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Todd Bowles says Russell Gage standing out in crowded Bucs receiver room

The former Falcons wideout has been reunited with one of his mentors in Atlanta, Julio Jones.
Bucs wide receiver Russell Gage, left, jumps to receive a pass during training camp on Wednesday.
Bucs wide receiver Russell Gage, left, jumps to receive a pass during training camp on Wednesday. [ DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD | Times ]
Published Jul. 29|Updated Jul. 29

TAMPA — While Julio Jones was always going to be one of the main attractions during Week 1 of Bucs training camp, the other former Falcon also has made a strong impression.

Season prop bets on Russell Gage declined after the Bucs signed Jones on Tuesday, but his stock has only risen with head coach Todd Bowles. Gage has stood out in a crowded receiver room, he said, adding that the defense has yet to find someone who can cover him.

“Again, we’re out of pads, but’s he’s the guy that flashes and shows quickness and fluidity and everything else that I’ve seen the past two days,” he said.

Gage was present but held out of organized team activities and mandatory minicamp after signing a three-year, $30 million contract in March. He has still hit the ground running.

“They do a good job of simplifying everything,” he said of the Bucs. “I know what they want out of me.”

Gage, second from right, says Julio Jones, right, took him under his wing as a rookie.
Gage, second from right, says Julio Jones, right, took him under his wing as a rookie. [ DIRK SHADD | Times ]

A sixth-round pick out LSU in 2018, Gage made only 26 receptions during his college career and just six his rookie season. He then grew into one of game’s best slot receivers, setting career highs in receptions (72) and receiving yards (786) in 2020.

Gage said Jones took him under his wing as a rookie, and the two “haven’t missed a step” since Jones left Atlanta for the Titans last season. He said the “old Julio” is back after struggling with injuries the last two seasons.

“A healthy Julio is a problematic Julio,” he said.

Now, he is ready to help his mentor win a first Super Bowl.

“I’m excited, man,” he said. “I’m ready to get me a ring for sure.”

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