LAKE BUENA VISTA — Larry Fitzgerald says take it from one who knows: quarterback Josh McCown is a heck of a pickup by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
McCown started 19 games under center for the Cardinals during Fitzgerald’s first two NFL seasons in Arizona, and the 8-time Pro Bowl wide receiver can’t say enough about McCown’s intangibles.
“I love Josh, he’s a football junkie,’’ Fitzgerald said Thursday as part of the staff conducting the Drew Brees Passing Academy at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex at Disney. “You have to force the guy to come off the field in practice and the man’s a great leader, the kind of guy you want in your locker room.’’
The Bucs signed McCown as a free agent in March from Chicago, where he served as a backup until Jay Cutler was sidelined by an ankle injury.
McCown played eight games for the Bears in 2013, completing 66.5 percent of his throws, with 13 touchdown passes and only one interception.
“Josh is going to help (second-year pro) Mike Glennon a ton,’’ Fitzgerald said. “You can ask any quarterback who has ever been around Josh -- Cutler, Kurt Warner, anybody -- and they will tell you he’s an ideal teammate. Even if he’s not playing, he’s going to be your biggest fan. He’s just that kind of guy ... he’ll never be a pouter.’’
Also joining Brees at the camp are former Bucs cornerback Darrelle Revis and all-purpose running back Darren Sproles, who was traded from the Saints to the Eagles in the offseason.
“Am I going to miss Darren? Are you kidding me?’’ Brees said of his former teammate. “There are certain things he can do that nobody else on earth can do. You can’t replace that.’’
Revis signed on with the Patriots after Tampa Bay released the 5-time Pro Bowler, who played only one season for the Bucs while recovering from knee surgery.
“A lot of us got fired,’’ said Revis, referring to the massive overhaul initiated by the Bucs under head coach Lovie Smith and GM Jason Licht. “It’s a business, and you have to understand that.’’
Fitzgerald helped Arizona rally from a 10-0 deficit at Raymond James Stadium last September as the Cardinals edged the Bucs 13-10.
He beat Revis with a brilliant triple move to tie the score 10-10 on a 13-yard scoring catch with 3:06 remaining before the Cardinals won with a Jay Feely field goal.
“The Bucs are a much better football team than they showed last year,’’ said Fitzgerald. “They really should have won their first game of the year against the Jets -- and that loss took a lot out of them. They never really recovered, but I like their young talent like (cornerback) Johnthan Banks.
“He was a rookie who made a one-handed interception against us last year, and he’s going to be a good one. I saw (rookie receiver) Mike Evans play a few times in college and he’s a big, physical kid. Believe me, he and Vincent Jackson are going to be a force to be reckoned with.’’