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Rick Stroud, Times Staff Writer

Rick Stroud

Rick Stroud covers the Bucs and the NFL for the Times. He joined the paper in 1983 after graduating from Arkansas St., where he played baseball. He has reported on national sporting events including more than 20 Super Bowls, the NCAA Final Four, and the Major League Baseball playoffs. While working as the beat writer assigned to the University of Florida at the Times, Stroud's stories documented NCAA rules violations by the football and basketball programs. He began covering the Bucs in 1990. Since then, the team has undergone seven coaching changes, the death of owner Hugh Culverhouse and the sale of the franchise to billionaire owner Malcolm Glazer and a stadium referendum and a Super Bowl XXVII victory. He co-hosts a sports talk show weekday mornings from 6-9 on WDAE 620-AM, 95.3-FM.

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E-mail: stroud@tampabay.com

Blog: Bucs Beat

Radio talk show (620-AM, 95.3-FM): Listen live

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  1. Bucs meet goal of adding speed in NFL draft

    Bucs

    TAMPA — The goal still is written on a grease board in Jason Licht's office. The Bucs general manager left it there after a meeting several months ago as a constant reminder that his team had a need for speed.

    Nowhere is this more important or obvious than on offense, where the Bucs quickly got quicker through free agency and the NFL draft to help quarterback Jameis Winston.

    The Bucs started in March by signing Redskins free agent receiver DeSean Jackson, who despite being 30 was clocked as the second-fastest man in the league last season. During the three-day NFL draft that ended Saturday, Tampa Bay added 6-foot-6 Alabama tight end O.J. Howard, who runs a 4.5 40-yard dash, in the first round; Penn State receiver Chris Godwin (4.42) in the third; and Boise State running back Jeremy McNichols (4.49) in the fifth....

    Tight end O.J. Howard, flanked by Bucs head coach Dirk Koetter, left, and general manager Jason Licht, holds up his new Tampa Bay jersey. The Bucs believe that the 6-6 Howard, who runs a 4.5 40, can stretch the field in the NFL more than he did at Alabama.
  2. Bucs fufilling GM Jason Licht's need for speed on offense

    Blog

    The goal still is written on a grease board in Jacon Licht’s office. The Bucs general manager left it there after a meeting several months ago as a constant reminder that his team had a need for speed.

    Nowhere is this more important or obvious than on offense, where the Bucs have quickly gotten quicker through free agency and the NFL draft to help quarterback Jameis Winston.

    The Bucs started by signing Redskins free agent receiver DeSean Jackson. On Thursday, Tampa Bay used their first round pick on 6-foot-6 Alabama tight end O.J. Howard, who runs a 4.5 40-yard dash. Then on Friday, the Bucs selected Penn State receiver Chris Godwin in the third round....

    The Bucs selected Penn State receiver Chris Goodwin in the third round.
  3. Bucs top pick O.J. Howard lifted by love of family, hometown

    Bucs

    TAMPA — There's nobody else like O.J. Howard. At least, that's what everybody says. The 6-foot-6, 251-pound tight end from Alabama can block, run, jump and catch better than almost any man in the NFL draft.

    He also is humble, polite, thoughtful, smart and has all the attributes you would want from your 22-year-old first-round pick.

    Yup, O'Terrius Jabari Howard is one of a kind. But when his mother, Lemasa Parker-Howard, watched him from the first row of a news conference at One Buc Place on Friday, she thought of another athlete in the family, one who looked and sounded just like her son....

    Tight end O.J. Howard of Alabama, selected by the Bucs in the first round of the NFL draft, is introduced at a press conference at One Buc Place in Tampa on Friday. [LOREN ELLIOTT   |   Times]
  4. O.J. Howard is an in-line tight end who can block but has the speed to stretch the field and become a receiving weapon.
  5. Bucs take Alabama TE O.J. Howard in first round of draft

    Bucs

    TAMPA — He was still standing there, wide open and all alone.

    Alabama tight end O.J. Howard, at 6 feet 6 and 251 pounds, was very hard to miss when the Bucs scanned the field of players available with the 19th overall pick in the draft Thursday.

    "It was a little bit of a pipe dream," general manager Jason Licht said. "I have no other words right now. I'm kind of shaken."

    The Bucs were so sure that Howard wouldn't be available for them that they didn't include him among the 30 players who visited One Buc Place during the predraft process....

    O.J. Howard wasn’t invited by the Bucs for a predraft interview because they didn’t think he’d be available at No. 19.
  6. Bucs' opportunity to trade down may depend on QB market

    Blog

    A robust quarterback market and a run on that position will give the Bucs their best opportunity to acquire more picks by trading down in the first round of Thursday's NFL draft.

    Tampa Bay has discussed the possibility of moving down from the No. 19 overall pick with more than three teams. As many as four quarterbacks could go in the first round this year, although none are considered locks to become franchise passers such as Jameis Winston or Marcus Mariota, who went 1-2 to the Bucs and Tennessee, respectively, in 2015....

    North Carolina's Mitch Trubisky is among the quarterbacks that will receive first-round consideration.
  7. NFL draft: Addressing the Bucs' greatest need

    Bucs

    TAMPA — When it comes to the NFL draft under Bucs general manager Jason Licht, the offense has played with too many men on the field.

    The first two years, Licht took only one player on defense: LSU linebacker Kwon Alexander in the fourth round in 2015 — a terrific talent who already is among the league's best at his position.

    In fact, only five of the Bucs' 20 draft picks under Licht have been used on defense, including four last year....

    Linebacker Kwon Alexander, leveling Saints wide receiver Willie Snead, was a Bucs draft success as a fourth-rounder out of LSU in 2015.
  8. Bucs' draft wish list: Players coming at you like a wrecking ball

    Bucs

    TAMPA — There is a running back for every occasion in the NFL draft this year. You have power backs (Leonard Fournette), slashing/three-down backs (Dalvin Cook) and even Swiss Army knife backs (Christian McCaffrey).

    Bucs coach Dirk Koetter has watched them all, and there is a chance his team will be lucky enough to grab one when Tampa Bay picks 19th overall Thursday.

    But regardless of the position, what Koetter says is more important in the first round is finding a player who can single-handedly change the outcome of games....

  9. Bucs' 2017 schedule lets Jameis Winston take on a parade of great QBs

    Bucs

    TAMPA — Here comes the Lord of the Rings. Here comes Captain Comeback. Here comes Patriots quarterback Tom Brady.

    His first regular-season visit to Raymond James Stadium will be Oct. 5 for a Thursday night nationally televised game against the Bucs on CBS.

    Brady is Leonardo DiCaprio with a chinstrap. Model wife. Drives a Brink's truck. He has won five Super Bowls, more than any quarterback in history. FBI agents deliver his shirts....

    Tom Brady makes his first regular-season visit to Raymond James Stadium on Oct. 5 — presumably minus his latest Super Bowl trophy — when the Patriots take on the Bucs in one of Tampa Bay’s two prime-time games in the 2017 season.
  10. It's official: Bucs and 'charismatic' roster set for 'Hard Knocks'

    Bucs

    TAMPA — On the day Hard Knocks, HBO's NFL reality series, announced it was going to training camp with the Bucs, coach Dirk Koetter's reaction reflected that of most head coaches about the show.

    "I like watching the show," Koetter said. "I wish I wasn't on it."

    Quick to note "they picked us," Koetter nonetheless has accepted that the fans' pleasure may be worth his pain. For five weeks this summer, the Bucs will be the focus of the award-winning series that started in 2001 and is done in conjunction with NFL Films. The premier episode is 10 p.m. Aug. 8....

    Hard Knocks could benefit Jameis Winston, about whom negative images could remain from his time at FSU. People will see there’s “nothing that’s not pure” about him, Dirk Koetter says.
  11. Hard Knocks selects the Bucs, calls them a 'team on the rise'

    Blog

    On the day that Hard Knocks, the HBO sports reality series, announced they were going to training camp with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Dirk Koetter’s reaction was reflective of most head coaches in the National Football League.

    “I like watching the show,’’ Koetter said. “I wish I wasn’t on it.’’

    But for five weeks, with the premier episode scheduled for Tuesday, Aug. 8 at 10 p.m., the Bucs will be the focus of the award-winning series in conjunction with NFL Films....

  12. Bucs' major announcement? 'Hard Knocks'

    Blog

    It’s a Hard Knocks life for the Bucs.

    All indications are that the HBO sports documentary series, in conjunction with NFL Films, has chosen to go to training camp with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The team has scheduled a news conference for 1 p.m. Wednesday for an undisclosed ‘major announcement.’

    However, for the past several weeks, everyone from co-chairman Joel Glazer to general manager Jason Licht and head coach Dirk Koetter have been bracing – if not embracing – the inevitability that they would be chosen for Hard Knocks this year. Both Koetter and Licht will be available to the media Wednesday, the team said....

    "The whole world gets to see how great of an organization this is,'' Jameis Winston says, "and see the great people that we have within the organization.''
  13. Bucs' Gerald McCoy vows to change 'everything'

    Bucs

    TAMPA

    He heard it once. Then twice. Three different times. From three "credible sources" at the Pro Bowl in Orlando last January, Gerald McCoy was given a humbling critique of his career, which has included zero playoff appearances in seven seasons.

    McCoy said he was told that he has not produced enough fourth-quarter sacks with everything on the line in order for the Bucs to win football games....

    Tampa Bay Buccaneers defensive tackle Gerald McCoy (93) celebrates after sacking Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson (3) on third down during the second half of a football game between the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Seattle Seahawks at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Fla., on Sunday, Nov. 27, 2016.
  14. Bucs' Gerald McCoy: 'I haven't done enough to lead this team'

    Blog

    Gerald McCoy says in the Bucs defensive meeting room there is a quote from L.A. Clippers coach Doc Rivers: Average players want to be left alone, good players want to be coached, great players want to be told the truth.

    McCoy explained that he learned the truth about himself from three unnamed ‘credible sources,’ at the Pro Bowl in January who told him separately that in effect he hasn’t done enough in his seven seasons to lead the Bucs....

    The Bucs have not reached the postseason since Gerald McCoy became the third overall pick by the team in 2010.
  15. Bucs begin off-season workouts, await schedule and HBO

    Blog

    The Bucs begin phase one of their voluntary off-season workout program today. For players, think of it as the official start of the 2017 season, one certainly to be filled with burgeoning expectations and exposure.

    Some introductions will be made with the addition of receiver DeSean Jackson, defensive tackle Chris Baker, safety J.J. Wilcox and place-kicker Nick Folk.
    General manager Jason Licht, quarterback Jameis Winston and defensive tackle Gerald McCoy will be available to the media this morning at 11:30 a.m....

    Nick Folk (2), shown here celebrating his game-winning field goal for the New York Jets' 30-27 victory against the New England Patriots at MetLife Stadium on October 20, 2013 in East Rutherford, N.J.