May 14, 2021; Tampa Bay, Florida, USA; Tampa Bay Buccaneers corner back Cameron Kinley (26) practices during rookie mini-camp at AdventHealth Training Center Mandatory Credit: Douglas DeFelice-USA TODAY Sports

Pentagon says Bucs rookie can attend training camp

U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin has granted permission for Tampa Bay Buccaneers rookie cornerback Cameron Kinley to attend training camp, the player’s agents announced Tuesday.

The 2021 Naval Academy graduate’s initial request to delay his military service was denied on June 7, prompting U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Florida) and others to appeal to President Joe Biden and other officials in Washington on Kinley’s behalf.

“I am extremely appreciative of Secretary Austin’s decision and I am excited to represent our fine military in the National Football League,” Kinley said in a statement released by his agents at Divine Sports and Entertainment. “This past month has been very challenging and I am thankful for everyone who has supported me in any way.”

Kinley was a starter at cornerback and the Naval Academy class president in his senior season. He was not selected in the 2021 NFL Draft and signed a free-agent contract with the defending Super Bowl champion Buccaneers.

–Field Level Media

Nov 8, 2020; Kansas City, Missouri, USA; KKansas City Chiefs cornerback Antonio Hamilton (20) warms up before the game against the Carolina Panthers at Arrowhead Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

Bucs sign former Chiefs CB Antonio Hamilton

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers signed cornerback Antonio Hamilton to a one-year deal, agent Drew Rosenhaus said Sunday.

The veteran free agent tried out for the defending Super Bowl champions at their rookie minicamp this weekend.

Hamilton, 28, played in all 16 games for the Kansas City Chiefs last season and contributed 12 tackles. He played 330 snaps on special teams and 135 on defense.

Hamilton has 50 tackles and five passes defensed in 57 career games (two starts) with the then-Oakland Raiders (2016-17), New York Giants (2018-19) and Chiefs.

–Field Level Media

Dec 26, 2020; Detroit, Michigan, USA; Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Blaine Gabbert (11) walks off the field after the game against the Detroit Lions at Ford Field. Mandatory Credit: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

Buccaneers re-sign backup QB Blaine Gabbert

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers announced the re-signing of quarterback Blaine Gabbert on Monday.

ESPN reported it was a one-year, $2.5 million deal for Tom Brady’s backup.

Gabbert, 31, appeared in four games and completed 9 of 16 passes for 143 yards with two touchdowns during his first season with Tampa Bay in 2020. He did not appear in any playoff games during the team’s successful run to the Super Bowl LV championship.

Drafted 10th overall by Jacksonville in 2011, Gabbert is 13-35 as a starter and has passed for 9,206 yards with 50 touchdowns and 47 interceptions in 60 games with the Jaguars (2011-13), San Francisco 49ers (2014-16), Arizona Cardinals (2017), Tennessee Titans (2018) and Bucs.

Gabbert first signed with Tampa Bay in March 2019 but spent the 2019 season on injured reserve after dislocating his left shoulder in the preseason.

The Buccaneers have two other quarterbacks on the depth chart behind Brady, 43. They drafted former Florida Gators quarterback Kyle Trask with the final pick in the second round of the 2021 NFL Draft. Ryan Griffin, 31, re-signed with the team last month.

–Field Level Media

Feb 4, 2021; Tampa, FL, USA;  Tampa Bay Buccaneers kicker Ryan Succop (3) against the Kansas City Chiefs in Super Bowl LV at Raymond James Stadium.  Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Champion Buccaneers to bring back K Ryan Succop

The Super Bowl champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers will provide some continuity for their special teams, agreeing to a three-year contract with kicker Ryan Succop.

The deal for the 34-year old is worth $12 million, with $6.25 million guaranteed, NFL Network reported. The first two years will pay the South Carolina product $8.25 million.

The 12-year veteran, who was the last player chosen in the 2009 draft by the Kansas City Chiefs, came to the Buccaneers last offseason on a one-year, $1.05 million deal. He ended up going 28 of 31 on field-goal attempts and 52 of 57 on extra-point attempts.

In four playoff games, Succop made all nine of his field goal attempts and 12 of his 13 extra point attempts. In the 31-9 Super Bowl victory over the Chiefs in February, he made all four of his PATs and capped the scoring with a 52-yard field goal in the third quarter.

In 182 career games with the Chiefs, Tennessee Titans and Buccaneers, Succop has made 83.0 percent of his 318 field goal attempts and 96.3 percent of his 405 extra point attempts.

–Field Level Media

Feb 4, 2021; Tampa, FL, USA;  Tampa Bay Buccaneers tight end Rob Gronkowski (87) against the Kansas City Chiefs in Super Bowl LV at Raymond James Stadium.  Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Report: TE Rob Gronkowski will play again in 2021

After teasing a return to football following a Super Bowl victory, tight end Rob Gronkowski told TMZ on Wednesday that he will play again in 2021.

“I’m back, man!” Gronkowski said. “I will be back playing football, man. I love the game of football. I loved playing last year. I had a great time.”

Gronkowski, 31, caught 45 passes for 623 yards and seven touchdowns in his first season with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers after nine years in New England.

He snagged six balls for 67 yards and two touchdowns in the Bucs’ Super Bowl victory over the Kansas City Chiefs.

Gronkowski is scheduled to become a free agent, but he’s expected to remain with the Bucs and quarterback Tom Brady in 2021.

The future Hall of Fame tight end has caught 566 passes for 8,484 yards and 86 touchdowns in his career.

–Field Level Media

Oct 25, 2020; Paradise, Nevada, USA; Tampa Bay Buccaneers inside linebacker Lavonte David (54) celebrates in the fourth quarter against the Las Vegas Raiders at Allegiant Stadium. The Buccaneers defeated the Raiders 45-20. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Reports: Bucs re-sign LB Lavonte David for 2 years, $25M

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are bringing back inside linebacker Lavonte David on a two-year, $25 million deal, multiple outlets reported Tuesday.

David, 31, has started 137 out of a possible 144 regular-season games since the Buccaneers drafted him in the second round in 2012.

He has registered at least 100 tackles in eight of his nine seasons, including 117 stops in 2020. His career totals include 24 sacks, 128 tackles for loss, 24 forced fumbles, 16 fumble recoveries and 12 interceptions.

David made the All-Pro first team in 2013, earned a Pro Bowl selection in 2015 and helped Tampa Bay take down the Kansas City Chiefs in Super Bowl LV. He is the longest-tenured player on the team and has been a captain for the past seven seasons.

Also Tuesday, the Bucs placed the franchise tag on receiver Chris Godwin and tendered one-year qualifying offers to four exclusive-rights free agents: tight end Tanner Hudson, long snapper Zach Triner and defensive linemen Jeremiah Ledbetter and Patrick O’Connor.

–Field Level Media

Feb 6, 2021; Tampa, Florida, USA; A general view of the Super Bowl LV logo projected on the Sykes tower in downtown Tampa prior to the game with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers playing against the Kansas City Chiefs. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

Report: Vincent Jackson likely died days before death was confirmed

Former NFL wide receiver Vincent Jackson likely died several days before he was confirmed dead in his Tampa-area hotel room, according to multiple reports Thursday night.

Jackson, 38, was found dead Monday in his room at the Homewood Suites in Brandon, Fla. A cause of death has not been released.

ESPN and TMZ Sports obtained a death report from the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office. The report noted that hotel staff entered the room on Saturday and Sunday but left after seeing Jackson slouched over on the couch and assuming he was asleep.

By Monday, after seeing Jackson in the same position, hotel staff called 911.

Jackson had been staying at the hotel since Jan. 11, according to ESPN. His family filed a missing-persons report Feb. 11, and deputies located him at the hotel Feb. 12 and spoke with him. The missing-persons case was canceled, and deputies deemed Jackson fit to stay at the hotel.

Both ESPN and TMZ noted that the death report mentioned Jackson having a history of alcohol use and smokeless tobacco use. The report said Jackson was not a known drug user.

Also Thursday, the New York Times first reported that Jackson’s family had donated his brain to Boston University’s CTU Center. Scientists will study Jackson’s brain for signs of chronic traumatic encephalopathy, which can be caused by repeated blows to the head.

Jackson played 155 games in an NFL career that spanned 2005-16.

–Field Level Media

Feb 7, 2021; Tampa, FL, USA;  Tampa Bay Buccaneers strong safety Antoine Winfield Jr. (31) taunts Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Tyreek Hill (10) during the fourth quarter in Super Bowl LV at Raymond James Stadium.  Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

Report: Bucs’ Antoine Winfield Jr. fined for SB taunting

The NFL has fined Tampa Bay defensive back Antoine Winfield Jr. $7,815 for taunting Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Tyreek Hill during Super Bowl LV last week, according to NFL Network.

Winfield held up two fingers in a peace sign directed at Hill with the Buccaneers comfortably ahead late in the game. It mimics the signature gesture Hill frequently uses against defenders that he left in his rearview mirror.

That includes a Week 12 meeting between the teams when Hill racked up 269 yards and three touchdowns. Hill flashed the peace sign at Winfield as he ran past him in that game and also embarrassed the Buccaneers by back-flipping into the end zone on one of his touchdowns.

That game apparently stuck with Winfield.

“He back-flipped in front of my face, gave me the peace sign. So it was only right that I gave the peace sign right back to him,” Winfield said after the Bucs’ 31-9 win last Sunday.

“It felt amazing to be able to do that, not even gonna lie.”

–Field Level Media