Breaking Tampa Bay, Florida and national news and weather from Tampa Bay Online and The Tampa Tribune |
Friday, Apr 18, 2014
Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Rookies quickly learn about life on bubble

Published:   |   Updated: March 20, 2013 at 09:21 PM

It was a little bumpy for a while, but two young and grateful Bucs managed to survive the NFL's weekend cut down.

CB Anthony Gaitor, a seventh-round draft pick out of Florida International, made the active roster, while first-year receiver Ed Gant was cut Saturday and re-signed to Tampa Bay's practice squad.

"It was kind of a nervous weekend,'' said Gaitor, who posted seven tackles and a sack in the preseason. "I kept telling myself not to worry about things you can't control. I feel like I gave 100 percent in camp and in the games and good things happened.''

Gant displayed soft hands in practice and capped a strong preseason with a 96-yard touchdown catch at Washington last week, giving him five receptions for 164 yards in exhibition games.

"We were excited about the way Gant played in that last game,'' offensive coordinator Greg Olson said. "Anyone that's been at practice has seen that speed.''

Once Gant was cut, the Bucs had no guarantee they would be able to retain him.

"My agent was telling me I might go somewhere else, but I didn't want to go to another team,'' said Gant, who spent the final five weeks of the 2010 season on Tampa Bay's practice squad. "I was so comfortable here and the system fit my game so much.

"They let me play loose. I felt that if I went to another team, they'll probably put the shackles on me. I feel blessed to be in Tampa."

Ready to rumble

After five weeks of rehearsals, Mason Foster is ready for the curtain to rise.

The third-round pick out of Washington will open at middle linebacker in Sunday's opener against the Lions, replacing departed veteran Barrett Ruud.

"I'm excited and ready to go,'' Foster said. "It's all about going out there and playing the way you know you can play. They brought me here for a reason, they believe in me, and I want to show them they made the right choice.''

Coach Raheem Morris tabbed Foster as a starter early in training camp and his support hasn't wavered.

"I'm feeling great about Foster,'' Morris said. "He had a really good preseason.

"He'll be locked in Sunday and he'll get better and better every week.''

It's a rap

A radio show host and three local rappers have teamed to make a song titled "Football's Back'' in honor of Morris and the Bucs.

WiLD 94.1 featured a new rap song featuring Morris on its Tuesday morning show. Orlando Davis, who hosts "Orlando & The Freak Show," paired with local rappers Mark Victor, Laws and Mason Caine on the musical project, which opens with sound bites from Morris news conferences.

"My guys over at WiLD put out a nice little song on us,'' Morris said. "It's the sound of your town getting behind you. Hopefully, it's out playing in our area, pumping up our young Buccaneer fans and our old ones.''

Extra points

Mike Alstott is representing the Bucs during pregame activities Thursday night at Lambeau Field. A former player from each NFL club will participate in a celebration before the league's season opener in Green Bay between the Packers and Saints, the past two Super Bowl champions. … The Glazer Family Foundation is coordinating a supply drive at Raymond James Stadium before Sunday's game. Fans are asked to donate coffee, hygiene items and non-perishable food items to be shipped directly to U.S. military bases overseas. … The Bucs signed DL George Johnson to the practice squad and released TE Daniel Hardy. … Five players have new numbers: rookie RB Allen Bradford (21), Gaitor (24), rookie S Devin Holland (30), rookie LB Derrell Smith (50 on practice squad) and LB Zac Diles (53).

Ira Kaufman, Anwar S. Richardson