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.

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E-mail: stroud@tampabay.com

Blog: Bucs Beat

Radio talk show (620-AM, 95.3-FM): Listen live

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  1. A day in the life of Derrick Brooks

    Bucs

    TAMPA — Derrick Brooks was going to jail. He would drive himself there, but the uniformed Hillsborough County Sheriff's deputies would be waiting for him at the correctional facility on Orient Road. He knew the way. Past the barbed wired fence, right at the first dirt road and through the secured door in the building on the left.

    It was 9:30 in the morning on the dot when Brooks, the Bucs' Hall of Fame linebacker, surrendered to authorities....

    A photo of Brooks giving a thumbs up on his office door where he is the President of the Tampa Bay Storm Arena Football Team.  [DIRK SHADD  |  Times]
  2. Bucs' Josh McCown back as starting QB; obvious rookie quotes

    Bucs

    Back in the saddle again

    QB Josh McCown reported to his 13th training camp Thursday, but it's his first as a starter in a decade. The 35-year-old was last counted on as the No. 1 in 2004 with the Cardinals. He then failed to throw a touchdown in his first four games and finished the season with 11 along with 10 interceptions for a team that went 6-10.

    "Very humbling, especially at this stage," said McCown, who went 3-2 as a starter with the Bears last season while throwing 13 touchdowns and one interception. "But I'm excited because you know where you stand going into camp. So it's definitely a little bit of a departure from different years. But I'm excited about it. I'm looking forward to it. It's going to be fun....

    Second-round draft pick TE Austin Seferian-Jenkins (87) stands on the sidelines during Tampa Bay Buccaneers rookie mini-camp on Friday, May 16, 2014.
  3. Bucs' Nicks excused from reporting day for personal reasons

    Bucs

    TAMPA — Bucs G Carl Nicks has not gone to work on a football field in about 10 months. He will have to wait at least another day.

    Nicks did not report to training camp Thursday and was excused for personal reasons, coach Lovie Smith said. The absence, apparently, is not related to the toe injury or MRSA staph infection that limited him to nine games over the past two seasons. Smith said he was excused only for the day....

    Accepting the challenge: Defensive end Da’Quan Bowers says he knows he must be better than the first three seasons of his career.
  4. Nicks fails to report, excused a day for personal reasons

    Blog

    Bucs guard Carl Nicks hasn't gone to work on a football field in about 10 months. He will have to wait at least another day.

    Nicks did not report to training camp Thursday and was excused for personal reasons, coach Lovie Smith said. The absence apparently is not related to the toe injury or surgery for MRSA which has prevented Nicks from playing more than nine games in two seasons with the Bucs. Smith said he is excused only for the day....

    Carl Nicks, pictured during minicamp in June, did not report to training camp Thursday and was excused for personal reaasons, coach Love Smith, right said.
  5. QB Josh McCown 'humbled,' by chance to start in 13th season

    Blog

    Bucs quarterback Josh McCown reported to his 13th training camp Thursday, but it's his first as a starter in a decade.

    The 35-year-old McCown was last counted on as the No. 1 quarterback in 2004 with the Arizona Cardinals, where he failed to throw a touchdown in his first four games.

    "Again, very humbling, especially at this stage,'' McCown said. "But I'm excited because you know where you stand going into camp so it's definitely a little bit of a departure from different years. But I'm excited about it. I'm looking forward to it. It's going to be fun. ...

    Josh McCown went 3-2 as a starter with the Bears last season, throwing 13 touchdowns and only one intercepetion.
  6. GM Jason Licht: Bucs could go from worst to first in NFC South

    Bucs

    TAMPA — Bucs general manager Jason Licht could have bobbed and weaved, or ducked the question all together: Just how good is this team?

    Since Licht and coach Lovie Smith are entering their first training camp in Tampa Bay and trying to turn around a 4-12 club, nobody would be surprised if they preached patience or even asked for a one-year grace period.

    But instead, on the eve of players reporting to training camp, Licht said Wednesday that he believes the Bucs could go from worst to first in the NFC South....

    Head coach Lovie Smith, left, and GM Jason Licht, right, are entering their first training camp in Tampa Bay and trying to turn around a 4-12 club. [JAMES BORCHUCK | Times]
  7. In Tampa Bay, Dungy never ran from distractions

    Blog

    Tony Dungy attemped to clarify his remarks regarding Rams defensive end Michael Sam. In a statement released Tuesday by Pro Football Talk, Dungy said, "I was asked whether I would have drafted Michael Sam and I answered that would not have drafted him.  I gave my honest answer, which is that I felt drafting him would bring much distraction to the team.''

    The interview took place sometime in May, based on Dungy's recollection that at the time of the interview, the Oprah Winfrey reality show had announced it would chronicle Sam's first pro season....

    Tony Dungy, right, traded for mercurial Jets receiver Keyshawn Johnson, left, in 2000.
  8. Five returning Bucs who might be fighting for jobs

    Bucs

    TAMPA — There are so many new faces for the Bucs that players from last year's team might feel like they've walked into the wrong locker room when they report to training camp Thursday.

    Coach Lovie Smith and general manager Jason Licht made sweeping changes with the Bucs coming off a 4-12 season. Most of the additions came on offense, which ranked last in the NFL in 2013. A number of borderline prospects survived the initial purge, but there's still plenty of cutting to do to reach the 53-man roster....

    Bobby Rainey, picked up off the waiver wire during last season, led the Bucs in rushing in 2013 with 532 yards and had five of the team’s six rushing touchdowns. But with more depth, including starter Doug Martin’s return from injury,  Rainey faces competition in camp.
  9. Bucs' Bowers night with former Destiny's Child member lands her in jail

    Blog

    The last weekend before the start of training camp can create some anxious moments for NFL coaches and executives as players enjoy their final freedom before the grind of the season. Things can get out of hand.

    As Da'Quan Bowers tweeted Sunday morning, "What a crazy night...''

    Bowers, the Bucs defensive end, flew former Destiny's Child singer Farrah Franklin to Myrtle Beach to spend the weekend with him and Texans linebacker Ricky Sapp, a teammate of Bowers' at Clemson....

    Entering his fourth season, Da'Quan Bowers has only 5.5 career sacks and faces an uphill battle to make the final roster.
  10. Bucs need quarterback Josh McCown to exceed expectations

    Bucs

    TAMPA

    Only seven projected starting quarterbacks this year are ranked lower than the Bucs' Josh McCown by ESPN analyst and passing guru Ron Jaworski.

    McCown comes in at No. 25, ahead of the Browns' Brian Hoyer (26th), the Jaguars' Chad Henne (27), the Bills' EJ Manuel (28), the Titans' Jake Locker (29), the Jets' Geno Smith (30), the Texans' Ryan Fitzpatrick (31) and the Vikings' Matt Cassel (32)....

    Quarterback Josh McCown makes a pass during drills at a Bucs minicamp practice last month at One Buc Place. [DANIEL WALLACE   |   Times]
  11. 2014 Tampa Bay Bucs training camp schedule

    Bucs

    What: Tampa Bay Buccaneers training camp

    When: Players report Thursday

    Where: One Buc Place

    Workout dates (Open to the public, admission is free. Schedule and times subject to change): July 25, 4:30-7 p.m.; July 26, 4:30-7 p.m.; July 27, 2-4:30 p.m.; July 28 1-3:30 p.m.; July 31, 2-4:30 p.m.; Aug. 1, 7:30-9:30 p.m. at Raymond James Stadium; Aug. 3, 4:30-7 p.m.; Aug. 4, 4:30-7 p.m.; Aug. 5, 4:30-7 p.m.; Aug. 10, 2-4:30 p.m.; Aug. 11, 4:30-7 p.m.; Aug. 12, 4:30-7 p.m.; Aug. 14, 2-4:30 p.m....

  12. Bucs rebuilding in an impatient time

    Bucs

    TAMPA — The biggest change in the NFL over the years is that it mirrors our Instagram society. The picture can change in a hurry.

    Since January, the 4-12 Bucs have hired coach Lovie Smith, installed new systems on offense and defense and changed the roster, so much so that half of the players on the 53-man squad for the regular season could be making their first appearance in a Tampa Bay uniform....

    Bucs coach Lovie Smith learned much about his players throughout workouts.
  13. Bucs coach Lovie Smith: Proud father

    Bucs

    TAMPA — Lovie Smith is going soft. As he sits in his spacious office at One Buc Place overlooking three empty emerald practice fields, his sturdy veneer shatters, cracking open a smile.

    The new Bucs coach is talking about spending face time with his youngest grandchild, 18-month-old Jackson. The cooing and drooling can get completely out of hand. Not by Jackson, by Lovie.

    "There probably isn't a more doting grandfather in the world than him," says his son Matthew, 27, the middle of Smith's three sons, who lives in Chicago....

    On new Bucs coach Lovie Smith’s staff are sons Miles (intern) and Mikal (safeties coach).
  14. St. Petersburg native Louis Murphy makes bid for spot with Bucs

    Bucs

    TAMPA — It's overcast, and Louis Murphy is shying away from any contact. Actually, he's avoiding talking about his contacts, which are normally blood red and give his eyes the appearance of a wolf's caught in headlights.

    "It's not all fashion," the Bucs receiver said. "It's just my little secret. I don't want to say (what it does) so my opponents can't find out what they are. I just started using them two months ago, and it's helped out a lot."...

    Louis Murphy Jr. catches a pass during mandatory mini-camp Wednesday at One Buc Place. [DANIEL WALLACE | Times]
  15. Bucs' Carl Nicks says he'll be ready for a modified schedule by training camp

    Bucs

    TAMPA — Having missed all the Bucs' voluntary offseason practices because "they're not mandatory," injured G Carl Nicks was a spectator at the first minicamp practice Tuesday but said he will be ready for training camp in six weeks on a modified schedule.

    "God, I hope so. I mean, honestly I think I'll be ready to play," Nicks said. "It's just the waiting game and trying to get back out there."...

    Carl Nicks is sidelined at Bucs minicamp still recovering from  foot surgery and an infection.