Bucs running Doug Martin was asked the last time he felt this healthy, and the smile came out as he answered: "Rookie year."
Entering his fourth NFL season, Martin is hoping his production can return to 2012 levels as well — he rushed for 1,454 yards and 11 touchdowns as a rookie, catching another 49 passes for 472 yards and another score. In two seasons limited by injury since then, in 17 total games, he's rushed for a combined 950 yards and three touchdowns, with just 130 receiving yards as well.
"I've got to take care of my body. If I take care of my body and stay in my playbook, I'll be just fine," said Martin, who will work with a new offensive coordinator in Dirk Koetter and a rookie quarterback in Jameis Winston. "(Spending) more time in the training room, even if I'm not injured. It's all about injury prevention. That's something I'm going to do better."
Bucs coach Lovie Smith and general manager Jason Licht drafted Charles Sims in the third round last year, and Sims too is healthy after missing half the season with an ankle injury as a rookie. But it has been Martin consistently working as the Bucs' top running back, and Smith said at the start of camp that Martin would be "the lead guy" as the team works to establish a running game that was sorely missing last year.
"Sky's the limit this year," Martin said. "A lot of potential going into this year with this team. We have a lot of weapons, a lot of guys with fire in them that want to be successful. I just can't wait to get out there with them."