TAMPA, FL — Today, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers hosted their first ever “Legend’s Day” at One Buc Place Tuesday afternoon during training camp. Nearly 50 Buccaneers alumni came back to their old stomping grounds, interacting with the fans.
Former players such as safety Mark Cotney (1976-85) who played in the inaugural creamsicle years, to the more recent red and pewter days with Martin Gramatica, Michael Clayton, and Chidi Ahanotou, all were in attendance.
Head Coach Lovie Smith had been around many of these former players before during his tenure as Tampa Bay’s linebackers coach from 1996-2000, and says they are welcome any time.
“I think we made it known that they’re welcome,” said Coach Smith. “Not just on Legends Day, but any day coming back. What we’re doing, we hope what they see, is we’re trying to get it back. Most of the guys that came here had success while they were here and that’s what we plan on doing.”
Lovie was asked about the importance of bridging the gap between generations of Buccaneers history and keeping a connection between the former and current players.
“I think it’s a must. As much as anything, it’s our responsibility to reach out to them. This is our home now. So we have to give them the invitation and make guys feel like they can come back, and that’s what we’ve done.”
On to the Bucs on the field, more changes along the starting offensive line were made today. Fifth-round draft pick Kadeem Edwards got his first reps with the first team offensive line at right guard today. Patrick Omameh was plugged back in on the left side. Oniel Cousins and Jace Daniels were with the first-team the past two practices.
Lovie Smith says the competition is wide open along the line, and is giving everyone a chance to show what they can do. Even with the second preseason game fast approaching, Smith says there is still time to sort out the starting front five and will name the starters when it is appropriate.
“That time is when we feel we’re ready to do that,” Lovie stated. “But until then, no. We have to be ready for Carolina [in Week 1], and we have a little bit of time for that.”
“We’re going to look at different combinations. We’re not going to get fined if we don’t name the starting guards tomorrow.”
Offensive tackle Demar Dotson for one is looking forward to that day to come soon, hoping to lock down the starting offensive line. But also knows they have to work regardless.
“I just can’t wait until they plug somebody in so we can get some continuity,” said Dotson. “It’s just a lot of bouncing around right now. I mean you just can’t worry about it, can’t let that throw us off. Whoever we got in there, gotta get the job done.”
Kadeem Edwards talked after practice about getting his first shot on the starting offensive line, and how hard the adjustment was from the left to the right side.
“It was at first because I played left side all my life,” Edwards acknowledged. “But this is my job, so I have to take the opportunity if I want to play early, I have to learn to play more than one position. I took it as is and I thought I had a pretty good day.”
This was the final training camp practice with full pads. Tampa Bay will have a day off tomorrow, before returning Thursday afternoon to game plan and practice in preparation for the Miami Dolphins Saturday night.
Overall Lovie Smith believes training camp went well.
“I thought it was good. We practiced in the heat of the day most of the time. It’s draining just going through a walk-through down here in Tampa. But the guys go through it. We haven’t had any major injuries. We feel like we’ve gotten about the proper amount of physical contact that we need to get ourselves in position to play the game.”
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