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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.

Phone:

E-mail: stroud@tampabay.com

Blog: Bucs Beat

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

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  1. After drafting Roberto Aguayo, Bucs to release Connor Barth

    Blog

    Connor Barth knows the routine: Watch the Bucs fall in love with a rookie place-kicker. Get released. Wish the new guy well.

    The Bucs plan to release Barth later today, just two days after trading back into the second round to draft Florida State place-kicker Roberto Aguayo.

    Barth, 30, played 12 games for the Bucs last season and made 23 of 28 field goals attempts and was 25-of-26 in point after attempts....

    Connor Barth played 12 games for the Bucs last season and made 23 of 28 field goals attempts and was 25-of-26 in point after attempts.
  2. Analysis: Bucs roll dice with Robert Aguayo pick

    Bucs

    TAMPA — Trading up to the second round of the NFL draft and using two picks to take Florida State kicker Robert Aguayo was either the dumbest thing the Bucs have ever done or a move that will bring them pots of gold, Super Bowl rings and limousines.

    Never mind that Aguayo is the most accurate kicker in college football history or that he never missed a field goal inside of 40 yards and was perfect on all 198 extra points....

    The Bucs valued Florida State’s Roberto Aguayo for his kickoffs as well as his accuracy on field goals and extra points.
  3. Noah Spence hopes for fresh start with Bucs (w/video)

    Bucs

    TAMPA — After all the all the parties and the pills and failed drug tests got him kicked out of Ohio State, Noah Spence decided the thing that mattered most to him was playing football.

    "When I hit rock bottom, when I felt like I had nothing else left, when I lost football, I knew I had to turn my life around," Spence said. "I had to realize what I loved and I knew I loved the game. I had to do what I had to do to be able to have it....

    INDIANAPOLIS, IN - FEBRUARY 28: Defensive lineman Noah Spence of Eastern Kentucky participates in a drill during the 2016 NFL Scouting Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium on February 28, 2016 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
  4. Bucs help pass rush by taking DE Noah Spence

    Blog

    TAMPA -- After the all the parties and the pills and failed drug tests got him kicked out of Ohio State, Noah Spence decided the thing that mattered most to him was playing football.

    "When I hit rock bottom, when I felt like I had nothing else left, when I lost football, I knew I had to turn my life around," Spence said. "I had to realize what I loved and I knew I loved the game. I had to do what I had to do to be able to have it....

    Noah Spence, once touted as a potential first-round pick, piled up 13.5 sacks among 22.5 tackles for loss last season at Eastern Kentucky.
  5. Tampa Bay Bucs draft former Gators star Vernon Hargreaves (w/video)

    Bucs

    TAMPA — The first time Vernon Hargreaves slipped on his NFL hat was at the Auditorium Theatre in Chicago on Thursday night. He was dressing for a homecoming game.

    Hargreaves, the Gators ball-hawking cornerback who played at Wharton High School, fulfilled a personal dream when he was selected No. 11 overall by the Bucs in the NFL draft.

    "I'm excited to be back home," Hargreaves said. "It's surreal. I don't know what to feel right now. I'm super excited and kind of ready to get started....

    celebrates after Florida's 27-3 victory over Georgia in October in Jacksonville. [LOREN ELLIOTT  | Times]
  6. Bucs trade down to 11, pick Gators' Vernon Hargreaves

    Blog

    The first time Hargreaves slipped on an NFL jersey was at the Auditorium Theatre in Chicago Thursday night. He was dressing for a homecoming game.

    Hargreaves, the Florida Gators ball-hawking cornerback who played at Wharton High School, was selected No. 11 overall by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Tampa Bay traded down two spots with Chicago, picked up a fourth-round pick and still got their cornerback....

  7. Bucs likely to focus NFL draft efforts on defense

    Bucs

    TAMPA

    The most important lesson Jameis Winston learned as a rookie was simply, in the NFL, you have to protect the football like a family heirloom. Why? • "Because you never know if you're going to get the ball back," the quarterback said. • Because the Bucs want to get the ball back to Winston as much as possible, something they struggled to do a year ago, their focus will be on defense when the NFL draft begins with the first round tonight. • Tampa Bay owns the No. 9 pick, which means there isn't as much buzz surrounding their first-round selection as there was in 2015 when Winston went No. 1 overall. • In fact, the Bucs have taken only one defensive player in the draft the past two years — LSU linebacker Kwon Alexander. • They hit a home run with Alexander, the team's second-leading tackler who was plucked in the fourth round. But the Bucs can't wait that long to address the two biggest needs on their team — a defensive lineman who can pressure the quarterback and a cornerback to stick to receivers....

    The Bucs could consider taking an impact interior defender such as Louisville DT Sheldon Rankins, right, sacking Florida’s Jeff Driskel.
  8. Bucs DE George Johnson plans bounceback season under new staff

    Bucs

    TAMPA — A year ago, the Bucs traded a fifth-round draft pick to the Lions to land DE George Johnson, who got a three-year, $7 million contract then lost his starting job and failed to get a single sack.

    As he prepares for the upcoming season, Johnson is now fighting for a roster spot, even more so if the Bucs take a defensive end high in this weekend's draft. He said a new defensive coordinator and scheme should help him get back to the form he had in 2014, when he had six sacks....

    Bucs DE George Johnson, tackling the Falcons’ Matt Ryan, had no sacks last season after posting six in 2014.
  9. Turning a corner: Bucs' Johnthan Banks eager for fresh start

    Blog

    Johnthan Banks went from being a second-round pick as the Thorpe Award winner at Mississippi State and leading the team in interceptions in his second season to a bench warmer on the worst secondary in the National Football League.

    Last season, he suffered a knee problem and eventually lost his job through demotion or injury to Tim Jennings, Mike Jenkins and finally Jude Adjei-Barimah.

    "Man, it’s been tough. It’s my fourth year and I’ve had three different head coaches," Banks said. "But I mean, that’s life. It happens. You’ve got to adapt. You’ve got to live and learn. I’m looking forward to learning this defense. (Defensive backs coach Brett) Maxie, knows what he wants, and coach (Jon) Hoke, knows what techniques they want. Just trying to get them honed down and go out there and play 100 percent full speed."...

  10. ESPN special details abuse, murder in family of Bucs' Evans

    Bucs

    TAMPA — Mike Evans was 9 years old and asleep upstairs with his sister at their home in Galveston, Texas, the night his father, Mickey, was stabbed repeatedly and shot to death.

    In one moment, he lost the man who had been his childhood hero, unaware of an abusive relationship that ultimately led to the murderer's rage.

    A dozen years later, when he was selected seventh overall by the Buccaneers in the NFL draft in 2014, Evans remembered the emotional journey and wept....

    Mike Evans
  11. With heat, Koetter wants Bucs practice uptempo but short

    Blog

    Bucs head coach Dirk Koetter had an uptempo practice during the first day of voluntary minicamp Tuesday before cutting the workout short by about 10 minutes.

    That’s because the 82 degree temperature was beginning to take a toll, sending receiver Mike Evans into the locker room just before the end of practice. Koetter said he plans to beat the heat more effectively this season by keeping players fresh with shorter practices, if necessary....

  12. Mike Evans opens up about overcoming father's murder

    Blog

    Mike Evans was nine years old and asleep upstairs with his sister at their home in Galveston, Texas, the night his father Mickey was brutally stabbed repeatedly and shot to death.

    In one moment, he lost the man who had been his childhood hero, unaware of an abusive relationship that ultimately led to the murderer’s rage.

    A dozen years later, when he was selected seventh overall by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the NFL draft in 2014, Evans remembered the emotional journey and wept....

    Mike Evans has done is overcome his personal adversity to emerge as one of the best young receivers in the NFL.
  13. Bucs hope to build on successes of 2015 draft

    Bucs

    TAMPA — Some things can only happen once. Like donating a kidney. A first kiss. Or pulling four All-Rookie first team players from the same NFL draft class.

    That's what the Bucs accomplished a year ago when general manager Jason Licht presided over the selection of the fantastic four: quarterback Jameis Winston, left tackle Donovan Smith, guard Ali Marpet and linebacker Kwon Alexander....

    Offensive tackle Donovan Smith was chosen in the second round, 34th overall.
  14. Josh Norman's price tag didn't add up for Bucs

    Bucs

    TAMPA — As late as Friday morning, the Bucs and Josh Norman had strong, mutual interest in working out a deal that would bring the Panthers' former franchise cornerback to Tampa Bay.

    Bucs general manager Jason Licht recognizes and respects Norman's talent and impact, having competed against him twice a year in the NFC South. Last season against the Bucs, Norman had two interceptions, including one returned for a touchdown, six tackles and four passes defensed....

    Tampa Bay was a possible destination for ex-Panthers cornerback Josh Norman, here returning an interception for a touchdown last season against the Bucs. But he wound up with Washington.
  15. Nothing's simple about evaluating OL talent for draft

    Bucs

    TAMPA — Quarterback is the most valued position in the NFL, and the Bucs were fortunate to pluck Jameis Winston with the No. 1 selection in last year's draft.

    Not surprisingly, they moved quickly to add behemoth men to protect him, taking left tackle Donovan Smith and guard Ali Marpet in the second round.

    But it's getting increasingly harder to evaluate those faceless bodyguards who are all smash and no flash....

    Starting guard Ali Marpet, middle, was one of two offensive linemen the Bucs took in the second round of the draft last year.