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Mason Foster hopes to remain with Bucs

 
Bucs middle linebacker Mason Foster, at the end of his contract year, says “I definitely want to stay in Tampa. … I love Tampa.’’
Bucs middle linebacker Mason Foster, at the end of his contract year, says “I definitely want to stay in Tampa. … I love Tampa.’’
Published Dec. 24, 2014

TAMPA — Bucs LB Mason Foster has started 54 games in his four years in Tampa, but as unrestricted free agent, he doesn't know how he'll fit into the team's future plans at a key position in the middle of the defense.

"I had some great years, met a lot of good people," Foster said Wednesday, preparing for Sunday's season finale against the Saints. "Free agency's coming up and I'm at the end of my contract year, so we'll see what happens. I definitely want to stay in Tampa. Both of my sons were born in Tampa, right across the street. I have a lot of ties down here. I love Tampa. It would be great, would be amazing to stay here, but it's a business. You know there's a chance you won't be here."

Foster, 25, missed only one game in his first three seasons with the Bucs, but he's missed five this season, first with a shoulder injury and now with an Achilles tendon injury.

"This is a great defense, and if I'm here, if I'm not here, they're going to be successful. No matter what, I'm always rooting for the Bucs, rooting for my guys," he said. "I don't know if I'm going to be able to play this week. It's tough, man. It's killing me."

INJURED: S Dashon Goldson was added to the Bucs' injury report due to a shoulder injury that limited him in Wednesday's drills, but coach Lovie Smith said Goldson will likely play Sunday.

"Should be good to go," said Smith, whose players have today off for Christmas and return to practice Friday.

The only other addition to the injury report was rookie WR Robert Herron, who Smith said has been slowed by a hip flexor.

Foster did not practice for the second straight day, while G Logan Mankins, who had been held out of Tuesday's practice, was back at practice Wednesday.

DESERVING: Smith was pleased to see DT Gerald McCoy named to his third straight Pro Bowl, though he was the only Buc honored, and the coach thought LB Lavonte David deserved better than being an alternate.

"Best defensive interior lineman, so he should be on the Pro Bowl team," Smith said. "The guys that play against him should vote him in. Not like it was a surprise, but it's an honor to be voted by your peers, fans and everyone. Me, being Lavonte David's coach, I think he's as good an outside linebacker as there is playing the game, period."

STILL GOING: Josh McCown will be 36 on July 4. He is 1-9 as a starter this season with 10 touchdowns and 13 interceptions for the Bucs, who most likely will strongly consider selecting a quarterback with the first or second overall pick.

Is McCown, who has another season left on a two-year, $10 million contract with Tampa Bay, at the age where he would consider retirement and is he approaching Sunday's game with the Saints as potentially the last of his career?

"You know what? You try to approach every one of them that way, just so that you get the value, you enjoy the moment, get everything out of every game," McCown said. "I'll treat this one no different. I don't know if it's at that (retirement) point yet.

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"Obviously, right now at this point in the season, your body is tired and all those things, but once you get away from it and reassess things — I feel good and my plan right now is to keep playing."

Times staff writer Rick Stroud contributed to this report. Contact Greg Auman at gauman@tampabay.com and (813) 226-3346. Follow @gregauman and @NFLstroud.