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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. Jameis Winston's unique style has galvanized Bucs

    Bucs

    "There are those with immense talent and others with great passion. And then there are those who galvanize an entire organization. @jaboowins" — Tweet from Bucs director of player development Duke Preston.

    TAMPA — Sure, sometimes it looks as if he has anvils for feet. He has thrown only six touchdowns and three interceptions in the past four weeks. And you wondered at times if anything could wipe off that cantaloupe grin. But when the season was about to fall like a bad souffle, Jameis Winston knew exactly what to do and what to say to pump belief back into the Buccaneers....

    Second-year quarterback Jameis Winston, center, flanked by receiver Mike Evans and coach Dirk Koetter, seems to have developed a knack for inspiring his teammates.
  2. Shorthanded Bucs rally to beat Chargers for fourth straight win

    Bucs

    SAN DIEGO — The hit came on their third play.

    Receiver Cecil Shorts ran a little square-in and Chargers safety Jahleel Addae went low, the way the new rules have given defensive backs the right to knee-cap receivers like loan sharks. Aim high, and they face a penalty for a blow to a defenseless pass catcher and a hefty fine.

    Shorts somehow made the catch for 14 yards, but the Bucs believe he probably tore every ligament and dislocated his right knee....

    Tight end Cameron Brate comes down with a touchdown reception that gives the Bucs the lead for good, improving Tampa Bay’s road record this season to 5-1.
  3. Downside to Bucs' winning streak: lack of offensive TDs

    Bucs

    TAMPA — Lost in its defense-driven three-game winning streak is the Bucs' sudden inability to score many touchdowns.

    Well, it's not lost on coach Dirk Koetter. His team has produced three offensive touchdowns in its past two games. After scoring on two surgically executed series to start last week's 14-5 win over Seattle, the Bucs were shut out the rest of the way.

    Against Kansas City two weeks ago, the Bucs kicked four field goals before a fourth-quarter touchdown put away a 19-17 win....

    Mike Evans pulls in a touchdown pass from Jameis Winston as Seattle's Richard Sherman defends.
  4. Bucs center Hawley claims Seahawks rookie spit on him

    Bucs

    TAMPA — Bucs C Joe Hawley said he was spat on by a Seahawks player in Sunday's win, and Friday, a Seattle rookie fired back, denying the accusation.

    "They were hitting me late and when I got up, when I got all fired up, one guy actually spit in my face after one of the plays and I got all fired up because I don't think that should be part of the game at all," Hawley said Thursday during his weekly radio show on 620-AM. "It's one thing pushing, shouting, yelling, but as soon as he spit in my face, I was pretty fired up about that. … It's disgusting."...

  5. Gerald McCoy: After death in family, Bucs see the real McCoy

    Bucs

    TAMPA — The locker room at Raymond James Stadium is so cramped, Bucs players gather in the showers before games. It's the only place big enough to hold all 53 players, fully dressed and ready for battle.

    It was there last Sunday, before the game against Seattle, that Gerald McCoy laid his emotions bare, before his teammates.

    Two days earlier, cornerback Alterraun Verner had been pulled from a team meeting to be told his father had died of a heart attack at Verner's home in Tampa. Robert Lee Verner had been visiting for Thanksgiving....

    Tampa Bay Buccaneers defensive tackle Gerald McCoy (93) celebrates after sacking Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson (3) on third down during the second half of a football game between the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Seattle Seahawks at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Fla., on Sunday, Nov. 27, 2016.
  6. Bucs' Hawley says Seahawks player spat on him during game

    Blog

    Bucs center Joe Hawley said he was spat on by a Seattle player during Sunday’s 14-5 win over the Seahawks.

    Although Hawley said he cannot be sure, he believes the expectorating player was Alabama rookie defensive tackle Jarran Reed.

    "They were hitting me late and when I got up, when I got all fired up, one guy actually spit in my face after one of the plays and I got all fired up because I don’t think that should be part of the game at all," Hawley said Thursday night during his weekly radio show on 620-WDAE. "It’s one thing pushing, shouting, yelling, but as soon as he spit in my face, I was pretty fired up about that."...

  7. Bucs' McCoy: NFL 'handcuffs' our emotions

    Bucs

    TAMPA — Gerald McCoy is credited for being the first NFL draft pick to really get his hug on commissioner Roger Goodell when he was taken No. 3 overall by the Bucs in 2010.

    But now, almost any outward display of emotion during games often results in a penalty and/or fine.

    "We don't get a chance to express ourselves a lot. That's why so many fines are going on, a lot of flags going on. We've got handcuffs on," McCoy said Thursday. "I believe the NFL's put handcuffs on us and not letting us express ourselves. It's very hard to make a play in the NFL and to do it consistently. Doing it once, that emotion comes out."...

    Tampa Bay Buccaneers defensive tackle Gerald McCoy (93) before the football game between the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Seattle Seahawks at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Fla., on Sunday, Nov. 27, 2016.
  8. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Why Mike Evans is the NFL's best receiver

    Bucs

    TAMPA — The best receiver in the NFL today is Mike Evans. Tomorrow? He could be better.

    "I just know what Mike is capable of, and he's just scratching the surface," Bucs receivers coach Todd Monken said.

    Declaring Evans, 23, the best receiver in pro football is subjective. You can argue the point until the red-faced guy on the other end of the sports bar shouts you down, but nobody really knows....

    Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Mike Evans (13) reaches for a pass during warmup before the football game between the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Seattle Seahawks at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Fla., on Sunday, Nov. 27, 2016.
  9. Jameis Winston to Bucs fans: This game ball is for you

    Blog

    Bucs quarterback Jameis Winston has received his share of game balls during his short career.

    But on Wednesday, he began his weekly press conference by presenting a game ball to Tampa Bay fans for their support at Raymond James Stadium during the 14-5 win over Seattle on Sunday.

    "I really just want to give this game ball to the fans," Winston said, holding up a football in his right hand. "They did an amazing job. This game ball goes to all the fans. You did an amazing job. I hope that’s in our future every Sunday at Ray Jay. This is for you, fans."...

    Jameis Winston began his weekly press conference by presenting a game ball to Tampa Bay fans for their support at Raymond James Stadium during the 14-5 win over Seattle on Sunday.
  10. Gerald McCoy says he'll play Sunday vs. Chargers

    Blog

    Bucs sack leader Gerald McCoy, who wore a walking boot out of Raymond James Stadium following Sunday's 14-5 win over Seattle, has said he will play against the San Diego Chargers this week.

    Appearing on SiriusXM NFL radio Tuesday, McCoy said, "I will be out in San Diego and ready to rock against the Chargers in Week 13."

    McCoy, who leads the Bucs with six sacks, underwent tests Monday but the ankle/foot injury was not considered serious....

    LOREN ELLIOTT | Times  Tampa Bay Buccaneers defensive tackle Gerald McCoy (93) celebrates after sacking Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson (3) on third down during the second half of a football game between the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Seattle Seahawks at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Fla., on Sunday, Nov. 27, 2016.
  11. Spence's eventful rookie season on the upswing for Bucs

    Bucs

    TAMPA — Noah Spence was told his rookie season was probably over. In Week 4 against the Broncos, he dislocated his right shoulder and suffered a slight tear in his labrum. The options were to have surgery and wait until next year or endure the pain and wear a restrictive harness that would limit his range of motion but enable him to play.

    Spence didn't seem ready to resume playing games. He seemed ready for a gurney. Beating 300-pound tackles off the edge in the NFL is tough. Try doing it with one arm. Other than that, he was good to go....

     Bucs rookie defensive end Noah Spence sacks Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson in the third quarter Sunday. Spence has 51/2 sacks this season, all but one in the past six games.
  12. Verner's inspiration, stifling defense lift Bucs past Seahawks

    Bucs

    TAMPA — The moment came late in the first half with the Bucs clinging to a 14-5 lead that their inspired defense unbelievably made stand up. Seattle's Russell Wilson threw a pass in the left flat intended for receiver Paul Richardson that cornerback Alterraun Verner intercepted at the Tampa Bay 15.

    By the time he was tackled at the Bucs 31 in the middle of the field, Verner, whose 61-year-old father unexpectedly died Friday while visiting the family, disappeared under the warm red blanket of swarming teammates....

    Tampa Bay Buccaneers cornerback Alterraun Verner (21) joins Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Cecil Shorts (10) in a prayer circle after the football game between the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Seattle Seahawks. [ANDRES LEIVA   |   Times]
  13. Buzz builds for Bucs-Seahawks, Tampa Bay's biggest game in some time

    Bucs

    TAMPA — Let's hype the hyperbole. Let's add some buzz to an electric atmosphere. Let's overinflate the football about to be played at Raymond James Stadium.

    When was the last time there was a game bigger than this for the Bucs?

    Tampa Bay has temporarily returned from the abyss and at 5-5 has a chance to truly announce it is back in the playoff picture for the first time since — what, 2008?...

    Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston (3) avoids a sack and gets free before throwing a deep completion to Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Mike Evans (13) during the second half of a game between the Chicago Bears and Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Fla., on Sunday, Nov. 13, 2016.
  14. Bucs-Seahawks: Mike Evans vs. Richard Sherman will set game's course

    Bucs

    TAMPA

    Watch the ball and you will miss the game. So today, pay attention to the best battle that likely will determine the outcome of the Bucs-Seahawks game: Bucs receiver Mike Evans against Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman.

    There will be hand fighting, elbows, body blows and more trash talk than at a sanitation workers meeting. Push might come to shove.

    Then the game will start....

    SEATTLE, WA - NOVEMBER 20:  Cornerback Richard Sherman #25 of the Seattle Seahawks gets the crowd going against the Philadelphia Eagles at CenturyLink Field on November 20, 2016 in Seattle, Washington.  (Photo by Steve Dykes/Getty Images)
  15. Mind clear, Bucs' Roberto Aguayo rights his kicking wrongs

    Bucs

    TAMPA — Roberto Aguayo dabbed his head with a towel but could not wipe the smile off his face Sunday after kicking four field goals in the Bucs' 19-17 win over the Chiefs.

    He had fallen one field goal shy of the club record held by Martin Gramatica, who sent him a congratulatory text message that he read in the jubilant visitors locker room at Arrowhead Stadium. When the NFC named Aguayo its special teams player of the week Wednesday, quarterback Jameis Winston had a message for those who had been trolling the rookie....

    “Sometimes I just take a deep breath … and smell the fresh air before I go out there and kick again. Just go out and have fun,” Roberto Aguayo says.