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Tony Dungy Issues Statement Regarding His Comments on Michael Sam

July 22nd, 2014 at 1:52 PM
By Michael Compton

One day after creating a stir with his comments in Monday's Tampa Tribune on Michael Sam, the NFL’s first openly gay player, former Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Indianapolis Colts head coach Tony Dungy issued a follow- up statement July 22.

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Dungy’s full statement, published today at profootballtalk.com, appears below.

On Monday afternoon while on vacation with my family, I was quite surprised to read excerpts from an interview I gave several weeks ago related to this year’s NFL Draft, and I feel compelled to clarify those remarks.

I was asked whether I would have drafted Michael Sam and I answered that I would not have drafted him.  I gave my honest answer, which is that I felt drafting him would bring much distraction to the team. At the time of my interview, the Oprah Winfrey reality show that was going to chronicle Michael’s first season had been announced.

I was not asked whether or not Michael Sam deserves an opportunity to play in the NFL.  He absolutely does.

I was not asked whether his sexual orientation should play a part in the evaluation process.  It should not.

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Former Tampa Bay Buccaneers Coach Tony Dungy ‘Wouldn’t Have Taken’ Michael Sam

July 21st, 2014 at 9:53 PM
By Michael Compton

Former Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Indianapolis Colts coach and current NBC analyst Tony Dungy told The Tampa Tribune that he would not have drafted Michael Sam because of potential distractions to the team.

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“I wouldn’t have taken him,” said Dungy, who is the first black coach to win a Super Bowl. “Not because I don’t believe Michael Sam should have a chance to play, but I wouldn’t want to deal with all of it. It’s not going to be totally smooth…things will happen.”

The St. Louis Rams used one of the final picks in May’s draft to take Sam, the first openly gay player in the NFL, in the seventh round.

According to an article on Indystar.com, Dungy addressed Sam’s coming out in February, saying, “The NFL has always been based on merit, and I think that will continue to be the case with Michael Sam and the issue of homosexuality or anything else. Guys who produce and play well will be welcomed into the league.”

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Da’Quan Bowers Involved in Incident That Leads to Arrest of Ex-Destiny’s Child Member

July 21st, 2014 at 4:05 PM
By Michael Compton

Tampa Bay Buccaneers defensive end Da’Quan Bowers has landed in the news just days before training camp is set to begin, but it isn't for his on-field exploits. Bowers was involved in an incident in South Carolina over the weekend that resulted in the arrest of Farrah Franklin, a former member of the R&B group Destiny’s Child.

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The Tampa Tribune reported that Bowers, on the final free weekend before training camp, flew Franklin to Myrtle Beach, S.C. According to an Associated Press report, Bowers, Franklin and fellow NFL player Ricky Sapp had been out drinking Saturday evening and returned to Sapp’s home. Franklin reportedly began “yelling and slamming doors and refused to stop,” Bowers told police. That's when Bowers and Sapp notified authorities.

When police found Franklin in a neighbor’s yard, she was arrested for disorderly conduct, the report indicated. Franklin was released from jail Sunday morning after she posted a $280 bond.

This is not the first time Bowers has generated headlines away from the playing field. He was arrested at New York’s JFK Airport in February of 2013 for possession of a loaded .40 caliber pistol in a carry-on bag.

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Lavonte David Drawing Comparisons to Tampa Bay Buccaneers Legend Derrick Brooks

July 20th, 2014 at 6:56 PM
By Michael Compton

Head coach Lovie Smith paid Tampa Bay Buccaneers linebacker Lavonte David the ultimate compliment, comparing him to 2014 Hall of Fame inductee and Tampa Bay Buccaneers legend Derrick Brooks.

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“There are not a lot of players like Derrick Brooks,” Smith said in the Bradenton Herald. “It’s not even fair to compare some guys in that way, but Lavonte David, he has a chance. He’s that younger version coming up.”

David, at 6'1" and 233 pounds, is a third-year pro. In Smith’s 4-3 alignment, David can utilize his speed and take advantage of his ability to close in on a play, making up for his lack of size.

Although he wasn’t selected to the Pro Bowl last year, David enjoyed a stellar season. He boasted 145 tackles (second among NFL OLB’s) in 2013, had seven sacks, five interceptions and forced two fumbles. His exploits earned him AP All-Pro honors.

“There are a lot of things I can improve on, and I want to be ready for our new defense that will open up things more. It should be fun,” David said.

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Lovie Smith: Releasing Darrelle Revis ‘Not an Easy Decision’ for Tampa Bay Buccaneers

July 19th, 2014 at 5:59 PM
By Michael Compton

A disappointing 4-12 a season ago, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers likely have as many new players for 2014 as any team in the NFL. Among the departed from last year’s squad is elite cornerback Darrelle Revis, who was released in March.

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Head coach Lovie Smith told Buccaneers.com this week that parting with Revis was a difficult decision, but the move got the team out from under a contract that was required to pay Revis as much as $16 million in 2014.

 “It was not an easy decision because Darrelle’s a great player. But he’s not the only great player in the league,” Smith said. “We just felt like we needed, instead of having one great player we thought we could get three. Instead of having one real good player, we felt like we could get three real good players.”

While Smith didn’t specify the players signed with the space created by Revis’ departure, the Buccaneers were very active in free agency during the offseason. Among the free agents joining the team this year are cornerback Alterraun Verner (who signed one day before Revis was released), defensive end Michael Johnson, offensive tackle Anthony Collins and quarterback Josh McCown.

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