Bucs rookies have full schedule already

Bucs rookie quarterback Jameis Winston said he’s “back at a good weight” — 236 pounds — after some offseason speculation.
Bucs rookie quarterback Jameis Winston said he’s “back at a good weight” — 236 pounds — after some offseason speculation.
Published July 29, 2015

TAMPA — Bucs veterans report for training camp on Friday, but 21 rookies are already in town, reporting Monday for a busy week of meetings and getting acclimated for their first practice Saturday afternoon.

That included a bonding trip Tuesday morning to Pin Chasers in Tampa for some friendly bowling competition with the rookies from Tampa Fire and Rescue. But Bucs players said they have long days this week preparing for the grind of training camp.

"We're gearing up, and when the vets get here Friday night, it's going to be heavy," said rookie WR Kenny Bell. "It's off to the races. There's no … I don't want to call it babying. We're in meetings, up at One Buc from 6:30 in the morning to 10 o'clock at night, so if you want to get your own study time in, which you have to, it's going to take a lot of extra work. The great thing is we have a ton of guys willing to put in that work."

Bell showed himself to be quite the amateur bowler, with three strikes to open his first game, which was a 204. He said he once bowled as many as 15-20 games a day as a hobby, but his focus is on another sport now. Bell said the hamstring injury that had limited him during organized team activities has fully healed after he spent his down time back at Nebraska and getting treatment from trainers there.

Rookie QB Jameis Winston said he's excited for camp. The Bucs have 11 practices open to the public in August, starting Saturday at 2:30, and Winston said he's eager to see fans at practice for the first time.

"It's very exciting. Usually at Florida State, our practices were closed, but now they're open," Winston said. "It's good to have fan support, cheering for you after you make a good throw or a big catch. I'm elated."

SIEGE IS ON: The Bucs unveiled their promotional campaign for 2015: "Siege The Day," with billboards across the area and advertising across all media.

Winston wore a "Siege" hat for interviews, and the campaign "is focused on capturing the high level of excitement and energy around our team," Bucs COO Brian Ford said in a statement.

Signing: Today the team will sign CB Jude Adjei-Barimah, an undrafted rookie from Bowling Green. Barimah, 5 feet 11 and 200 pounds, had 82 tackles as a senior in 2014, including four tackles for loss. Adjei-Barimah went to rookie minicamp with the Jaguars as a tryout player. His signing will bring the Bucs back to a maximum 90 players for the start of training camp, replacing C.J. Wilson, who went on the reserve-retired list last week after losing two fingers in a fireworks accident July 4.

MOVING INSIDE: Da'Quan Bowers played primarily at defensive end in his first four seasons, but GM Jason Licht said the former second-round pick, re-signed Monday, will get a look as a defensive tackle.

Bowers went through four months of free agency without signing, including a trip to Saints rookie minicamp as a tryout player.

"We told him there was a chance we'd bring (him) back to compete for a job. No assurances," Licht said. "It was a low-risk thing for us. … I think he's been humbled."

THIS AND THAT: The Bucs placed rookie S Derrick Wells on the reserve/non-football injury list. He'll still count toward the 90-man roster and can be reinstated at any point. The team didn't disclose his injury. … Winston said he's "back at a good weight" at 236 pounds and confident he'll drop more weight with hot temperatures in training camp.

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Greg Auman can be reached at and (813) 310-2690. Follow @gregauman.