TAMPA — Two new targets for veteran QB Josh McCown reported to Tampa Bay Buccaneers training camp at the break of dawn Thursday, eager to showcase their skills in front of a fan base hungry for a winner.
TE Austin Seferian-Jenkins, a second-round draft pick out of Washington, shrugged off muggy 82-degree heat as he walked from the parking lot to team headquarters a day before the first public practices of camp.
“I’ve never played in the NFL, so that may be a challenge,’’ said Seferian-Jenkins, who joins a crowded corps at tight end that includes Tim Wright and free-agent addition Brandon Myers. “It’s time to get to work with everybody else. I haven’t been at this level before and I’m assuming everyone here is really, really good.’’
First-round pick Mike Evans, who was Johnny Manziel’s favorite deep weapon at Texas A&M, said he developed a rapport with McCown during informal workouts.
“I’m excited to get back to football, excited to do what I love,’’ Evans said. “This is my dream and I’m happy to be in this position. I don’t have any statistical goals for this year — just playing my best and making as many plays as possible. It’s awesome playing with (veteran WR) Vincent Jackson, a guy I idolized.’’
Ready to deliver
Admitting he has failed to live up to his potential or status as a second-round draft pick, DE Da’Quan Bowers is confident he is in store for a breakout season in 2014.
“I owe it to this organization; I owe it to this team,’’ Bowers said. “I’ve been here long enough and haven’t really been that player that I know I can be. So I think it’s about time I really put forth the effort to be that player I know I’m capable of being.’’
Bowers has often been slowed by injuries, including a knee problem that required offseason surgery and cost him time on the field during offseason workouts.
“This is the best I’ve felt coming into camp,’’ Bowers said. “This has been my most consistent offseason since I’ve been a part of this organization, so I’m excited. I’m excited about the new staff, about actually being able to put on pads and for a new year. I’ve put in the work and I’m ready to reap the benefits.’’
The Bucs shuffled their roster a bit after DE Ronald Talley showed up at camp with a sore hamstring. After placing Talley on the Active/Non-Football Injury list, the team claimed LB Brandon Magee off waivers from the Cleveland Browns.
Magee played his college ball at Arizona State, where he was a baseball and football standout who was drafted three times by major-league teams, including the Rays in 2008. He came to the NFL as an undrafted free agent with Dallas in 2013 and appeared in eight games with the Browns last season.
In less than five months since joining the Bucs from the Bears as a free agent, McCown has encountered a fervent fan base longing for success.
“You see people around and you hear their words and you kind of get the idea that they want a winner, like every NFL city,” McCown said. “I guess, for me, I didn’t realize, here in Tampa, how passionate they were about it.
“So it’s neat to see, and it sticks in the back of your mind. It definitely drives you. You want to deliver that for people, because you know how much the fans enjoy the game.”
Ira Kaufman, Roy Cummings