Bucs WR DeSean Jackson, shown in preseason, wrote on Twitter on Saturday that he "definitely" will make a statement Sunday after President Donald Trump's comments about NFL players and national anthem protests.
Bucs players continue to react to Donald Trump's comments Friday night about protests during the national anthem, and Pro Bowl receiver DeSean Jackson posted on Twitter on Saturday night that he's "definitely" making a statement during Sunday's game in response.
"I definitely will be making a statement," Jackson wrote in a series of tweets. "No disrespect to our military ... but we have to stick together as people !! Unity."
Jackson and other players -- both Bucs and across the NFL -- have reacted to Trump saying in Alabama on Friday night that players who protest during the national anthem should be "fired," going so far as to call them "sons of bitches." Even NFL commissioner Roger Goodell responded, calling his comments "divisive."
Jackson had more to say about Trump: "How is it that players taking a kneel is disrespectiful to our country but that clown that's suppose (sic) to be our president can call us players that have a voice and a stand to freedom sons of a bi***! don't get it !! What happen to a free country ... Dude is a joke." …
Bucs defensive tackle Chris Baker, shown in training camp, will miss Sunday's game at Minnesota after missing practice all week with illness.
Two Bucs defensive linemen -- starting DT Chris Baker and backup DE Jacquies Smith -- did not make the trip to Minnesota and will not play Sunday after missing practice all week due to illness.
Baker and Smith had been listed as doubtful on Friday's injury report, but are now out and will be inactive Sunday against the Vikings. Baker's absence means veteran Clinton McDonald is back in the starting lineup and will see more action. The Bucs now will go with only three defensive tackles, with Sealver Siliga as the backup, unless they make a move to promote Channing Ward from the practice squad. Smith hasn't played in more than a year, and missed last week's game as he recovers from knee surgery.
The Bucs had already ruled LB Kwon Alexander out for Sunday's game after he missed all week with a hamstring injury. Rookie Kendell Beckwith will step in for him at middle linebacker, with Adarius Glanton likely stepping in at strongside linebacker.
Bucs players Mike Evans and Jameis Winston stand with coach Dirk Koetter during the national anthem in a game played in San Diego last season.
President Donald Trump shared his thoughts Friday night on NFL players protesting during the national anthem, suggesting that NFL owners should "fire" players who kneel during the anthem in protest. His remarks are alreading drawing responses from many NFL players, including some Bucs.
"Wouldn't you love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, to say, 'Get that son of a bitch off the field right now, out, he's fired. He's fired!'" Trump said at a rally in Alabama, with video of the speech widely broadcast later on TV news outlets. "You know, some owner is gonna do that. He's gonna say 'That guy that disrespects our flag, he's fired.' And that owner, they don't know it ... They're friends of mine, many of them. They don't know it. They'll be the most popular person, for a week. They'll be the most popular person in this country."
The Bucs play Sunday in Minnesota and are on the road Saturday, so there are no opportunities to interview players for an response to Trump's comments, but two posted on Twitter in response to what they heard Friday night. …
Bucs RB Doug Martin runs during Tampa Bay's 36-17 win at the Vikings in 2012, in what was then called Mall of America Field. If Tampa Bay wins Sunday, it will mark the first time they have road wins against the same NFL opponent in three different stadiums.
Here's a cool sign that the Bucs are getting up there as an NFL franchise: If Tampa Bay can win Sunday at U.S. Bank Stadium, it will mark the first time the Bucs have posted road wins against the same NFL opponent in three different stadiums.
The Bucs had one of their first-ever road wins at old Metropolitan Stadium in 1978, and then got their first win in the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome in 1983, making the Vikings one of 13 NFL teams the Bucs have beaten in two different stadiums.
That covers all kinds of situations, well beyond just a new home for an NFL opponent. The Bucs beat the Saints in Baton Rouge when they were relocated by Katrina. They beat the Bears in Champaign when Soldier Field was being rebuilt. They beat the Panthers at Clemson when their new stadium was still being built. They beat the Colts in Baltimore and Indianapolis. …
Bucs safety Chris Conte, left, makes a tackle during Sunday's win against the Bears.
Bucs safety Chris Conte has been fined by the NFL for a helmet-first hit on Bears receiver Josh Bellamy that resulted in a 15-yard penalty for unnecessary roughness in the fourth quarter of Sunday's win.
Conte said the league had notified his agent of the fine, but that he wasn't told the specifics as to why. ESPN reported it as a $24,000 fine, and the league's schedule of fines for 2017 lists the initial violation for "impermissable use of the helmet" as $24,309. He was previously fined $22,050 in 2014 for a hit against the Bills, and said he intends to appeal the current fine, saying it comes with playing his position.
"I'll appeal it and hopefully get some money back," Conte said after Friday's practice. "You play safety, you're going to get fined."
Bucs LB Kwon Alexander, shown making an interception in Sunday's win against the Bears, has been ruled out for Sunday's game at the Vikings due to a hamstring injury.
Bucs middle linebacker Kwon Alexander, who left Sunday's season opener with a hamstring injury, has been ruled out for Tampa Bay's game at Minnesota this week, as has Vikings quarterback Sam Bradford.
Alexander, who did not practice at all this week, had said he would play Sunday, but that decision ultimately isn't his, and the team must look out for longterm health, as hamstring injuries can linger if they're not allowed time to heal properly. Rookie Kendell Beckwith, who played well in Alexander's absence, will now start at middle linebacker after starting at strongside last week.
Bradford's injury means the Bucs will face backup Case Keenum, who has beaten Tampa Bay in each of the last two years with the Rams. He's thrown three touchdown passes of 43 yards or longer in those games -- in the other 31 games since the start of 2015, all the other opposing quarterbacks have totaled three touchdown passes of 43 yards or longer. …
Bucs DT Gerald McCoy, shown before Sunday's season opener against the Bears, returned to practice Thursday after missing a day with an ankle injury.
The Bucs are dealing with injuries and illness as they prepare for their first road game of 2017 at the Vikings on Sunday.
DT Gerald McCoy (ankle) was back at practice with limited participation, but the rest of the Bucs' injury report was unchanged -- LB Kwon Alexander missed a second straight day with the hamstring injury that sidelined him early in Sunday's game, though he said he'll be able to play Sunday in Minnesota.
Two players battling illness -- DT Chris Baker and DE Jacquies Smith -- missed a second day of practice, and coach Dirk Koetter said "we are talking about influenza officially diagnosed (and) contagious, so guys when they have it, they've got to stay out of the building." Baker started at defensive tackle in Sunday's win, while Smith was inactive as he recovers from knee surgery.
The Bucs had two players sidelined with illness last week, and both (Alexander and OL Evan Smith) played against the Bears. CB Brent Grimes is also listed as being limited by a shoulder injury, but should also be able to play Sunday.
Bucs defensive back Josh Robinson, who led the team with 12 special-teams tackles last season, is excited to play Sunday at Minnesota, where he played his first four NFL seasons.
For much of Josh Robinson's four seasons with the Vikings, there was excitement leading up to the arrival of the $1.1-billion U.S. Bank Stadium, which opened last season, just as Robinson signed with the Bucs.
"I knew that was coming, knew I would miss out on opening that new stadium," said Robinson, 26, who established himself as a special-teams leader last year with 12 tackles on coverage units and is now a special-teams captain after re-signing in the offseason. "I'm excited to go back there and compete against those guys."
The Vikings player that Robinson has kept in closest contact with is a guy he'll be going afte Sunday -- punt returner Marcus Sherels -- but he's still close with much of the Minnesota secondary, playing more as a defensive back than on special teams with the Vikings.
"It's exciting, just because I spent some time there," Robinson said. "Excited to go back and play against guys I competed against a lot in training camps. I'm looking forward to it."
Robinson said he knows the Vikings defense well -- he played under current head coach Mike Zimmer in 2014-15 -- and can lend some insights to the Bucs offensive players on what they'll face Sunday. …
Bucs DT Gerald McCoy (ankle) and LB Kwon Alexander (hamstring) did not practice Wednesday. DT Chris Baker and DE Jacquies Smith with out with an illness. CB Brent Grimes (shoulder) was limited. LB Devante Bond (knee) had full participation.
“We have a little flu bug going through our team,’’ coach Dirk Koetter said. “We had a couple guys out today with the flu as well. It is going around. We’re taking every precaution we can. But it’s like everything else. You’ve just got to deal with it.’’
A rendering of the Bucs' indoor practice facility.
The Bucs indoor practice facility still is under construction. There is no air conditioning. Some walls are open and the turf field is not fully installed.
But it has a roof to shield the sun and the Bucs took advantage of that Wednesday.
For the first time, the team held its walk-through indoors in an effort just to escape the heat for about a half hour or so.
“It was fine,’’ coach Dirk Koetter said. “It was nice to get in there. It’s not done yet, but it was good to get us out of the heat for those 30 or 40 minutes. It’s going to be awesome. It’s not quite ready yet, but it’s going to be awesome.’’
The team had hoped the indoor facility would be completed sometime in Sept., but it doesn’t appear to be the case. Once it is fully operational, the Bucs will use it for all their walk-throughs and some practices to escape the heat or inclement weather.
In preparation for games on artificial surface like Sunday’s contest in Minnesota, the Bucs may opt to practice indoors as well.
“It’s possible,’’ Koetter said. “I’m not going to pigeonhole anything right now. Today would’ve been a good day to go in there mainly because of the heat.’’
Bucs receiver Adam Humphries had two catches for 18 yards in Sunday's 29-7 win over the Bears.
Bucs receiver Adam Humphries will have a familiar face lining up against him Sunday when he's in the slot and the Vikings have Mackensie Alexander guarding him as their nickel defensive back.
The two were teammates at Clemson -- they played together in 2014, and were both with the Tigers in 2013 when Alexander redshirted. They have identical roster measurements at 5-foot-11 and 195 pounds and are even represented by the same agency.
"It'd be fun to go against him -- he's a good competitor and I used to go up against him every day in practice," Humphries said. "I know a lot about his game. He knows a lot about my game. It's 'Good to see you again, but I'm going to try my best.'"
Humphries has something else to remind him of his Clemson days -- the influx of talent on offense this year, with DeSean Jackson and rookies O.J. Howard and Chris Godwin adding to the Bucs' options in the passing game. …
How good would the Bucs be with running back Dalvin Cook?
It nearly happened. Tampa Bay was set to select Cook in the first round, but Alabama tight end O.J. Howard unexpectedly tumbled to them with the 19th overall pick. Howard was one of the cleanest players in the draft due to his production and character and was projected to be gone with the first 10-15 picks.
The Bucs were very familiar with Cook, who as a teammate of quarterback Jameis Winston at Florida State. Had he come to the Bucs, running back Doug Martin may not be on the roster instead of serving a three-game suspension. Cook lasted until the ninth pick in the second round, most likely due to some off-field concerns.
But Cook has quickly proven to be a strong Rookie of the Year candidate. In his first game, Cook broke Adrian Peterson’s record for the most rushing yards by a rookie in his debut when he gained 127 yards in a 29-19 win over the New Orleans Saints. …
The Bucs stopped Case Keenum on this two-point conversion last season, but he's beaten Tampa Bay in each of the last two years, throwing for four touchdown passes.
Who, you might wonder, will be the first NFL quarterback to beat Jameis Winston three times?
The natural guess would be a division rival, and Carolina's Cam Newton and New Orleans' Drew Brees have beaten Winston twice already.
But the first quarterback this season with a chance to beat the Bucs for a third time in three seasons is ... Case Keenum?
If Sam Bradford's knee keeps him out Sunday as it did for the Vikings this past week, then the Bucs will face Keenum, who led the Rams to victories against Tampa Bay in each of the last two seasons.
Keenum has been sharp -- in 2015, he was 14-for-17 for 234 yards and two scores (a 158.0 QB rating) and last year, he was 14-for-26 for 190 and two touchdowns with an interception. His specialty? Beating the Bucs with the deep ball. …
Twin brothers Ronde and Tiki Barber, shown during a Bucs-Giants game in 2006, will be in the broadcast booth together as Tiki joins Ronde and play-by-play man Kenny Albert for the Bucs-Giants game in Tampa on Oct. 1.
FOX announced Monday night that former Bucs cornerback Ronde Barber will have a familiar face joining him as a guest analyst for the Oct. 1 Bucs-Giants game in Tampa: his twin brother Tiki, who will join play-by-play man Kenny Albert as the brothers watch their old teams play.
"I probably wouldn't want to be part of a three-man booth with too many people, but I'm happy to share the FOX booth with Tiki," Ronde said in a statement. "Tiki is a novice in terms of calling games, and there are so many different mechanics that go along with it. We have always shared our life experiences with each other, so he knows what he is getting into by virtue of me. He is very 'big picture' and not myopic when it comes to football. Because of his history in New York and mine in Tampa, we will be able to offer a different perspective to these two markets and a global viewpoint on both teams to any viewer." …
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