Bucs start to welcome some players back

by Gary Shelton on November 11, 2021

in general

Perriman had a good season for the Bucs./TIM WIRT

Thursday, 4 a.m.

They are not yet done with the gauze. They still walk with a limp.

But for the Tampa Bay Bucs, who face the Washington football team on Sunday, things are getting a little better.

For the Bucs, wounded for much of the season, Antonio Brown remains in a walking boot. Rob Gronkowski is still in pain. Carlton Davis is still on the injured list. Even Chris Godwin missed Wednesday's practice with a bad foot.

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On the other hand, Sean-Murphy Bunting is back. So is Scotty Miller. And Richard Sherman. Today's pain is not as great as yesterday's, which sets up the Bucs for the second half of the season.

Of course, coach Bruce Arians still wants to see his charges in game action before he is satisfied.

"(They are) running around is fine," Arians said. "Playing football is a different thing. I've got to go watch the tape on Sean. He wouldn't use his arm Monday, and we'll see how he did today. There's really no rush to get them back out on the field; just make sure they're practicing and ready to go when we put them out there. Scotty ran around good, so it looks good for him, too."

In their search for reinforcements, the Bucs also added former receiver Breshad Perriman.

"He brings a lot," Arians said. He's a big guy who can run [and] take the top off just like he did when he was here a couple years ago. It's something we're very familiar with [and] he's familiar with us. It's great insurance, and if we need him, he could actually play this week if we had to have him."

Arians dismissed any thoughts of free agent Odell Beckham Jr. joining the team.

Said Arians: "Too many letters – I've already got A.B. (Antonio Brown), I don't need OBJ."

Perriman caught 36 passes for the Bucs in 2019.

"It’s different changing teams during the season, but I’m just thankful to be back," Perriman said. "I’m really just going to focus in on the playbook. I’m just happy to be back.”

Perriman enjoyed his time in Tampa Bay.

“That was definitely a good run. Coming back here just felt good. It feels like the right thing and the right place for me. It was just a great feeling to come in and see everybody’s faces. There is nothing but good energy here, so I am really happy and blessed to be back.”

Miller caught 33 passes a year ago.

"I really just want to prove that I’m ready to the coaches and everybody," Miller said. "It’s different going through rehab and everything [and then] to get out there and actually get in the huddle and to run the plays. So, just prove to everybody and myself that I’m 100 percent and ready to go.”

Miller believes his moment will happen.

"I know at some point it’s coming my way," Miller said. "That’s what I think whenever I’m in practice or I’m not getting the ball in the game. I just try to stay ready because at some point it’s going to come my way and I have to be ready. You can’t sit there and be frustrated and be upset that it’s not right now because if that’s your mindset you’re not going to make the play when you have that chance. In this league, you don’t have many chances, so you have to be ready and take advantage of every one that comes your way.”

The secondary could use the addition of Murphy-Bunting.

“It was a long eight weeks,"" Murphy-Bunting said. "Coming out here every day just putting my head down and really just trying to get back to being on the field and being able to contribute with the guys that I started with. That’s been my main goal this entire process is just doing everything I can to get back with them.”

Murphy-Bunting said he learned while sitting.

"Throughout the time that I was out, I got to look at football in a different light," Murphy-Bunting said. "I was out at the practices but I wasn’t a player. I had a mindset of a coach and I was trying to make sure guys knew what they were doing. Just picking guy’s brains, like Sherman, and just seeing what he would do in different situations. It put me in a different perspective. It allowed me to see football for what football is and I got to see every aspect of it. Honestly, it was a blessing in disguise because I’ve never really gotten a chance to sit down and kind of [dissect] football. It was a game changer for me and it kind of made me look at things a lot differently, and the way I attack each and every day a lot differently now.”

The Bucs play at Washington Sunday at 1 p.m. In last year's playoffs, quarterback Tyler Heinicke gave he Bucs fits.

"We basically were getting ready for Alex [Smith] and we knew he was going to be sitting in the middle of the pocket," Arians said. "So, there were certain things we were doing, and not knowing Taylor and not knowing he was going to play, it was difficult."

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