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  1. Sports

Bucs coordinator says Martin shows 'pep in his step' in a contract year

Bucs offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter had high praise for running back Doug Martin on Wednesday, saying the burst he showed Monday night with a 30-yard run is what he's consistently brought in practice for the past month.

"What Doug did in the game … that's how Doug's been practicing every day. That was not surprising," Koetter said. "Doug definitely has a pep in his step and a smile on his face. … Contract year. We've all been there."

Martin's rookie contract will be up after this season — the team declined a fifth-year option that would have paid him more than $5-million in 2016 — and he said that's been in the back of his mind, but his focus has simply been on getting better. He's playing at just 208 pounds, about four pounds less than last year.

"I'm leaner, but it's just the mindset going into this season, around here in the organization, the vibe that's going on with a fire to win," Martin said. "I do feel a little quicker. Four or five pounds can make a difference."

Koetter was in the NFC South with the Falcons when Martin had his prolific rookie season, and as a former Boise State head coach, he's been well aware of Martin since his college days. He's excited for the season that Martin has set himself up to have.

"I think the weight loss, being in top shape, having the right attitude, being positive, and the way he's practicing, barring injury, Doug's in for an excellent year, which is good for the Bucs," he said.

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