Advertisement
  1. Sports
  2. /
  3. Bucs

Mazzi Wilkins used his shoulder chip to create a big turnover for Bucs

The undrafted South Florida star, who joined the team two days before training camp, earns a game ball
Tampa Bay Buccaneers cornerback Mazzi Wilkins (37) runs with the ball after making an interception on wide receiver Anthony Johnson (81) during the Tampa Bay Buccaneers training camp at One Buc Place in Tampa, Florida on Monday, August 5, 2019. OCTAVIO JONES   |   Times
Tampa Bay Buccaneers cornerback Mazzi Wilkins (37) runs with the ball after making an interception on wide receiver Anthony Johnson (81) during the Tampa Bay Buccaneers training camp at One Buc Place in Tampa, Florida on Monday, August 5, 2019. OCTAVIO JONES | Times
Published Aug. 10

TAMPA — Two days before training camp, South Florida defensive back Mazzi Wilkins was working as a landscaper when the Bucs signed him to a standard three-year rookie contract. Undrafted, he came to work with a chip on his shoulder and started making plays.

On Friday, with the Bucs trailing 30-22 late in the fourth quarter, it was Wilkins who forced a fumble by Steelers tight end Kevin Radar that was recovered by safety Isaiah Johnson at the Tampa Bay 36-yard line with 2:21 remaining.

From there, Bucs quarterback Ryan Griffin directed a 64-yard drive capped by Dare Ogunbowale’s 1-yard scoring run with 10 seconds left in the game. The two-point conversion pass failed, but Wilkins’ effort stood out.

“It was like we’re down, we’d needed them turnovers,’’ Wilkins said following the game Friday. “And I told them boys, we needed it and I had to put it in my own hands.’’

Wilkins had nearly intercepted a pass earlier in the game but was unable to hold on.

“Of course, that one kind of hurt my feelings. I just knew I was going to get a pick this game,’’ Wilkins said.

Wilkins was clutching a game ball from the forced fumble as he headed to the Bucs’ team bus Friday night at Heinz Field.

“I mean, I always had confidence in myself,’’ Wilkins said. “That’s why I was so down I didn’t make in the NFL to get drafted in the first place. It was really just a chip on my shoulder and it’s got to be on my shoulder for the rest of my career because I’ve got to prove every play, every snap of every game.’’

And what about the game ball?

“This is my first NFL turnover, so this one gets put up,’’ he said.


ALSO IN THIS SECTION

  1. Tampa Bay Buccaneers defensive back Sean Murphy-Bunting (26) is chased by Detroit Lions wide receiver Kenny Golladay (19) as he returns an interception for a 70-yard touchdown during the second half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Dec. 15, 2019, in Detroit. [RICK OSENTOSKI  |  AP]
    The Lions had taken momentum Sunday when Tampa Bay’s rookie from Detroit gave friends and family in attendance something to celebrate.
  2. Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston talks to his team during the second half of an NFL football game against the Detroit Lions, Sunday, Dec. 15, 2019, in Detroit. (AP Photo/Duane Burleson) [DUANE BURLESON  |  AP]
    As the Bucs approach key offseason decisions, remember two record-shattering performances Sunday Motown.
  3. Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston addresses the media after an NFL football game against the Detroit Lions, Sunday, Dec. 15, 2019, in Detroit. (AP Photo/Rick Osentoski) [RICK OSENTOSKI  |  AP]
    After back-to-back 400-yard passing weeks, Bucs quarterback has made a strong case for Bucs to keep him beyond this season.
  4. Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Breshad Perriman catches a 25-yard pass for a touchdown during the second half of an NFL football game against the Detroit Lions, Sunday, Dec. 15, 2019, in Detroit. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya) [PAUL SANCYA  |  AP]
    Perriman’s father starred with the Lions years ago, so hauling in a career-high three touchdowns in Detroit meant a little extra.
  5. Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Chris Godwin is carted off the field during the second half of an NFL football game against the Detroit Lions, Sunday, Dec. 15, 2019, in Detroit. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya) [PAUL SANCYA  |  AP]
    After losing Mike Evans last week, Chris Godwin and another Bucs receiver were forced from the game Sunday with hamstring injuries.
  6. On Sunday, Jameis Winston became the first quarterback in NFL history to gain 450 yards in back-to-back games. [PAUL SANCYA  |  Associated Press]
    Strange but true: When Jameis Winston throws an early interception, more often than not, the Bucs win.
  7. Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston throws during the first half of an NFL football game against the Detroit Lions, Sunday, Dec. 15, 2019, in Detroit. [DUANE BURLESON  |  AP]
    Rick Stroud’s instant analysis | Tampa Bay’s fourth straight victory was driven by record-setting performances, most notably Jameis Winston’s
  8. Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Chris Godwin (12) stiff arms Detroit Lions defensive back Tracy Walker (21) during the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Dec. 15, 2019, in Detroit. [PAUL SANCYA  |  AP]
    Tampa Bay was down to three healthy receivers after losing Godwin for the game.
  9. Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston throws for a touchdown during the first half of an NFL football game against the Detroit Lions, Sunday, Dec. 15, 2019, in Detroit. [RICK OSENTOSKI  |  AP]
    The Bucs quarterback rebounded from a first-possession interception to throw for 308 yards and three touchdowns in the first half Sunday.
  10. In this file photo, Tampa Bay Buccaneers linebacker Shaquil Barrett (58) celebrates his sack on Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan during the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Nov. 24, 2019, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/John Amis) [JOHN AMIS  |  AP]
    Bucs-Lions: Barrett sacked David Blough in the first quarter to give him 16.5 on the season
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement