With the euphoria of the draft behind him, Doug Martin got down to business Friday in the broiling heat at One Buc Place.
Tampa Bay traded up to select the versatile Boise State running back late in the first round, and Martin was eager to impress Bucs coaches at the start of a three-day rookie camp.
"It's definitely more intense out here, and expectations are way higher than in college,'' Martin said. "Guys are trying to find a spot on this football team and there's a lot riding on this. It's everybody's dream to be out here.''
Sensing an upcoming run on running backs, the Bucs moved up five spots and grabbed Martin with the 31st pick.
"After my name was called, it was a little surreal,'' said Martin, who ran for 3,431 yards and 43 touchdowns at Boise State. "I was on Cloud 9. Being out here, reality has set in.''
The Bucs added a veteran presence up front by signing DT Gary Gibson to a two-year contract.
Gibson spent the past three years with the Rams and has played in 49 career games (22 starts), recording 79 tackles and three sacks. Gibson got one start and played in all 16 games with St. Louis last year, finishing the season with 25 tackles and three sacks.
Gibson played for new Bucs coach Greg Schiano at Rutgers and entered the league as an undrafted free agent with the Ravens in 2005.
"Gary was at the beginning of my time at Rutgers, but he's an incredibly hard-working guy,'' Schiano said. "I think he can help us. I think he can add depth to what we're doing and we need it right now.''
While adding Gibson, Tampa Bay released DT John McCargo and WR Raymond Webber.
Just a start
During Friday's afternoon practice, Schiano tried to split his focus between Tampa Bay's incoming rookie class and dozens of undrafted players seeking an invitation to training camp.
"It's an opportunity,'' Schiano said. "Sometimes, you can do the very best you can and it doesn't work, but we know a lot of people. If they're good guys, when people call we're going to give them a good recommendation. It's not just the Bucs they're working out for … it's everyone our coaches know.''
Alabama safety Mark Barron was pleased after an initial look at his new Tampa Bay teammates.
"I came out and got a feel for what I'm going to be doing for this team,'' said Barron, who helped the Tide to two national championships before the Bucs selected him with the seventh overall pick. "It was a good start. I woke up this morning and knew it was time to go to work.''
The Bucs have lauded Barron's leadership skills at Alabama, where he played a key role on the nation's best defense.
"This is a hard-working atmosphere,'' Barron said. "Intense and disciplined.''
Ira Kaufman, Roy Cummings