Winston


    The Bucs exhaustive background check of Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston included discussions with Georgia Cappleman, the assistant state's attorney for Leon County, the Times confirmed.

    Cappleman was instramental in the investigation of allegations made by Erica Kinsman, who accused Winston of sexual battery, assault, false imprisonment and intentionally inflicting "emotional distress" during their December 2012 off-campus sexual encounter in Tallahassee. Kinsman filed a civil suit against Winston Thursday after multiple investigations ended without criminal charges for Winston, who has maintained his innocence....

  9. Molded in Hawaii, Marcus Mariota makes a splash



    The world's most ethereal football field is framed by swaying palm trees and rests in the shadow of Diamond Head on a bluff a few miles from Waikiki Beach, where surfers bob like buoys in the sparkling ocean, waiting for the perfect wave. • Marcus Mariota, eventual Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback, had to wait until his senior season to take a snap that mattered at the Saint Louis School, a small, diverse, all-boys parochial school that won 14 consecutive state football titles in the 1980s and '90s. • As a junior Mariota sat behind Jeremy Higgins, an all-state player who was a year older. The competition heading into fall was so close that the coach at the time, John Hao, decided that the quarterback with the higher completion percentage during a seven-on-seven practice would start the first game. • Mariota completed 78 percent of his passes. Higgins connected on 92 percent, was awarded the job, threw six touchdown passes in his first game and relegated Mariota to mop-up duty....

    The Heisman Trophy winner at Oregon has taken heat for being soft-spoken, including in appearances before the media, but a former coach says he now appreciates that’s who Mariota is and the QB isn’t going to change.
  10. Bucs trade for Lions defensive end George Johnson


    TAMPA — Two days after their offer sheet to defensive end George Johnson was contested by the Lions, the Bucs got their pass rusher Wednesday after some pre-emptive dealing by Tampa Bay general manager Jason Licht.

    The Bucs received Johnson and Detroit's seventh-round pick (231 overall) for Tampa Bay's fifth-rounder (168) in this year's NFL draft.

    Johnson, 27, signed a three-year, $9 million offer sheet as a restricted free agent with the Bucs on April 7. The Lions had seven days to match it but instead asked the NFL for clarification on the terms of the deal....

    Tampa Bay trades a fifth-round pick for DE George Johnson.
  11. Bucs reach deal with Lions to acquire DE George Johnson


    The Bucs finally got their man in Lions defensive end George Johnson, but it took some creativity.

    The team has agreed in principle to a trade with the Lions for Johnson, a restricted free agent who had signed a three-year, $9-million offer sheet with Tampa Bay on April 7.

    The Bucs acquired Johnson and the Lions' seventh-round pick (231 overall) in exchange for their fifth-round choice (168 overall) in the 2015 NFL draft....

  12. Bucs get DE Johnson in a trade with Lions


    The Bucs finally got their man in Lions defensive end George Johnson, but it took some creativity.

    The team has agreed in principle to a trade with the Lions for Johnson, a restricted free agent who had signed a threee-year, $9-million offer sheet with Tampa Bay last week.

    The Bucs and Lions will swap low-round picks, avoiding a dispute over elements of the offer sheet Johnson signed with Tampa Bay. The Lions had a week to match the offer sheet but had asked an NFL arbitrator for clarification on some de-escalators placed in the agreement with the Bucs....

  13. Winston shows sense of humor over crab leg at Alstott event


    A thick skin is an asset for any NFL quarterback and you can check that box for Jameis Winston.

    The prospective No. 1 overall pick of the Bucs attended the Mike Alstott Family Foundation celebrity outdoor weekend which began Thursday night in Clearwater. During a fundraising event, Captain Keith Coburn and his brother Monte from the Deadliest Catch were auctioning some Alaskan King Crabs. He tore off one of the crab legs and handed it to Winston, who accepted the gesture in stride....

    Jameis Winston attended the Mike Alstott Family Foundation celebrity outdoor weekend, which began Thursday night in Clearwater.
  14. Bucs make three costly errors in secondary: Revis, Barron, Goldson



    Defending the pass is paramount in the NFL, especially with rule changes limiting contact with quarterbacks and receivers. One mistake in the secondary can change the scoreboard.

    But the mistakes the Bucs have made over the past few years in acquiring — and discarding — talent at cornerback and safety has had a devastating impact as well.

    Consider the real cost of these defenders who no longer are on Tampa Bay's roster:...

    Tampa Bay Buccaneers free safety Dashon Goldson (38) during Tampa Bay Buccaneers Training Camp at One Buccaneer Place in Tampa on Monday, August 11, 2014.
  15. Winston's attorney: Jameis not ready as NFL player off field


    Jameis Winston's transition to the NFL at quarterback should be rather seamless. But adapting to the league off the field could be much more difficult.

    That's according to attorney David Cornwell, an adviser to Winston who spoke Friday at Villanova’s Moorad Sports Law symposium.

    "Jameis is ready to be an NFL player on the field. He's not ready to be an NFL player off the field,'' Cornwell said....

    “Jameis (Winston) is ready to be an NFL player on the field. He's not ready to be an NFL player off the field,'' his attorney, David Cornwell, said.