Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Bucs notes: Spence, Zuttah liven up practice
It didn’t take long for Tampa Bay Buccaneers rookie DT Akeem Spence to showcase his aggressiveness.
The fourth-round draft pick out of Illinois livened up Monday morning’s inaugural 2013 offseason practice session by tangling with C Jeremy Zuttah in an altercation that required several teammates to break up.
At 6-foot-1 and 307 pounds, Spence was considered a weight-room warrior by NFL scouts and has impressed coach Greg Schiano.
“He’s physically very developed,’’ Schiano said after Spence worked next to Pro Bowl DT Gerald McCoy. “He may be one of the strongest guys in this league as a rookie. If he can learn our techniques, the more reps he gets, the better he’ll be.’’
Following Roy Miller’s free-agent departure to Jacksonville, Spence will be given every opportunity to earn a starting nose tackle job as a rookie.
“I’m not going to back down from anybody,’’ Spence said of Monday’s dustup. “I have to let that be known on the first day here.’’
The heat is on Two other new Bucs, rookie DE Steven Means and free-agent TE Tom Crabtree, took notice of Monday’s sultry conditions.
“Is this like a cold spell for you guys?’’ Crabtree joked as a group of reporters formed around him following practice.
Crabtree grew up in Ohio and has played for the Green Bay Packers the past three years.
Means was a standout player at Buffalo after being raised in western New York.
“Hot, hot, hot,’’ Means said, wiping his brow repeatedly. “This is like the hottest days in Buffalo, but guys were telling me it’s not even hot yet down here. It’s a little adjustment, I’m not going to lie, but I’m here to put some heat on the quarterback.’’
Injury update With several key players still rehabbing from 2012 injuries, the Bucs are adopting a cautious approach.
Third-year DE Adrian Clayborn, who missed the final 13 games last season with a knee injury, practiced lightly Monday wearing a brace.
A pair of Pro Bowl guards, Davin Joseph (knee) and Carl Nicks (toe), did not participate and cornerback Darrelle Revis (knee), obtained from the Jets in a trade last month, worked out on his own under the supervision of trainer Todd Toriscelli.
“Adrian is doing well in his recovery, but we’re going to keep him out of team periods now for safety reasons,’’ Schiano said. “Darrelle is learning the system and doing things with Todd, all aimed at having him ready at the beginning of the season. I think he’ll tell you he’s feeling better every day.
“Carl is on schedule, but I don’t know if we’ll get him into any team stuff this spring. I think Davin will be in there in a couple of weeks. I feel good about both of them. Both are on schedule for training camp.’’
Extra points Schiano described Monday’s workout as “sloppy,’’ but said that’s typical for a team’s first offseason session. …Crabtree, who caught only 18 passes in three seasons as a backup tight end with the Packers, is eager to show Tampa Bay coaches his pass-catching skills. …Of the 88 players on the Bucs roster, DT Gary Gibson (31) is the only player older than 30. …The Bucs have two more workouts planned for this week, both closed to the media.