The Bucs practiced at Tropicana Field on Wednesday afternoon -- and will do so again Thursday -- to avoid wet practice fields at One Buc Place and get a feel for the turf they'll play on Sunday at New Orleans.
"For a couple of reasons -- of course, there's a lot of rain here. Our fields are drenched," coach Lovie Smith said after his team worked out in the outfield at the Rays' home ballpark. "It is a different feel inside, catching the ball, looking in the lights, change of directions, all those things. And just a change of pace, to do something different for our players. A good productive day, no traffic issues, an easy-in-and-out day for us."
The Bucs last practiced at the Trop in September 2011 under Raheem Morris, when high temperatures sent the team indoors after dehydration issues in an especially hot home game against Detroit. Smith said as a general rule, his team will practice on its own fields unless it's clear that rain would make that difficult.
Several Bucs players have played football in the Trop before -- DT Clinton McDonald and LS Andrew DePaola played in the early St. Petersburg Bowl games, with McDonald for Memphis in 2008 and DePaola for Rutgers in 2009. WR Solomon Patton and DE Will Gholston played in Under Armour All-America games there, before they went on to play at Florida and Michigan State, respectively, in college.
Bucs linebacker Brandon Magee was drafted by the Rays out of high school, but opted to go to Arizona State; he's now an outfield prospect in the Red Sox system and went to extended spring training in Fort Myers this spring.