Dec 13, 2020; Glendale, Arizona, USA; San Francisco 49ers cornerback Richard Sherman (25) looks on against the Washington Football Team during the first half at State Farm Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

Bucs have reached out to Richard Sherman

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have reached out to free agent Richard Sherman in a play to shore up their defensive secondary.

Bucs coach Bruce Arians, responding to questions about an NFL Network report, confirmed Monday that Bucs general manager Jason Licht has been in contact with Sherman, who’s facing criminal charges and an NFL investigation.

“We’ve got to see,” Arians said. “Just a matter of I coach the ones we got and let (Licht) handle the rest of that. We’ll kick the tires on some other guys, too. … If it’s the right fit, we’ll move on it.”

Sherman’s former teams — the Seattle Seahawks and San Francisco 49ers — also have reached out to the cornerback, per the report.

Tampa Bay cornerback Sean Murphy-Bunting suffered an injury in Week 1.

Sherman pleaded not guilty to five misdemeanor charges in mid-July following his arrest for allegedly attempting to break into his in-laws’ house. Sherman was charged with driving under the influence, resisting arrest, endangering roadway workers and two domestic violence counts — second-degree criminal trespass and third-degree malicious mischief.

Sherman, 33, has been in therapy since the incident, per NFL Network.

Sherman missed a career-high 11 games last season with the 49ers because of a calf injury. He recorded 18 tackles and one interception in five games before being released in February.

In the 2019 season, Sherman collected 61 tackles and three interceptions and defended 11 passes in 15 games while making his fifth Pro Bowl.

Sherman’s first seven seasons were spent with the NFC West rival Seahawks, with whom he made two Super Bowl appearances (winning one) and grabbed 32 interceptions. Sherman earned his three first-team All-Pro selections from 2012-14 as part of Seattle’s “Legion of Boom” defense.

–Field Level Media

Sep 9, 2021; Tampa, Florida, USA; Tampa Bay Buccaneers running back Ronald Jones (27) runs the ball against Dallas Cowboys cornerback Anthony Brown (30) during the first half at Raymond James Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Bucs coach: Ronald Jones II ‘struggled mentally’ to get over fumble

Tampa Bay Buccaneers running back Ronald Jones II did not return to Thursday’s season-opening game against the Dallas Cowboys after losing a fumble in the second quarter.

Buccaneers coach Bruce Arians on Friday explained why Jones was glued to the bench after losing the ball following a 1-yard gain.

“‘Ro’ was running really, really well until the fumble, and then he struggled mentally to get over it,” Arians said of the 24-year-old Jones. “That was too big of a game and go out there and not be focused, so (Leonard Fournette) got the rest of the way.”

Fournette had nine carries for 32 yards while Jones had four rushes for 14 yards in the Buccaneers’ 31-29 victory over the Cowboys. Fellow running back Giovani Bernard had a pair of catches for 12 yards on the team’s final possession.

Jones led the Buccaneers in carries (192), rushing yards (978) and rushing touchdowns (seven) last season. He did not lose a fumble in 14 games for the Super Bowl champs in 2020.

–Field Level Media

Jul 27, 2021; Tampa, FL, USA;  Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady (12) at AdventHealth Training Center. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Bucs’ Bruce Arians: Tom Brady to play in preseason

Tom Brady will have a chance to shake off some offseason rust when the Tampa Bay Buccaneers meet the Cincinnati Bengals in their preseason opener on Saturday.

Bucking the trend of keeping starting quarterbacks on the sideline this preseason to guard against injury, coach Bruce Arians said “everybody” — including the 44-year-old Brady — will step on the field. He doesn’t have a number of plays set in stone for Brady.

“We’ll just wait and see how it goes,” Arians said. “It’s normally a drive or two. It won’t be many.”

Brady signed with Tampa Bay before the 2020 NFL season, and preseason was canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic. He has yet to wear a Bucs uniform in the preseason after 20 seasons with the New England Patriots.

In his first season in Florida, Brady led the Buccaneers to a 31-9 win over Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs in Super Bowl LV in February.

It was the second franchise Super Bowl win for the Buccaneers. For Brady, it was his record-setting seventh.

–Field Level Media

Feb 7, 2021; Tampa, FL, USA;  Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady (12) and head coach Bruce Arians celebrate during the fourth quarter in Super Bowl LV against the Kansas City Chiefs at Raymond James Stadium.  Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Bruce Arians’ gift for Tom Brady’s birthday: a day off

Tampa Bay Buccaneers coach Bruce Arians believes he knows the answer to the age-old question of what to give someone who has everything.

Arians offered the following on Monday when asked about Tom Brady’s upcoming birthday:

“It’s amazing the fire that burns in him to do this. … We’ll throw him a bone and give him a day off,” Arians said of Brady, who turns 44 on Tuesday.

Whether a day off will be appreciated by Brady, a known workaholic, is anyone’s guess.

The seven-time Super Bowl champion underwent knee surgery in February after reportedly playing through the entire 2020 season with an MCL injury.

The injury aside, Brady threw for 4,633 yards last season and tossed a team-record 40 touchdown passes — the second-highest total in a single season in his career. He threw three touchdown passes in Tampa Bay’s 31-9 victory over the Kansas City Chiefs to win Super Bowl MVP honors for the fifth time.

“That’s the GOAT, man, that’s the GOAT,” Buccaneers safety Jordan Whitehead said of Brady. “He has a great team. A.G. Alex (Guerrero, trainer) takes care of him, man … he wants to be great. Going up against him every day, he just wants to get better.”

–Field Level Media

Jan 10, 2019; Tampa, FL, USA; Tampa Bay Buccaneers general manager Jason Licht and head coach Bruce Arians pose for a photo at AdventHealth Training Center. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Report: Bucs revising contracts for Bruce Arians, Jason Licht

The Super Bowl champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers have agreed on revised contracts for coach Bruce Arians and general manager Jason Licht, NFL Network reported Monday.

Arians’ new deal includes a pay raise and Licht’s contract “ensures he’ll be in Tampa Bay for multiple years,” according to the report.

Arians, 68, is entering his third season with the Bucs. After going 7-9 in 2019, he led Tampa Bay to an 11-5 record in the regular season and a 31-9 victory against the Kansas City Chiefs in Super Bowl LV.

Licht, 50, has been with the Buccaneers since 2014. Under his watch, the franchise signed longtime New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady in free agency in March 2020.

Brady promptly led Tampa Bay to the franchise’s second Super Bowl title — his seventh — and broke the club’s single-season records for pass completions (401) and touchdown passes (40).

The Buccaneers enter the 2021 season having retained all of their starters. They kick off the season on Thursday, Sept. 9, against the Dallas Cowboys at Raymond James Stadium.

–Field Level Media

Dec 21, 2019; Tampa, Florida, USA; Tampa Bay Buccaneers tight end O.J. Howard (80) reacts during the fourth quarter against the Houston Texans at Raymond James Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Douglas DeFelice-USA TODAY Sports

Bucs TE O.J. Howard to be ready for offseason program

Jan 3, 2021; Houston, Texas, USA; Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson (4) warms up before a game against the Tennessee Titans at NRG Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Tampa Bay Buccaneers tight end O.J. Howard will be ready to participate in the team’s offseason program, coach Bruce Arians announced Wednesday.

Howard saw his season come to an abrupt end after sustaining a ruptured Achilles tendon in the Buccaneers’ 38-31 victory over the Los Angeles Chargers on Oct. 4.

The 26-year-old Howard had 11 receptions for 146 yards and two touchdowns in four games prior to the injury. He finished his season on injured reserve, marking the third time that he has done so since being selected by Tampa Bay with the 19th overall pick in the 2017 NFL Draft.

“He’s really close,” Arians said of Howard. “He’s not running on the grass yet but he’s really close. The last time I checked it was 85 percent body weight running in ‘AlterG’ (treadmill) and (he) looks fantastic. I don’t see any setbacks. If and when we can get together in this offseason program, he’ll be ready to go.”

Howard has reeled in 105 receptions for 1,602 yards and 14 touchdowns in 42 career games.

“What a huge addition to have him back because he was having a great year,” Arians said. “I think, again, the sky’s the limit for what he can do in this offense.”

Tight end Rob Gronkowski’s 45 receptions last season were tied for third on the team. His 623 yards receiving were also third on the Bucs, while his seven touchdowns were even with Chris Godwin for second behind Mike Evans.

–Field Level Media

Feb 7, 2021; Tampa, FL, USA; Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Bruce Arians hoists the Vince Lombardi Trophy after defeating the Kansas City Chiefs in Super Bowl LV at Raymond James Stadium.  Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

Bucs’ Bruce Arians shows off Super Bowl tattoo

Coach Bruce Arians is the latest member of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to celebrate the team’s Super Bowl victory with a tattoo.

Arians, in fact, took to social media on Tuesday to show that he made good on his promise.

“I’m a man of my word- ‘when we win the Super Bowl, I will get a tattoo’ well I got mine and I love it!! #SBLV #superbowlLVchamps,” the 68-year-old Arians posted on Twitter.

The tattoo on Arians’ upper back features the Super Bowl LV logo with the Lombardi trophy. That rests atop the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ logo, with the numbers 31 and 9 featured. The Buccaneers defeated the Kansas City Chiefs by that final score on Feb. 7.

Arians claims he told tight ends coach Rick Christophel that he would get the ink should the Buccaneers win the title.

Arians is not alone about receiving some ink following the title win.

Rookie safety Antoine Winfield Jr. and wide receiver Mike Evans reportedly also commemorated the Super Bowl win with tattoos.

–Field Level Media

Feb 7, 2021; Tampa, FL, USA;  Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Chris Godwin (14) reaches for the ball during the third quarter against the Kansas City Chiefs in Super Bowl LV at Raymond James Stadium.  Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Bucs stop here: Bruce Arians hopes to keep free agents

Tampa Bay Buccaneers coach Bruce Arians saw his team overcome the odds to win the second Super Bowl trophy in franchise history.

Now comes what might be even the more difficult part for the Bucs — retaining their stars in a bid to repeat as champion.

Wide receiver Chris Godwin, who made a base salary of $2.1 million in 2020, is one of the several standouts slated to hit free agency in a month. He could receive the franchise tag to remain with the Buccaneers and play alongside fellow wideout Mike Evans, who will make $12.25 million in base salary in 2021.

“(Godwin) loves it here,” Arians said Thursday on 95.3 WDAE Radio. “It’s hard to leave and go to another system just for money. But it’s not bad paying two No. 1 receivers, that’s for sure, when they’re as good as our two No. 1s.”

The Bucs will have slightly more money at their disposal after the NFL raised the salary cap floor to $180 million on Thursday.

“It’s usually the money … if it’s close, I think our guys really want to stay,” Arians said. “They know they have something special. I don’t think any of them want to leave. I don’t get involved in the dollars. I just let them know we want them back.”

Godwin, who turns 25 next week, recorded 65 catches for 840 yards and seven touchdowns in 12 games last season. His numbers took a dip after his breakout Pro Bowl season campaign in 2019, during which he posted career-high totals in receptions (86), receiving yards (1,333) and touchdowns (nine).

Wide receiver Antonio Brown, running back Leonard Fournette, tight end Rob Gronkowski, linebackers Shaq Barrett and Lavonte David, and defensive lineman Ndamukong Suh are all free agents.

–Field Level Media

Oct 25, 2020; Paradise, Nevada, USA; Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady (12) and coach Bruce Arians embrace after the game against the Las Vegas Raiders at Allegiant Stadium. The Buccaneers defeated the Raiders 45-20. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Arians opens up on decision to take swing at Brady

One year ago at this time, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers knew they were at a quarterback crossroads.

With former No. 1 overall pick Jameis Winston ending his fifth season with the NFL’s first-ever 30-30 season (33 touchdown passes, and NFL-high 30 interceptions) and the 7-9 Bucs missing the playoffs for the 12th straight season, it was time for a major move.

And according to head coach Bruce Arians, once six-time Super Bowl champion Tom Brady became available for the first time in his career, it was time for Tampa Bay to push all of their chips in.

As Arians reflected Thursday on how far the franchise has come in 12 months — just over a week until playing in Super Bowl LV against the Kansas City Chiefs — the subject during the Buccaneers’ media session shifted to why the Bucs gambled the organization on a passer who would be 43 during the 2020 season, even if he is arguably the greatest quarterback in NFL history.

“You can’t hit a home run unless you’re going to swing for one,” Arians said. “You can’t do anything special in life sitting on a fence.”

In hindsight, no one would question the signing of the oldest free-agent starting quarterback the league has seen, not after Brady again defied time by throwing for 40 touchdown passes and 4,633 yards in leading Tampa Bay to 11 wins and its first Super Bowl appearance since 2002 — the season after Brady won his first Super Bowl at age 24.

Despite his six rings, Brady’s performance had dipped — with decreases in both pass yards and touchdown tosses in consecutive seasons. Yes, Brady had recently won a Super Bowl in beating the Los Angeles Rams in 2018, but his offense put up just 13 points that day — and Brady looked (gasp) older and slower in the Patriots’ playoff loss to Tennessee last season.

But according to Arians, once Brady became available, there was no hesitation in Tampa Bay.

“The question back then was, ‘If there was a quarterback that was a free agent, who would you want?’ ” Arians recalled. “Of course, it was Tom Brady, not thinking he’d become a free agent.

“Once he did, it was a pursuit that we wanted to make and [we] knew he had some interest.”

When asked about the Buccaneers’ supposed gamble on Brady, the NFL icon displayed the confidence of a man who had no doubt a record 10th trip to the Super Bowl was entirely possible.

“I’d like to think that I wasn’t that much of a chance after a lot of years,” Brady said. “Becoming a free agent and then having the opportunity to continue my playing career. … I love the opportunity that presented itself here, which is ultimately why I chose here. I really love the coaching staff, I loved the players that they had. I looked at those players and thought, ‘Wow, these are really great players. This would be a good opportunity for me.’ “

The ride was not always smooth. Brady’s Bucs began the season losing to fellow quarterback legend Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints in the season opener, then again 38-3 on a Monday night to Brees on national television.

Tampa Bay looked wonky at times at 7-5, but since a Week 13 bye, the Bucs have won seven straight and have peaked into becoming the first team ever to play a Super Bowl in its home stadium.

“It just ended up being a great fit and as it’s played out, I’ve just thought, ‘Wow, this has really been a magical year.’ ” Brady said. “For me as a player to switch teams, that takes a lot. To move my family, to go to a different conference, to keep building the way we did and develop a rapport with the guys that we have here — so much of football is about the relationships that you get with your teammates [and your] coaches. The fact that we’re still playing feels really good for me and [I] understand that we’ve put a lot into it.

“Hopefully we can go finish the job.”

The final step will not be easy — against the defending Super Bowl champion Chiefs, winners of 25 of their last 27 games, and quarterback Patrick Mahomes. Arians was asked Thursday if Kansas City’s young star could chase down Brady’s records one day, and replied, “There’s no doubt that if there was a player who could do it, it would be Patrick.”

But Arians also hinted that his team would always go down swinging, regardless of the odds or the challenge.

“That’s how you live life. Do you sit and live in a closet trying to be safe, [or are] you going to have some fun?”

–Field Level Media

Dec 20, 2020; Atlanta, Georgia, USA; Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan (2) throws a pass against Tampa Bay Buccaneers strong safety Antoine Winfield Jr. (31) in the first half of a NFL game at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

Bucs’ Antoine Winfield Jr., Antonio Brown won’t practice this week

Standout safety Antoine Winfield Jr. and wideout Antonio Brown won’t practice this week and coach Bruce Arians said Tuesday it’s “too early” to know if they’ll be available for Super Bowl LV.

Both missed the NFC Championship, Brown with a knee injury and Winfield with an ankle ailment. Brown suffered his injury in the divisional game against the New Orleans Saints and Winfield was hurt during practice ahead of the NFC title game.

“I think it’s too early,” Arians said, when asked on a radio show if Brown and Winfield would be ready by Feb. 7. “Neither one of those guys will probably practice this week and we’ll see how it rolls out next Tuesday for both of them.”

Further, NFL Network reports Bucs safety Jordan Whitehead, who was knocked out of the NFC title game against the Green Bay Packers, has not been ruled out of the Super Bowl against the Kansas City Chiefs. Whitehead injured his shoulder on a tackle and did not return but is going to try to play, per the report.

Winfield started all 16 games as a rookie and finished with 94 tackles, three sacks and interception and six passes defensed.

Brown had 45 catches for 483 yards and four touchdowns.

In the interview with 95.3 WDAE, Arians also said he’s coming back next season, responding with “hell no” when asked if he’d consider retiring if he won his first Super Bowl.

“I’m going for two. There’s no doubt. If the Glazers have me back, I’ll be back,” Arians said.

–Field Level Media