William Gholston has a message for anyone who will listen:
I’m not Vernon.
Gholston’s cousin, Vernon, was a standout player at Ohio State, posting 21.5 sacks and 30.5 tackles for losses. Vernon was equally impressive in the weight room and he was selected by the Jets with the sixth overall pick in the 2008 draft.
Three years later, he was released without registering a single NFL sack. Vernon went on to play for the Bears and Rams and he is now considered one of the biggest draft busts in recent NFL history.
“When I was in high school, I looked up to him so much,’’ DE William Gholston said Thursday as Tampa Bay’s fourth-round draft choice arrived for rookie camp. “He was a monster in college.’’
William Gholston, who registered 10 sacks and 30 tackles for losses in his three years at Michigan State, was asked whether he felt some NFL clubs bypassed him in the draft because of his last name.
“I don’t believe so,’’ he said. “I can only control what I can control. We both do have the same last name, but William and Vernon are two completely different players and two completely different people. There’s only one way to show it.’’
Show time Fifth-round pick Steve Means described his pre-game routine at Buffalo, where the 250-pound defensive end finished with 18.5 sacks and 29.5 tackles for loss.
“Once my helmet gets strapped on, I’m ready to go,’’ he said. “Before that, I listen to rap music, some hard-core stuff – Lil Wayne and old DMX.’’
The Bucs are intrigued with Means as a pass rusher coming off the edge. Asked to describe what it’s like to sack a quarterback, Means couldn’t contain a wide grin.
“That might be the greatest feeling in the world,’’ he said. “It’s being able to get my job done and it shows a strong sense of fighting through adversity. I faced double-teams on almost every play.’’
Checking out Tampa Bay’s plans to provide K Connor Barth with some training camp competition hit a bit of a snag Thursday when Nate Kaeding announced his retirement.
Agent Rick Smith confirmed the decision, saying Kaeding is suffering from a chronic groin problem that affects his kicking motion and has no medical solution.
“It flared up last week and so Nick has decided to retire,’’ Smith said.
The Bucs signed Kaeding, 31, to reduce Barth’s offseason workload and provide competition in camp.
Tampa Bay announced TE Drake Dunsmore also decided to retire.
Busy day The Bucs signed 13 free agents Thursday and waived offensive lineman Derek Hardman, DT Corvey Irvin and CB James Rogers.
Tampa Bay signed WRs Jerry Johnson, D.J. Monroe and Tim Wright, TE Evan Landi, CBs Deveron Carr and Rashaan Melvin, LBs Willie Moseley and Branden Smith, RB Akeem Shavers, G Adam Smith and tackles Brice Schwab, Nick Speller and Jason Weaver. All had agreed to terms earlier in the week.