TAMPA — Even when he had Adam Vinatieri, an eventual NFL All-Decade kicker, New England coach Bill Belichick made a habit of trying out place-kickers every couple of weeks or so.
It appears Bucs GM Jason Licht, a Belichick disciple, may develop a similar habit.
Despite indications that K Connor Barth will make a successful comeback from the ruptured Achilles’ tendon that forced him to miss all of 2013, the Bucs spent a portion of Wednesday looking at additional kickers.
The most notable of the group was Rob Bironas. A 2007 Pro Bowler, Bironas was scheduled to earn approximately $3 million this season, but was cut in March by the Titans.
The tryout came a day after Barth was given the afternoon off. Barth said he has suffered no complications from his surgery a year ago, and feels he’s in line for a comeback season.
The Bucs also have first-year pro Patrick Murray in camp. A Fordham product, Murray has impressed Tampa Bay coaches with his reliability.
Keeping footballs stocked in the Bucs merchandise tent has emerged as quite a challenge.
On Wednesday, retail supervisor Vivian Evans was awaiting the next shipment of $40 white footballs, which come with an enclosed Sharpie.
“There were two footballs left on the front table this morning,” Evans said. “A man bought his son a Lavonte David jersey and he took a picture of the boy with our cheerleaders.
“By the time they walked back to the front, both footballs were gone. I took the man’s phone number to call him when we get more.”
The most popular jerseys in camp are those worn by David and rookie wide receiver Mike Evans. Authentic ($400) and Replica ($200) helmets have also been among the hottest items.
On the mend
CB Alterraun Verner, a free-agent addition from Tennessee, hasn’t practiced since the second day of camp because of a tender hamstring.
Verner has been ruled out of the preseason opener, but he said he is progressing steadily.
“I plan on being back on the field soon,” he said after Wednesday’s workout. “It’s not like I’m on vacation. ... I’ve been getting a lot of mental reps.”
Roy Cummings, Ira Kaufman