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Rookie kicker Matt Gay displays powerful leg in training camp debut

Fifth-round pick shows he has plenty of distance by making two field-goal conversions from more than 50 yards

TAMPA — Rookie kicker Matt Gay drew some of the loudest cheers during Saturday’s practice after making 8-of-9 field goal attempts — including conversions from 52 and 57 yards out — in his first kicks of training camp.

The Bucs drafted Gay in the fifth round out of Utah in part because of his big leg and he put that on display on Saturday, sailing most of his kicks well over the uprights and off the wall of the indoor facility.

Gay's only miss camp when he hit the right upright on a 47-yard attempt, a kick that Arians was willing to give him because the uprights weren't straight.

“That was a bomb," Arians said of Gay’s 57 yarder. “I don’t think I’ve ever seen one from 57 (yards) go over the windows. The one he hit the upright, I don’t know if you can tell, that upright is bent. That one went in, too.”

Gay is competing against incumbent Cairo Santos, who also made all but one kick on Friday kicking in the indoor facility.

"Cairo had a great set yesterday and just missed from 55," Arians said. "It’s going to be a heck of a competition."

Ellington injures finger. but plays on

Veteran Andre Ellington had a two-point conversion reception in a two-minute drill. But earlier in practice, the former Cardinals running back dislocated his finger. Trainers popped it back in place and he finished the practice.

“He’s healthy I mean, you see his burst," Arians said. "A couple runs today. He dislocated a finger and came right back in. He is such a great route runner. But I haven’t seen him this healthy since his rookie year. He is fast, he’s quick, he’s got his size back. He’s hungry.’’

Play of the day

Rookie cornerback Sean Murphy-Bunting made an interception early in Saturday's practice, but that wasn't the best play he made during the session.

in 7-on-7 drills, quarterback Ryan Griffin placed a nicely placed ball to wide receiver Bobo Wilson into the right corner of the end zone, but Murphy-Bunting made a leaping breakup of the pass, nearly making a back-handed one-hand catch on the ball.

Times staff writer Rick Stroud contributed to this report.


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