TAMPA, Fla. — Mandatory minicamp sits on the horizon as the next step towards the 2021 NFL season for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and there are some players who may be feeling their own hype just a little too much as we get into the summer season.
Speaking to media on Tuesday after OTA practice concluded, Bucs head coach Bruce Arians mentioned the absence of about ten players, saying, "These guys out here are working their ass off. I'd like to see about 10 more of them that are fighting for jobs that they don't know they're fighting for.”
The good news is the players who are present are doing well. The bad news is, there seems to be a lack of self-awareness among some members of the Tampa Bay roster. Specifically, Arians identified second-year running back Ke’Shawn Vaughn as one of those players who would be wise to show up to OTAs on Wednesday.
Vaughn had been at OTA practices the first week, but after working out with quarterback Tom Brady and his group of roster secured personnel, the young back was a no-show on Tuesday. This prompted Arians to comment on the Vanderbilt product by saying, “Ke’Shawn decided to work out with those guys, and that’s their choice, but hopefully he’ll make a better decision tomorrow.”
In fact, the only member of the running back room present for practice Tuesday was veteran Giovanni Bernard who had worked out with Brady and his group as well. Arians did mention C.J. Prosise was excused for the birth of a child, but The Athletic’s Greg Auman also pointed out Troymaine Pope was missing as well.
Pope was a rookie minicamp tryout player who signed just two weeks ago after appearing in six games for the Los Angeles Chargers in 2020.
Eyes will be open to see if Vaughn and Pope decide to show up on Wednesday after being publicly exposed as players who need to take advantage of as many opportunities they can to secure one of the few precious roster spots available for Tampa Bay in 2021.
Meanwhile, we can only speculate on who the other eight or so names might be. With the Tampa Bay Buccaneers entering mandatory activities next week though, the cream is about to start rising to the top, even as the first 22 to 25 spots have been secured.
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