TAMPA — Tim Wright was one of the few bright spots to emerge from the general gloom that was the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ 2013 season.
A rookie wide receiver turned tight end, the Rutgers product slowly developed into the Bucs’ best option at the latter position, ranking second on the team in receptions (54), receiving yards (571) and touchdowns (five).
Those were also the best numbers posted by any rookie tight end in the NFL last year, yet Wright finds himself fighting for playing time with a veteran Brandon Myers, signed in free agency, and second-round pick Austin Seferian-Jenkins.
It’s doubtful that’s the reward Wright expected after putting together what was the second best season by a rookie tight end in a decade, but if he’s disappointed he’s not letting it show when it matters most.
That, at least, is how Bucs coach Lovie Smith sees it.
“Tim is a guy I should talk about more because he’s another guy that does something well it seems like every day,” Smith said. “Nowadays, with the emergence of the passing game ... you (have) to be able to pass to win and (get) the matchup (with the) tight end versus the safety and the linebacker, and we have a good matchup with Tim Wright.
“He, of course, can do things in line, but he can split out (as a wide receiver), he can run all of the passing tree, he’s natural moving out and running routes, too. I’m very pleased with him and all he’s done since Day One. He’s a guy that’s been here every day and we’ve seen him doing that.”
With Wright and Luke Stocker already in the fold, the Bucs believe they have transformed the tight end position by adding Myers and Seferian-Jenkins. What was once a spot they were simply “comfortable’’ with is now a position they believe to be a deep area of strength.
“I do believe (it’s a strength now),” general manager Jason Licht said. “It sure does (feel that way).”