Tampa Bay Buccaneers LB Tyrone McKenzie recently called LB Barrett Ruud to perfect his understanding of the team's defensive playbook.
However, Ruud was in Lincoln, Neb. Ruud wanted to help, but he was not going to be in Tampa anytime soon.
McKenzie decided to do the next best thing. He hopped on a plane and flew to Nebraska.
McKenzie sat down with Ruud last week in a hotel lobby in Omaha, and they went over Tampa Bay's defensive playbook. McKenzie was trying to learn the details before leading Tampa Bay's defense during this week's minicamp at the IMG Academies in Bradenton.
"I flew up to Nebraska and met with Barrett last week, and he was nice enough to sit down with me," McKenzie said. "We went over the defense. I had a good grasp of it with (linebackers) coach (Joe) Baker during the season. It was good to sit down with somebody and talk about football.
"I flew up to Omaha and he drove from Lincoln to Omaha to see me. Me and him met in the lobby and went over tape. That shows the type of classy guy Barrett is and leadership he has."
Checking out the competition
The list of unexpected visitors at Tampa Bay's minicamp continued Thursday.
NFL commissioner Roger Goodell and NFL Players' Association executive director DeMaurice Smith attended practice on Wednesday, while Carolina QB Cam Newton showed up Thursday.
Newton, the reigning Heisman Trophy winner, has been working out at IMG Academies in preparation for this season.
He drove to Tampa Bay's practice field on a golf cart and watched practice for several minutes. Newton later got out of his cart and shared a few laughs with Bucs QB Josh Freeman and former Tampa Bay WR Michael Clayton.
"You've got to be able to build that camaraderie," Newton said. "That's why, this kind of thing right here, you can't beat this. You can't get this from texting guys."
Blast from the past
TE Alex Smith and Clayton were not the only former Bucs at Tampa Bay's minicamp Thursday.
RB Clifton Smith arrived on the final day and practiced with his former teammates. Smith joined Tampa Bay as an undrafted free agent in 2008, eventually making the Pro Bowl as a kick returner.
However, Smith sustained two concussions in 2009, had a knee injury and suffered from gout in 2010 and was released before last season.
Smith is playing running back for the Virginia Destroyers (United Football League).
"It's still my family out here," Smith said. "It's a good time to come back out. I haven't seen them in a long time. It was great seeing them again. I enjoyed it."
Receivers catch commitment
Tampa Bay's receivers might have caught a commitment award for their minicamp attendance.
While seemingly every Bucs offensive lineman participated in minicamp, Dezmon Briscoe was the only Tampa Bay receiver not in attendance. Mike Williams, Arrelious Benn, Micheal Spurlock, Sammie Stroughter, Preston Parker and Maurice Stovall attended practices for three days.
"We think we have a great corps of receivers as a whole," Williams said. "We think we can go out there and battle any corps in the whole world.
"We think we can play with anybody, and we showed that this offseason by all of us being together."
Anwar S. Richardson