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Rick Stroud, Times Staff Writer

Rick Stroud

Rick Stroud covers the Bucs and the NFL for the Times. He joined the paper in 1983 after graduating from Arkansas St., where he played baseball. He has reported on national sporting events including more than 20 Super Bowls, the NCAA Final Four, and the Major League Baseball playoffs. While working as the beat writer assigned to the University of Florida at the Times, Stroud's stories documented NCAA rules violations by the football and basketball programs. He began covering the Bucs in 1990. Since then, the team has undergone seven coaching changes, the death of owner Hugh Culverhouse and the sale of the franchise to billionaire owner Malcolm Glazer and a stadium referendum and a Super Bowl XXVII victory. He co-hosts a sports talk show weekday mornings from 6-9 on WDAE 620-AM, 95.3-FM.



Blog: Bucs Beat

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  1. Jameis Winston accused of groping Uber driver


    TAMPA — The NFL is investigating an allegation that Bucs quarterback Jameis Winston groped a female Uber driver in Arizona in March 2016.

    Winston called the allegations "false" and contested the unnamed female driver's assertion that he was her only passenger, suggesting someone else was in the passenger seat.

    The driver told BuzzFeed News that when she arrived to a party scene in downtown Scottsdale around 2 a.m., a group of men told her that she would be transporting Winston. The men put Winston in the front passenger seat, and he was the only passenger, the report says....

    Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston (3) at midfield after an NFL game between the New England Patriots and Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Fla., on Thursday, Oct. 5, 2017. The New England Patriots beat the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 19-14. LOREN ELLIOTT   |   Times
  2. Lavonte David is the Bucs' quiet force


    TAMPA — Lavonte David is a private, almost shy man whose goal each week until game day is apparently to remain invisible by NFL standards.

    Off the field, the Bucs linebacker doesn't often raise his voice. But when he was called to do so by coach Dirk Koetter on the eve of Sunday's game against the Jets, his teammates heard — and heeded — his words.

    "It was basically an instance of being comfortable where you're uncomfortable," David said. "I'm not a big talker, but at the moment, Coach felt like it was the right time, and honestly, I felt like it was the right time where something needed to be said....

    “I’m not a big talker,” Lavonte David says. But asked to speak before the Jets game, he thought the time was right.
  3. Bucs journal: Ryan Fitzpatrick confident in Bucs, self


    TAMPA — Bucs QB Ryan Fitzpatrick will try to make it two wins in a row against AFC East teams when he faces the Dolphins on Sunday.

    Fitzpatrick said he didn't play as well as he can in a 15-10 win over the Jets last weekend. But with WR Mike Evans returning from a one-game suspension — and all the other talent on offense — he believes the Bucs can begin to stack up a few wins....

    QB Ryan Fitzpatrick (14), who will start against the Dolphins, says he believes the team go on a winning run and he can be better.
  4. Bucs' Mike Evans: I need to be better in mind, effort


    TAMPA — Mike Evans had not watched a football game on television in years. So when he tuned into the Bucs-Jets game Sunday from his home in Texas, he was not shocked by what he saw, but by what he heard.

    "The commentators are kind of hard on players. I noticed that," Evans said.

    Evans' ears have always been sensitive as a player, though he has never shied away from trash talking on the field. As a young player, that resulted in a few personal fouls....

    Mike Evans says he needs to be calmer and improve his play in the season’s second half.
  5. Gruden season has begun, and it could get awkward


    TAMPA — One week before Christmas, Jon Gruden will walk out of the ESPN broadcast booth during Monday Night Football and onto the 50-yard line at Raymond James Stadium.

    The man who was responsible for winning the Bucs' only Lombardi Trophy with a 48-21 victory in Super Bowl XXXVII will watch as his name is unveiled Dec. 18 into the team's Ring of Honor.

    Men will scream. Women will weep. The place will go Spider 2 Y Bananas....

    Jon Gruden led the Bucs to the 2002 Super Bowl title, then six up-and-down seasons. He says coaching stays in the blood.
  6. Bucs-Jets: The beauty of Ryan Fitzpatrick's first Bucs start


    TAMPA — Ryan Fitzpatrick is the first to tell you there are no ugly wins. Not when your team has lost five straight games. Not when you are 34 and wearing your seventh NFL uniform while keeping the seat warm for the injured franchise quarterback.

    Certainly not when you can beat your former New York Jets club 15-10 and walk off the field and into a victorious locker room, hand-in-hand with your two boys, who aren't too young to appreciate what the old man did at work Sunday....

    Bucs quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick (14) greets New York Jets running back Bilal Powell (29) at midfield following the Bucs' win. [LOREN ELLIOTT   |   Times]
  7. Bucs journal: Injured trio of offensive linemen could return Sunday


    TAMPA — The Bucs left open the door to QB Ryan Fitzpatrick having all three injured starting offensive linemen to protect him Sunday against the Jets.

    Tackles Demar Dotson (hamstring) and Donovan Smith (knee), who did not practice Wednesday or Thursday, are questionable. But Dotson was upgraded to full participation Friday while Smith was limited. Starting RG J.R. Sweezy, who was limited with a knee injury this week, had full participation Friday and is questionable....

    CB Brent Grimes is likely to play after missing two games.
  8. Bucs-Jets: How Ryan Fitzpatrick keeps finding his way onto the field


    TAMPA — Ryan Fitzpatrick knows that no matter how far he travels, he will eventually bump into his past.

    That's what happens when you play for seven NFL teams.

    What he didn't anticipate was getting his first Bucs start against the Jets, the team he played for the past two seasons.

    "It's definitely an ironic situation," said Fitzpatrick, who gets his 117th career start today because Jameis Winston is out with a shoulder injury. "I've been in this situation before with other teams, and the biggest thing is I've got a lot of friends still in that building … a lot of mutual respect. But we're all competitors, too."...

    Ryan Fitzpatrick
  9. Bucs the latest team hit by the curse of Ryan Fitzpatrick


    TAMPA — It's too late to reverse the curse of Ryan Fitzpatrick, which has officially befallen the Bucs.

    Wherever Fitzpatrick shows up, the starting quarterback will go down. Fitzpatrick will get to experience the joy of hex again Sunday against his former Jets team when he plays in place of injured starter Jameis Winston, who has been shut down for at least two weeks with a right shoulder sprain....

    Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick (14) slides at the end of a scramble during the second half of an NFL game between the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and New Orleans Saints at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans, La., on Sunday, Nov. 5, 2017.
  10. Jameis Winston downplays visit to top surgeon for shoulder injury


    TAMPA — The day began with news that injured quarterback Jameis Winston visited Dr. James Andrews in Pensacola on Tuesday.

    Uh-oh, Bucs fans were thinking. This could be serious. Andrews is one of the country's top orthopedic surgeons and has an unmatched client list of sports figures.

    What if his decision was to make an incision?

    But the visit was only a consultation and there's no indication that new damage was found in his injured right throwing shoulder, Winston said....

    Jameis Winston says he still isn’t thinking surgery, just rehab for his right shoulder.
  11. Bucs shut down QB Jameis Winston to let shoulder heal


    TAMPA — This was a day everyone could see coming, but like a charging defensive lineman, it likely blindsided Jameis Winston and his sore shoulder.

    After four weeks of watching Winston play with a sprained AC joint in his right arm that he injured in a loss to Arizona on Oct. 15, the Bucs decided to shut down their franchise quarterback for at least two weeks, with no guarantee it won't be longer....

    From left, Bucs wide receiver Chris Godwin (12), wide receiver Adam Humphries (10), wide receiver Mike Evans (13) and wide receiver DeSean Jackson (11) sit dejected as the final seconds run off the clock.
  12. Jameis Winston to be sidelined for a 'couple weeks' to allow shoulder to heal


    TAMPA — Bucs quarterback Jameis Winston will be sidelined for a "couple weeks," coach Dirk Koetter announced Monday.

    Winston re-injured his right shoulder Sunday in the Bucs' 30-10 loss at New Orleans. Koetter's announcement came after Winston's latest MRI Monday and the Bucs' internal discussions about shutting him down to allow the shoulder to heal.

    He suffered the initial injury Oct. 15 in a 38-33 loss at Arizona but has yet to miss a start in 40 career NFL games....

    Jameis Winston throws a pass during the first half of the Bucs' loss to the Saints Sunday in New Orleans. [LOREN ELLIOTT   |   Times]
  13. Bucs have history of giving up on first-round QBs, usually too quickly


    From Doug Williams to Steve Young to Vinny Testaverde to Trent Dilfer to Josh Freeman. All were quarterbacks taken in the first round by the Bucs. All were discarded by Tampa Bay before they reached their prime. Williams, Young and Dilfer won Super Bowls for other teams. Testaverde played 20 seasons and made it to an AFC Championship Game with the Jets. Young has a bust at the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio. Freeman was the only pure bust. Here's what led to their one-way ticket out of Tampa....

    A trashcan is seen filled with photos of past Tampa Bay Buccaneers Friday, Nov. 03, 2017 in St. Petersburg. This is for a photo illustration.
  14. Bucs-Saints: Tampa Bay has clearly lost its way


    NEW ORLEANS — The quarterback was out of the game, the result of yet another hit on his injured right shoulder. But Jameis Winston, who licked his fingers in a team huddle during warmups Sunday as if he was eating a 'W,' used one of those digits to point Saints cornerback Marshon Lattimore to the other sideline in the third quarter....

    New Orleans Saints defensive back Justin Hardee (34) blocks a punt by Bucs punter Bryan Anger (9) and returns it for a touchdown. [LOREN ELLIOTT   |   Times]
  15. A cautionary tale: Bucs QBs have history of leaving to find success elsewhere


    TAMPA — What is it about Bucs fans and how quickly they fall out of love with their quarterbacks?

    No sooner had Jameis Winston thrown a second interception in his three-turnover game a week ago against the Panthers than the runaway brides put on track shoes.

    "Highest-paid cheerleader at QB," one wrote on Twitter.

    "Hopefully, they can trade for a starter or draft a real QB in 2018," was written in an email....

    Jameis Winston, touted as an NFL MVP candidate in the preseason, is low on the list of under-25 QBs impressing this year. But at 23, he is the youngest to 50 passing TDs and has back-to-back 4,000-yard passing seasons.