New Bucs safety Chris Conte was in Tampa on Thursday to sign his contract and speak to the local media for the first time. The former Bear talked of his relationship with head coach Lovie Smith and his familiarity with the Bucs defense.
Below is a transcript of his press conference from Thursday.
(On defensive tackle Henry Melton)
“Well, obviously Henry was there in Chicago when I came in as a rookie and I just remember him immediately kind of taking me aside and he was just a guy that kind of looked after me when I first got there and we became close, became friends. He’s a guy that’s going to give everything he has on the field. He’s going to rush the passer so it makes my job a lot easier.”
(On his role with Tampa Bay)
“I intend to come in and compete and play free safety and be the starter.”
(On how healthy he feels)
“It’s a contact sport, so injuries happen, but I’m 100-percent healthy now and I’m going to do everything I can to stay healthy. And a lot of that happens in the offseason with preparing, lifting, just being a smarter football player about the way I hit people, too. So I’ll do everything I can to prevent injuries but I also have to realize that it’s a part of the game, so it comes with the sport.”
(On why he chose to sign a one-year contract)
“First off, I’m just very appreciative of the opportunity to come here and Coach Smith believing in me and all the coaches believing in me. It’s a great opportunity for me. It’s a defense that I know, that I can come in and be effective right away. It’s an opportunity for me to play fast. I don’t have to learn a new system. And I’m just going to do everything I can to get on the field and improve myself and I think the one-year deal for me is an ability to do that and show these coaches that I belong here and deserve to be paid like a top guy eventually.”
(On how he can contribute to the defense)
“This defense allows me to play free safety, play the middle of the field a lot, which has kind of become what I do. I love playing the middle of the field and being able to break on the ball and make plays. That’s the name of the game for me – interceptions. The more I can touch the ball, be effective and take away the middle of the field, that’s what I want to do and that’s how I feel I can contribute to this defense.”
(On how his familiarity with the players and staff on this team helped influence his decision to sign here)
“Even me and (Tampa Bay cornerback) Alterraun Verner, we grew up together. So talking with him it’s almost like a dream come true to come play for these guys. Just the relationships that I have with Coach Smith, with (cornerbacks coach) Coach Gill Byrd, it’s something that you don’t come across every day. Going back to high school, college, these are special people that you don’t come across and they make you want to play harder for them and I knew once they left Chicago that I was going to do everything I could to play for them again. And once this opportunity arose I would be stupid not to jump at it.”
(On if he would wear No. 47, which was worn by former All-Pro Buccaneers safety John Lynch)
“Don’t worry, I’ll be changing that. It’s time for a fresh start, I’m looking forward to a fresh start and that’s what this is for me. So 47 will not be worn by me in Tampa Bay.”
(On if Lynch was an influence)
“Yeah, besides the obvious similarities, he’s a hell of a player. That’s exactly what he is. I don’t think we’re similar players. The style of player he is, I’m more of a middle of the field player but he’s an awesome player, a Hall of Famer. You can’t say enough about that guy. But I want to create my own identity here and do my own thing. I don’t need to live in that shadow.”
Mark Cook currently is the director of editorial content and Bucs beat writer and has written for PewterReport.com since 2011. Cook has followed the Buccaneers since 1977 when he first began watching football with his Dad and is fond of the 1979 Bucs team that came within 10 points of going to a Super Bowl. His favorite Bucs game is still the 1979 divisional playoff win 24-17 over the Eagles. In his spare time Cook enjoys playing guitar, fishing, surfing and family time at the beach. In addition, Cook can be found in front of a television or in Doak Campbell any time the FSU Seminoles are playing. Cook is a native of Pinecrest in Eastern Hillsborough County and has written for numerous publications including the Tampa Tribune, In the Field and Ya'll Magazine. Cook can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
I suppose he’s being realistic…it’s not like we have a couple of pro-bowlers at safety right now…he’s probably got a fair chance to start…ughhhhhh
***BREAKING NEWS***~ Conte lost for year~suffers concussion while signing his contract!
Conti plays more like Sabby Piscitelli so maybe he will wear #21
I wish we would stop asking new FA’s and draft picks if they are influenced or model their game after Brooks, Barber, Sapp and Lynch. The poor guy always responds that he grew up watching *insert name here* and model their game after him and so on, but they never turn out to play much like our favorite Bucs. It’s unfair to the new players. Lynch came into the league about 20 years ago, let’s let these guys create new positive stories for us to tell about our Bucs.
So the Chiefs just traded a 5th round pick for the Saints RG pro bowler Ben Grubbs. The Bucs miss out on a good OL again.
No way NO wouldve traded with us anyway…
wnb0395, Had the same thought but then realized Saints would not help the Bucs. Grubbs is a quick fix an he’s over 30. Would rather have the pick and aa shot at a long-term fix.
Are there any Oregon Ducks on the Chicago Bears? If so, there will be a bidding war between Chip Kelly & Lovie.
Just saw mariotas pro day…… Very underwhelming. I saw nothing that said our bucs should take this kid. There was no drive on the ball on his red zone passes. It was as if he was playing pitch and catch so as not to have too many incompletions. All the scouts while I was watching called it “underwhelming at best” He even looked uncomfortable in the interview. I think he looked better at the combine truthfully
The overall take on Mariotas pro day is that didnt help his stock or his case for being the #1 pick..One on looker said that any team who drafts him should hold their breathe and hope he develops…not a shining endorsement by any means..Would be interested in seeing what our people saw and took away for his pro day..
Now does Jaboo throw at FSUs pro day on the 31st? and if he repeats his combine performance,does this basically lock him in as #1?
I like what they are doing because the guarantees are for a year only and if they don’t perform, then they’re gone. I have no problem with the last two signings.
I have one question….is WISNIEWSKI on the jet yet?
I’ve been calling for the jet all along for Wisinewski, I don’t think we used it. He visited a couple of days ago and didn’t sign:( Now that the Seahawks traded away their C for J Graham, they have called him in for a visit. I hope he secretly wants to play guard again and not center. Or maybe he hates the cold rainy weather in Seattle, and would prefer the beautiful sunny FL weather because it reminds him of Oakland?? He is the one guy that I hope we overpay for, we need him bad for the middle of our O-line. I still think we should draft the FSU G/C if he is still on the board in round 2. Just so he can learn for a year and then take EDS’s spot.
Trivia moment: Chris Conte is the grandson of famous Italian-American actor, Richard Conte who played Don Barzini in the movie Godfather with Marlon Brando.
See you young fellas won’t know anything about the this!
Free Agent signing so far are excellent. They are building depth by signing the BUCS own players and the holes left to fill are at DE, OG and RT. There will be opportunities in the near future to address one of these needs before the draft and the focus on the draft will be better defined. The off-season has started off on good decisions.
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