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.


E-mail: stroud@tampabay.com

Blog: Bucs Beat

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

  1. In Tampa Bay, Dungy never ran from distractions


    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.
  2. Five returning Bucs who might be fighting for jobs


    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.
  3. Bucs' Bowers night with former Destiny's Child member lands her in jail


    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.
  4. Bucs need quarterback Josh McCown to exceed expectations



    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]
  5. 2014 Tampa Bay Bucs training camp schedule


    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....

  6. Bucs rebuilding in an impatient time


    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.
  7. Bucs coach Lovie Smith: Proud father


    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....

    Defensive assistant Larry Marmie, working with cornerbacks Quinton Pointer, left, and Leonard Johnson, has been like an adoptive father to Lovie Smith.
  8. St. Petersburg native Louis Murphy makes bid for spot with 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]
  9. Bucs' Carl Nicks says he'll be ready for a modified schedule by training camp


    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.
  10. Nicks says he'll be ready for a modified schedule by t-camp


    Having missed all the Bucs' Organized Team Activities because 'they're not mandatory,' injured guard 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.


  11. Bucs defense's success hinges on dominant front four



    They don't have to become a legendary legion of pass rushers, the Pewter People Eaters or even comparable to the best defensive fronts in NFL history. But if the Bucs are going to have any success under coach Lovie Smith in 2014 — on either side of the ball — lay it all on the defensive line.

    The quartet of Gerald McCoy, Clinton McDonald, Michael Johnson and Adrian Clayborn have to affect opposing quarterbacks using a four man rush. If they don't hold up, the season will collapse as well....

    Tampa Bay Buccaneers defensive tackle Gerald McCoy (93) sacks St. Louis Rams quarterback Kellen Clemens (10) for a loss of ten yards during the fourth quarter at the Edward Jones Dome in St. Louis on Sunday, December 22, 2013.
  12. New Bucs OC Jeff Tedford isn't giving away any secrets


    TAMPA — They say a man's eyes are the windows to his soul, but Jeff Tedford isn't going to let you peek into his windows.

    Tuesday, the Bucs offensive coordinator's eyes were obscured by black tint and hiding behind Nike sunglasses. Only the structure of Tedford's offense has undergone more concealment since he was hired in January.

    Although the workouts during organized team activities have been open to the media one day per week as mandated by NFL rules, there has been an element of secrecy surrounding certain aspects of the offense Tedford brought from Cal....

    Tampa Bay Buccaneers offensive coordinator Jeff Tedford, center, during Tampa Bay Buccaneers football practice at One Buc Place in Tampa on Tuesday, May 27, 2014.
  13. Tedford says there's no real mystery to Bucs' offense


    They say a man’s eyes are the windows to his soul, but Jeff Tedford isn’t going to let you peek into his windows.

    On Tuesday, the Bucs’ offensive coordinator’s eyes were obscured by black tint and hiding behind a pair of Nike sunglasses. It was fitting. Only the structure of Tedford’s offense has undergone more concealment since he was hired in January.

    Although the Bucs workouts during Organized Team Activities have been open to the media one day per week as mandated by NFL rules, there still has been an element of secrecy surrounding certain aspects of the offense Tedford brought with him from Cal-Berkeley to the NFL....

  14. Bucs' Tedford plans to alternate running backs



    Running back Doug Martin can expect a considerably lighter workload this season.
  15. Reaction: Malcolm Glazer wasn't afraid to make unpopular decisions


    TAMPA — For years, before Malcolm Glazer's health problems took him away from the team he so proudly owned, Bucs players looked forward to a warm, personal greeting from him each Sunday before kickoff.

    "You would always see him come into the locker room, the legendary handshake and well wishes before the game and the celebrations afterward," former linebacker Derrick Brooks said Wednesday. "He was always one to respect our space and yet let us know how proud he was of our work."...

    A crowning moment under Malcolm Glazer’s ownership: He and son Edward celebrate the NFC championship, after beating the Eagles in Philadelphia.