Buc Rookies Hit the Community Trail

There are 19 rookies on the Buccaneers’ 90-man training camp roster, and all of them have the same goal: to be a part of the team come September.  For about a month and a half, learning what it will take to be a Buccaneer has been the focus of every rookie in Tampa, from second-round draft pick Johnthan Banks to undrafted free agent Tim Wright.

The Bucs’ three-day mini-camp ended on Thursday, however, and with it the entire offseason program, giving way to one final, long break before the start of training camp.  For veteran players, that meant the immediate start of vacation time on Thursday afternoon.  For the Buc rookies, however, something else was on tap.  For the next week, those young players who have been striving so hard to earn a spot on the roster will now be working to become a part of something else: the Bay area community. Continue reading

NFL Network’s Scott Hanson Joins Bucs Cut for a Cure Efforts

When you’re a National Football League player, a thick head of hair could conceivably be a nuisance, perhaps adding a few degrees of temperature inside your helmet during a hot and grueling training camp practice.  When you’re a well-known member of the media covering the National Football League, a thick head of hair might actually be part of the presentation.

Whatever the level of sacrifice involved, some very full heads of hair have disappeared at One Buccaneer Place over the last six days, revealing the scalps – not to mention the care and generosity – of Buccaneer players and staff members, and now one prominent member of the NFL media.

On Wednesday, NFL Network’s Scott Hanson visited Buc headquarters during one of the team’s mini-camp practices specifically to get his head shaved in support of the Pediatric Cancer Foundation’s Cut for a Cure Charity Challenge.  Last Friday, Buccaneers General Manager Mark Dominik – a PCF board member – led more than 25 Buc players and staffers in getting the clean-shaven look, and it was an interview he conducted immediately after the cut that sparked Wednesday’s development.

Dominik, in front of a camera at One Buc, chatted with Hanson out in a NFLN studio in Los Angeles on Friday.  Most of the talk was about what the Buccaneers are doing on the field, of course, but Dominik’s new look couldn’t go without comment.  Somehow, that turned into a challenge, and Hanson stepped up.

“Mark Dominik’s been a friend – not only a business colleague but a friend – for a long time,” said Hanson, a former WFTS-TV reporter who still makes his offseason home in Tampa.  “At the end of the interview I said, ‘Hey, admit it – that’s a good haircut for the training camp weather that’s coming here in Tampa.’  He said, ‘You know that, Scott.  You know how it is down here in Tampa.  I want to see you with one of these one day.’

“I didn’t say anything at the time, but I thought about it afterwards and I [thought], ‘You know what?  I’m going to be in Tampa next week and I know they’ve got a mini-camp.  Maybe I can swing by, and if it will help awareness for pediatric cancer and the battles that families go through all across the country and all across the world, it would be a great cause.’”

Even though he was leery of the quality of haircut one might get at a football facility, Hanson arrived at One Buc Wednesday in very good spirits.  He knew his efforts could lead to the $23,500 already raised by the Buccaneer participants in the Cut for a Cure Challenge growing even further.  Hanson will make his own donation to the Pediatric Cancer Foundation to support his involvement, and hopes more will come from the exposure provided by footage of his sacrifice on NFL Network.

“Hopefully it will spark some interest in people, and maybe people who wouldn’t otherwise get involved might give a donation and help some folks out,” said Hanson.  There are currently 18 days left for donations to be added to the Bucs’ Cut for a Cure efforts on the Pediatric Cancer Foundation website.

Hanson laughingly said he was “hoping for the best but expecting the worst” when it came to his Wednesday haircut.  As it turned, he got a very nice buzz cut courtesy not only of a local professional but also some turns at the clippers by Dominik and one other special guest at One Buc Place, four-year-old Buc fan Joshua Fisher.

Fisher has been battling Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia, a blood cancer that affects every part of the body, since he was two-and-a-half.  A huge sports fan, Joshua has become friends with Buccaneers quarterback Josh Freeman at various PCF events over the last year, and he was one of the pediatric cancer patients who joined in last Friday’s Cut for a Cure event at One Buc Place.  That was good news for Hanson, because by Wednesday Joshua had become very adept with the clippers, leading to a better haircut than the NFL Network analyst likely expected.

Anyway, like the players and staffers who participated in last Friday’s event at One Buc Place, Hanson knew that his hair would grow back, and that it was a small sacrifice to make in order to provide help for brave young boys and girls like Joshua.

Freeman, Williams and Others Joining Dominik in Shaving Head for Cancer Research

Tampa Bay Buccaneers General Manager Mark Dominik might feel a little strange on Friday afternoon after he has his head shaved to support the Pediatric Cancer Foundation’s Fourth Annual Bright House Networks Cut for a Cure Charity Challenge.

What he won’t feel is lonely.

See, Dominik won’t be the only one sporting a newly shiny dome at One Buccaneer Place on Friday.  Joining him in this most worthy of causes – and in this most public of statements – will be more than a dozen current Buccaneer players, including quarterback Josh Freeman, wide receiver Mike Williams, linebacker Mason Foster, kicker Connor Barth and punter Michael Koenen. Continue reading

Jackson Bringing Thousands of Military Members to Friday’s Lightning Game

Vincent Jackson, just back in town after representing the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the 2013 Pro Bowl, has made plans to watch the hometown hockey team, the Tampa Bay Lightning, take on the Winnipeg Jets Friday night.  Oh, and he plans to bring several friends along.

Actually, more like several thousand.

Through his recently-founded Jackson in Action 83 Foundation, the all-star Buccaneer wideout has partnered with the Lightning to purchase 2,000 tickets to Friday night’s game to be distributed to military families at Tampa’s MacDill Air Force Base.  A staunch supporter of the military, Jackson focuses his foundation’s work on those who serve the country in such a capacity. Continue reading

Angels Visit One Buc Place

The dining room at One Buccaneer Place is quieter than usual most Tuesdays during the season, with the players enjoying a day off and the coaches upstairs working on game plans.

That was true through most of this particular Tuesday, too, although the room did have a slightly different look than usual.  Evenly spaced along three of the room’s walls, about four feet high, was a series of simple white pieces of paper, each one displaying the name and age of a child.  Sitting quietly beneath each piece of paper was a promising pile of presents.

That all changed at 3:15 p.m., when the doors of the dining room were thrown open and approximately 80 “angels” rushed in, and suddenly the room was a beehive of happy activity.  These “angels” were the namesakes from the row of papers on the walls, each one a local child who needed some outside help to have a happy holiday season. Continue reading

Another Chance to Join TEAM DAVIN

Two weeks ago, before the Bucs took on the Falcons, Pro Bowl guard Davin Joseph sat under a tent in the South Plaza outside of Raymond James Stadium and met hundreds of Buccaneer fans, handing out autographs and, more importantly, signing up volunteers to join TEAM DAVIN.

Joseph, who had a little extra time on game day on his hands because he is on injured reserve, made the most of it, persuading local citizens to join him and the United Way by serving as volunteers, mentors and tutors in the Bay area.  The effort was so successful that Joseph moved all the way up to second place on the leaderboard for the United Way’s “Live United” NFL team program.

And that’s not all – in the weeks that have followed, volunteers have continued to sign up for TEAM DAVIN online through Buccaneers.com.  Now, with 1,350 volunteers successfully recruited, Joseph is alone at the top.  His efforts have accounted for 15% of all the volunteers signed up throughout the NFL. Continue reading

TEAM DAVIN Growing Fast

Last Sunday, in the hours leading up to the Buccaneers’ home game against the Falcons, Pro Bowl guard Davin Joseph set up a tent in the South Concourse outside Raymond James Stadium and invited any and all comers to join TEAM DAVIN.

Joseph, who is currently on injured reserve, still made good use of game day by greeting fans and handing out autographs to anyone who joined his crew.  Joining TEAM DAVIN meant signing up to help Joseph and the United Way by serving a volunteers, mentors and tutors in the Bay area.  Budding community leaders showed up by the hundreds to get involved.

In fact, TEAM DAVIN is now one of the most robust United Way volunteer groups in the NFL.  Each of the 32 NFL teams has designated one player to serve as their United Way spokesperson, as well as their leading activist in recruiting volunteers.  The United Way is even keeping a leaderboard of the 32 participants, tracking which players sign up the most volunteers.

Thanks to the turnout on Sunday, Joseph now has the second biggest group of volunteers behind him, at 1,161 through Thursday.  Houston’s Glover Quin is the only player with more, at 1,329.  Those two and the New York Giants’ George Wilson are the only three players in the league who have surpassed 1,000 signees, with the next highest player coming in at 645.

But the contest isn’t over, nor has your chance to join TEAM DAVIN passed.  You can sign up at any time by visiting the TEAM DAVIN page on Buccaneers.com.  Those who sign up through the web site will be entered into a drawing to win a football autographed by Joseph and many of his Buccaneer teammates.

And, by signing up, you can help TEAM DAVIN grow even larger.  The player who signs up the most new recruits between August 5 and December 30 will receive the principle star position in the 2013 NFL “Live United” nationally-broadcast public service advertisement, distributed by the Ad Council.  The winner would also be featured on the United Way’s 2013 NFL schedule, which is distributed nationwide.

A victory for Joseph would also have a positive impact on education in the Bay area.  The NFL market of the winning player will receive a $10,000 grant to be spent on an education project involving that player.

So sign up for TEAM DAVIN now and make a difference in the Bay area community.

Meet Davin Joseph Sunday and Join “TEAM DAVIN”

Pro Bowl Guard Davin Joseph and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have joined up with United Way Suncoast to build the next generation of volunteers, mentors and tutors in the Bay area.  All across the NFL, teams are joining up with United Way to focus on the building blocks of a good life. The goal is to attract volunteers and mentors that will create long-lasting changes to build a better future.

Now is your chance to show how Bucs fans embrace the Bay. On Sunday, November 25th, before the Buccaneers take on the Atlanta Falcons, Joseph will be greeting fans in the Raymond James Stadium South Plaza near Tampa Bay Boulevard from 10:00-11:00 a.m. ET, encouraging fans to join TEAM DAVIN in support of this great cause. All fans who register to join TEAM DAVIN will receive an autograph from Joseph.

Unable to attend Sunday’s game? Signing up is still just a few clicks way. To volunteer, visit www.buccaneers.com/TeamDavin and enter your name and contact information. Just for volunteering, you will receive an autographed digital photo of Davin Joseph and be entered for a chance to win a football signed by Davin and some of his Buccaneer teammates.

Giving Thanks All Over

On Tuesday night, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ offensive line conducted the sixth annual “Turkey Time with the O-Line” event at team headquarters, distributing bountiful Thanksgiving meals to 700 families in need.  Turkey Time drew a lot of local attention, as well it should, but it wasn’t the only instance of a Buccaneer player helping out those in need this week as the holiday season begins.

Davin Joseph, who was one of the original founders of the Turkey Time initiative in 2006 and who still is a driving force in that ever-growing event, was eager to help out folks back in his hometown, as well.  Therefore, he hustled down to Hallandale, Florida on Monday to once again host a Thanksgiving reception, something he has also been doing for six straight years.  With the help of “Davin’s Dream Team,” Joseph helped 150 Hallandale families have a more enjoyable and filling Thanksgiving.

DE Michael Bennett also made a quick trip back to his hometown before the Bucs’ started their practice week on Wednesday, though he had a bit farther to go.  With his brother, TE Martellus Bennett of the New York Giants, also returning to their Houston-area home, the Buccaneer sack leader helped distribute supplies to more families in need.

“We gave out turkey dinners to 150 families, giving back to the community and all the people we grew up with,” said Bennett.  “A lot of families came out and we had a lot of support in the community back home.”

WR Arrelious Benn, a D.C. native, stayed in his adopted NFL home to help the community, teaming with Whole Foods and the Community Stepping Stones organization to identify Bay area families that could use some holiday aid.  On Tuesday, Benn, who comes from a single-parent home, personally delivered complete packaged dinners to four families to make their Thanksgivings more festive.

Buccaneers Cheerleaders Share Meaning of Thanksgiving

The Hillsborough County Family Partnership Alliance (HCFPA) is a non-profit organization, run solely by non-salaried foster or adoptive parent volunteers. They provide local caregivers of foster children with resources, trainings, food and clothing assistance and a much needed support system.

Being a previous adoption social worker, I have witnessed the amount of sacrifice and love these foster and adoptive parents provide every day. These families have touched my heart and changed my life throughout the past few years. As a Tampa Bay Buccaneers Cheerleader, and a part of the Buccaneers organization dedicated to community service, I knew I had to step out and give back to an organization that has so greatly impacted my life.

On November 9, a group of TBBC had the honor to join the HCFPA in their “Thanksgiving giveaway” food pantry. With the holidays approaching, a 14,000-pound donation of food was delivered to HCFPA. With much gratitude, the staff reached out to TBBC for some extra helping hands. As Tampa Bay Buccaneer Cheerleaders, teamwork is a necessity to our success on the field and throughout the season. Upon arrival, we quickly formed an assembly line and started sorting, bagging and preparing bags of Continue reading