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Josh Huff grateful for second chance with Bucs

Bucs wide receiver Josh Huff makes a juggling catch as cornerback Robert McClain closes in Tuesday at One Buc Place. [LOREN ELLIOTT   |   Times]
Bucs wide receiver Josh Huff makes a juggling catch as cornerback Robert McClain closes in Tuesday at One Buc Place. [LOREN ELLIOTT | Times]
Published Aug. 4, 2017

Josh Huff nearly saw his best catch of training camp turn into his worst.

The Bucs receiver, the most experienced of seven players vying for the Bucs' No. 5 WR job, made a diving catch on a deep ball Friday morning but landed on the ball, rolling over in pain and needing a few minutes with trainers before he was able to walk off on his own.

"Just landed on the ball, got the wind knocked out of me," said Huff, who joined the team in November after he was waived by the Eagles.

He joined the Bucs in the middle of the season — he spent a month on the practice squad before being promoted and playing in the final three games, totaling three catches for 41 yards and six kickoff returns for 72 yards. So having a full offseason to get more comfortable in Tampa Bay's offense has been a big help for this season.

"I've made some plays, made some mistakes, but that's what training camp is for, to knock out the rust and get going for the regular season," he said. "(Offseason) helps a lot. I'm way more comfortable than I was two months ago, way more than back in November when I came."

Huff, 25, could help himself by competing for a return job as well — he returned two kickoffs for touchdowns when he was with the Eagles, though cornerback Ryan Smith is the favorite going into the preseason, coach Dirk Koetter said. Huff has resolved many of the legal issues that led to his release by the Eagles in November and said he's glad to have another chance to stay in the league with the Bucs.

"It's been a blessing to get another opportunity, especially in a great city, great organization with great teammates," he said. "I love Tampa. Any time you're able to get a fresh start with people and coaches that care about you, it makes you want to do so much better. That's what I've experienced out here."

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