TAMPA — The Bucs’ final minicamp of the offseason commenced Tuesday. Attendance is mandatory but for some, participation still is voluntary.
Linebacker Devin White, who requested a trade in April, was at the AdventHealth Training Center when the Bucs called roll. Although accounted for, he wasn’t present for any onfield work.
“No, it’s not a hold-in,” coach Todd Bowles said of White, who did not attend any of the Bucs’ previous offseason workouts while expressing zero interest in playing for the $11.7 million club option in 2023.
“We’d like to see where he is physically, so we don’t feel like we need to put him out here right now and ask him to do everything or (that) two or three days in camp is going to help him that much. ... We’ll run tests and let him run and stuff inside and he’ll be ready for training camp (in late July).”
Does that mean that White’s trade mindset has changed? He is believed to be seeking an extension similar to the five year, $100-million deal signed by Ravens linebacker Roquan Smith in January.
“His mindset is good,” Bowles said. “I mean, it’s just business. That’s part of it. That takes care of itself. He’ll be ready for training camp and he’ll be good to go.”
The Bucs also were encouraged by limited work done by center Ryan Jensen, who missed the regular season last year after tearing three knee ligaments on the second day of training camp. Jensen returned to start in the Bucs’ wild-card loss to Dallas.
While no players were excused from at least reporting to the three-day minicamp, no one would have faulted outside linebacker Shaquil Barrett if he decided to sit this one out.
Barrett is unable to practice as he recovers from a torn Achilles, and he still is grieving the loss of his 2-year-old daughter, Arrayah, who drowned in the swimming pool at the family’s South Tampa home on April 30.
But six weeks after the accident, Barrett rejoined his teammates and is participating in meetings.
“That’s a testament to him,” Bowles said of Barrett. “Shaq is one of the mentally-toughest character guys I know. To have him out here and trying to get ready, I’m sure it’s not easy. But he’s handling it and we’re behind him.”
What stood out again Tuesday was the continued competition at quarterback between Baker Mayfield and Kyle Trask.
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Both looked good at times but Trask was intercepted twice during team work, once by Pittsburgh rookie linebacker SirVocea Dennis and another time in the end zone by cornerback Duron Lowe. In between, he connected with Mike Evans for a touchdown.
Mayfield, meanwhile, looked a little sharper during red zone work, throwing touchdowns to Chris Godwin, rookie free-agent receiver Rakim Jarrett and running back Ke’Shawn Vaughn.
“It was solid,” Trask said of the first minicamp practice. “I kind of look at it as the final exam. You’ve been studying all through (organized team activities) and you’ve got three days to kind of put it all together. The first day, we’re still working through some things, still timing up some things, but all together, I think we’re really getting the concept down pretty well and looking pretty solid.”
Of course, Bowles has applied pressure against the new offensive scheme under coordinator Dave Canales to see how each quarterback would respond. Rather than script plays, Tuesday’s practice was more game-like situations and responding to the various looks given by the defense.
“It doesn’t matter whether it’s Day 1 install or not, he’s going to pressure you,” Mayfield said of Bowles. “It makes you think, it makes you prepare to make sure you know where your hots and all your answers are. It’s great for us because we see a very exotic defense and a bunch of different looks and they’re capable of bringing pressure from anywhere. It really gets us ready to play.”
Whether White, Barrett and Jensen were playing a little or not at all, Godwin said it was good to have their entire roster of players back together again.
“It’s really good to have everyone in the building,” Godwin said. “Everyone has their thing, guys training elsewhere. We’re all professionals and we know everybody is working. But when we get everybody in the building you can feel how the team is coming together. We get to bond a little bit more and kind of pick up where we left off.
“Devin and Shaq are big pieces of our team. When we see them around, it kind of boosts guys’ spirits and just makes us feel whole.”
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