Players on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are already preparing for the 2010 season, as the team started their 14-week voluntary offseason training program on Monday. This year's offseason program features many new changes, and the majority of the team has been in attendance at One Buc Place, ready to face the challenges in store for them as they look to build upon last year's 3-13 campaign. Although the program just began, recently acquired wide receiver Reggie Brown is already hard at work with the rest of his teammates at the team's facility.
Tampa Bay traded a 2011 sixth-round draft pick to the Philadelphia Eagles in exchange for Brown on March 8 to help add depth to the WR corp after the Bucs decided to part ways with starting split end Antonio Bryant in free agency. Brown is expected to compete for a starting receiver spot on the Bucs with Michael Clayton, Sammie Stroughter, Maurice Stovall, and Mark Bradley. The team is also expected to add more competition and depth at the receiver position through the draft in April.
Brown, 29, was originally a second-round draft choice of the Eagles (35th overall) in the 2005 NFL draft. As an Eagle, Brown played in 72 games and started 45. In his first three years in the league, the University of Georgia product hauled in an impressive 150 catches for 2,167 yards and 16 touchdowns.
However, in his last two years with the Eagles, Brown has battled injuries and was buried on Philadelphia's depth chart behind starters DeSean Jackson, the Eagles' 2008 second-round pick, and Jeremy Maclin, the team's 2009 first-rounder, in addition to backups Jason Avant and Kevin Curtis. This also caused his production to drop off and brought his total numbers to 27 catches for 407 yards and only one touchdown in the 2008 and 2009 seasons.
In an interview with Stephen Holder of the St. Petersburg Times on Tuesday, Brown talked about his recent struggles.
"You work hard in the offseason and you set goals for yourself, and when you're not given a chance to meet those goals, you feel like all the hard work you've done goes down the drain," Brown told the St. Pete Times. "It can be hard on you, but I just tried to stay focused and stay positive. I knew I was going to get another opportunity to show what I can do on the field."
Another opportunity is exactly what Brown received when the Bucs traded for the 5-year veteran just three days after the start of free agency. A trade was also exactly what Brown was hoping for this offseason to help rejuvenate his career.
"I kind of thought I was going to get traded this offseason," said Brown. "I was hoping. I didn't want to sit through another year of just doing nothing. Some people might say it's cool to just do nothing and get paid, but it isn't. When I heard Tampa Bay was going to be the team that I was going to get traded to, I was excited because I thought I could come down here and have a great opportunity to play and contribute to the team."
When Brown first arrived in Tampa and started training with the team, it didn't take the former second-round pick long to believe that his new opportunity with the Bucs would be a good situation for him.
"It's nice to be down here," said Brown. "Everyone is pretty excited to get the season going. It seems like the staff here is trying to unite the team. Everyone is working out together, and you just sense the enthusiasm with the staff and the team around here. I just think it's going to be a pretty good year."