TAMPA — According to the agent for Adrian Clayborn, the Bucs have decided not to pick up the $6.969 million, fifth-year option on the defensive end's rookie contract.
Blake Baratz told the Tribune on Thursday that the Bucs have informed him they will decline to pick up the option, which would not have been guaranteed, by the May 3 deadline.
A first-round draft pick in 2011, Clayborn had 7.5 sacks as a rookie, but he missed all but three games of his second season with a knee injury. Clayborn returned last year and recorded 5.5 sacks. With the free-agent signing of veteran RDE Michael Johnson from Cincinnati, Clayborn is expected to shift to the left side.
Bucs coach Lovie Smith said the team has a plan for Clayborn, who could still negotiate a long-term contract before entering the free-agent market in 2015.
“We have something in mind for him,” Smith said. “We like what Adrian did last year, and he's one of the guys we're counting on this year and he needs to play well this year, and he realizes that. He knows he's going to be with us this year and that's all that anybody is promised.”
One at a time
Individual game tickets for Tampa Bay's eight regular-season and two preseason home games went on sale Thursday, with prices starting at $30.
The Bucs also offer season pass memberships starting at $30 per game, or $15 for youths. Discounts are available for groups of 10 or more. For information, call 1-866-582-BUCS (2827) or go to the team website.
Former University of South Florida standout CB Mike Jenkins, who signed with the Bucs as a free agent on March 20, is eager to play this fall in front of some familiar faces.
“This is a great opportunity for me to come back and be with family and friends who can watch me play,” said Jenkins, selected by Dallas with the 25th overall pick in the 2008 draft. “It feels good to play in the same stadium (Raymond James) I played in during college, with a great atmosphere.”
Jenkins played his first five pro seasons with the Cowboys and made the Pro Bowl in 2009, when he posted half of his 10 career interceptions. He joined the Raiders last season.
Jenkins has 63 NFL starts behind him as he tries to impress Smith.
“Mike's a good player and a local guy,” Smith said. “He had an opportunity to go wherever he wanted, and we recruited him hard to come here. Everything you're looking for in a corner, he has — good hands, good quickness ... he'll tackle. There's a lot of things to work with.”
Quick with a quip
Smith displayed his sense of humor throughout the three-day minicamp, and Thursday's media session was no different.
Smith was asked whether anyone in Tampa Bay's tight end group made a distinct impression on the coaches this week as the Bucs worked out without pads.
“I don't think anybody can distinguish themselves, really, running around in their underwear,” Smith said.
When the NFL schedule was released Wednesday, Smith's eyes naturally turned toward the Sept. 7 regular-season opener against the defending NFC South champion Panthers.
“It's about the division, and we get a chance to see exactly where we are,” Smith said. “In order to be the champ, you've got to beat the champ. We get a chance to play them right away, at home. That's important. There was a time it was really hard to play at Raymond James Stadium.”
Since 2009, the Bucs have won only 14 of 40 home games.
After turning over defensive play-calling responsibilities to OLB Lavonte David the past two seasons, the Bucs are counting on their middle linebacker to handle defensive signals this fall.
Mason Foster handled the calls as a rookie MLB in 2011. If he returns as a starter for the fourth consecutive year, Foster is eager to resume his former leadership role.
“I did it in my rookie year after the lockout — and that was kind of crazy,” Foster said Thursday. “I love it. I like having that green dot on my helmet, being able to look everybody in the eye before every snap. It's a blessing, something you dream about as a little kid playing linebacker.”
Roy Cummings, Ira Kaufman