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

Jan 31, 2021; Tampa, Florida, USA; A general view of signage for Super Bowl LV at Raymond James Stadium  Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Bucs: Cannons to stay silent at Super Bowl

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers will not hear the familiar sounds of cannons firing at Raymond James Stadium when they play the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday in Super Bowl LV.

Tampa Bay is the first team in NFL history to play a Super Bowl in its home stadium. But the Buccaneers announced Tuesday that they would keep the cannons silent during the upcoming big game.

“The firing of the cannons after big plays is a tradition that defines what it means to be a Buccaneer fan and serves as a signature element of our home game experience at Raymond James Stadium,” the team said in a statement. “However, we also acknowledge and understand the NFL’s position with regards to maintaining the integrity of a neutral site atmosphere for Super Bowl LV. While the cannons may not fire in their typical fashion, we look forward to showcasing parts of our tradition while working within the league’s guidelines.”

The cannons are located within a pirate ship in one of the stadium’s end zones. They typically fire every time the Buccaneers score.

–Field Level Media

Oct 25, 2020; Denver, Colorado, USA; Kansas City Chiefs head coach Andy Reid speaks to quarterback Patrick Mahomes (15) in the first half against the Denver Broncos at Empower Field at Mile High. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

Patrick Mahomes, Andy Reid would join elite company by winning SB LV

The way Kansas City quarterback Patrick Mahomes sees it, he and coach Andy Reid get a chance to check off two accomplishments with a win on Sunday in Super Bowl LV in Tampa.

“To go out there and get to have a chance to repeat and get to do it against the best, I mean, it’s something special and I’m excited for the opportunity,” he said.

Mahomes and Reid’s goal of winning the Super Bowl and denying Tampa Bay quarterback Tom Brady his seventh one in the process would put Mahomes and Reid in elite company.

Mahomes and Reid would be the first quarterback-coach duo to win consecutive Super Bowls since Brady and Bill Belichick led the New England Patriots to titles in 2003-04 seasons.

Mahomes would join Bart Starr, Bob Griese, Terry Bradshaw (twice), Joe Montana, Troy Aikman and John Elway as quarterbacks who’ve back-to-back Super Bowl crowns. Each of them is enshrined in the Hall of Fame.

The comparisons between Mahomes and Brady really started heating up during the wintry night of Jan. 20, 2019. That’s when Brady rallied the Patriots to a 37-31 win over Mahomes’ Chiefs in Arrowhead Stadium to advance to Super Bowl LIII.

Before leaving the stadium, Brady found Mahomes inside the Chiefs locker room and offered him encouragement.

“It kind of just re-emphasized that I was doing things the right way, that I was putting in the right work and that I would have more opportunities to be in these games,” Mahomes said. “I’ve been lucky enough to be in two more of them since and win both of those. So to get to go up against the great [Brady] and a great football team as well, I’m excited for the opportunity.

“The biggest thing Tom said to me was just to stay with the process and keep being who I am. That’s something that’s important. As a guy who’s had so much success every year he’s been in the NFL, he goes out there every single day and treats it like it’s the most important day. That’s something that I’ll try to do for my entire career.”

Reid appreciated the gesture.

“Well, I would say it was unique,” Reid said. “I mean, he didn’t have to do that. He is arguably the best quarterback to ever play the game and he surely didn’t have to come over and say a word. But he did that, and I think for a young quarterback to have somebody of his stature do that, I think was a tremendous gesture and it was heartfelt.

“He didn’t have to do it and he wasn’t putting on a show. There was nobody there to really see it, so it was really just his respect for Pat and in return, Pat’s respect for him.”

Reid can also earn a lot of respect regarding his place among the NFL’s all-time great coaches with a win on Sunday, which likely won’t be possible unless Mahomes plays well.

If the Chiefs win on Sunday, Reid will have two Super Bowl wins, making him one of 10 coaches with exactly two Super Bowl titles. Of the nine men who have two titles, five – Don Shula, Tom Landry, Bill Parcells, Jimmy Johnson and Vince Lombardi — received the call from Canton. The other four — Tom Flores, George Seifert, Tom Coughlin and Mike Shanahan — are on the outside looking in though Flores is the Coach Finalist and could earn induction on Saturday.

Mahomes said the Chiefs have been focused on winning Super Bowl LV since the season’s outset.

“Instead of soaking in all the glory of winning the Super Bowl last year,” Mahomes said, “we went back to work every single day to make ourselves better and to prepare ourselves for every single situation that could arise and it put us in this game.”

–Field Level Media