The last time Tampa Bay Buccaneers RB Doug Martin took a hit of any kind was last Oct. 20 in Atlanta, where his left labrum came apart after he fell awkwardly to the ground trying to catch a short pass from QB Mike Glennon.
Thoughts of that moment were running through Martin’s mind before he took the field for the first day of padded workouts under new coach Lovie Smith at One Buc Place on Sunday.
Those thoughts, though, didn’t leave the 2012 Pro Bowler even one bit hesitant.
“No, I wasn’t nervous at all about it,’’ Martin said later. “I’ve kind of been testing it out, punching bags and really putting my shoulder into it, so I wasn’t worried about it at all.
“I was actually happy to get back out there and be back in pads. It’s been a while for me. And right now the shoulder feels really good. It really does. First day in pads, it’s still intact, so I’m good to go.”
The same could not necessarily be said for the rest of the Bucs offense. That unit was often dominated by the defense on the first day in pads and when it wasn’t being dominated, it was playing sloppy football.
QB Josh McCown had his second throw of the day in 11-on-11 work intercepted by MLB Mason Foster and the ball wound up on the ground far more often than Smith would like to see, mostly the result of dropped passes.
“Actually, the last couple of days we’ve had some balls on the ground,’’ Smith said. “Of course, we can’t do that. Offensively we are doing some things (well), but we’re a work in progress still.’’
The Bucs made it through their first padded workout relatively unscathed. Though LG Jamon Meredith left practice early with what O-line coach described as cramps, the Bucs avoided any serious injuries.
The only notable injury so far was suffered Saturday by CB Rashaan Melvin, who tweaked his left ankle during a pass coverage drill. He spent Sunday’s workout watching from the sidelines with his left foot in a protective boot.
“We have a couple dings but nothing to really concern ourselves about,’’ Smith said. “Our numbers are pretty good right now so there’s nothing that really concerns us.’’
My left foot
An NFL rule prohibiting rookies from joining their new team until after final exams are completed for the spring semester wasn’t the only thing that kept TE Austin Seferian-Jenkins off the field this offseason.
Even if Seferian-Jenkins, the Bucs’ second-round pick out of Washington, had joined the team in time for offseason practice, a surgically repaired left foot still would have kept him off the field.
The two issues have combined to put Jenkins far behind the rest of his teammates in his attempt to learn the playbook and reach the conditioning level he needs to play at a high level.
He is quickly making up on the ground he lost, though, especially on the field itself, where the pain he was once experiencing as a result of the stress fracture in his left foot has all but disappeared.
“Oh, it feels so good right now,’’ Seferian-Jenkins said. “When I was running out there during the season last year I could kind of feel my foot and I was always kind of thinking about it.
“But now it’s refreshing to be able to run around. I get a little tired because I haven’t been able to run around like that for a while. But it feels really good and I thank God for that because I haven’t felt like that in a long time.’’