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July 21, 2011 @ 7:25 am
Current rating: 4.50 Stars/2 Votes

Black's Goal Is To Start

Written by Charlie
Charlie Campbell


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Bucs rookie safety Ahmad Black has a goal to win a starting job this training camp. Black also talks about why he didn’t attend the Bucs player-organized workout in June.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers rookie safety Ahmad Black is training hard in preparation for his first NFL season. The fifth-round pick Black grew up in Lakeland, Florida and has been a die-hard Bucs fan his entire life. After having a dream come true in being able to play for Tampa Bay, Black is excited to get started and has lofty goals for his first training camp.

“I want to try to get a starting spot, but if not, then a significant role on the team,” said Black. “I really just can’t wait to get in there and do my thing.“

Since the draft, Black has been training in Lakeland and Tampa. After playing collegiately for the Florida Gators, Black is used to the heat and is ready for training camp at One Buc Place.

“I’ve been pretty much training four or five times a week,” said Black. “I’ve been doing a lot of outside stuff, going to the beach and trying to relax a little bit. I know that once we start it is going to be crazy.”

In order for Black to accomplish his goal to be a starter as a rookie, he is going to have to beat out a number of veterans. The Buccaneers have starting strong safety Sean Jones returning. Free safety Cody Grimm started nine games in 2010, and is fully healed after ending the season on injured reserve. Backups Corey Lynch and Larry Asante are also coming back to compete. In order for Black to be a starter he will likely have to beat out one of Jones or Grimm. Suspended veteran Tanard Jackson could be eligible to return to the team after the second game of the season.

Over the past three seasons Black was a star for Florida and has gone up against many future NFL players including quarterback Sam Bradford, wide receiver Julio Jones, wide receiver A.J. Green and many more. In speaking with former teammates that have played in the NFL, Black is not too concerned with the speed of the game coming from the SEC.

“In talking to some of the guys they say the speed probably will only be a little bit faster than what I’m used to,” said Black.

During his years at Florida, Black was a ballhawk. He concluded his college career as a three-year starter playing in 48 games and compiling 13 interceptions for 362 yards returned with three touchdowns. He also had one fumble recovery, three forced fumbles, one blocked kick, two sacks, 13 tackles for a loss, 15 passes broken up and 244 tackles. As a senior, Black totaled five interceptions returned for 171 yards and one touchdown. Black also registered 108 tackles with 10 tackles for a loss, one sack, five passes broken up and three forced fumbles. The team captain Black led the Gators in tackles in 2010.

Black has gotten some pointers from a lot of his former teammates that have entered the NFL. In particular Black has learned from Cleveland Browns cornerback Joe Haden and Chicago Bears safety Major Wright. Black, Haden and Wright were three quarters of a starting secondary that won a National Championship in 2008.

“I talk to those guys all the time,” said Black. “We don’t talk too much about football. We’ve talked about it a little bit, but I was talking to them while they were going through it, so I picked up some of it.”

Thus far Black has not heard from his new Buccaneer teammates. Even though he isn’t that far away, he was not at the Bucs three-day player-organized workout in Bradenton, Florida at IMG Academies.

“I wasn’t invited, so I didn’t go,” said Black.

While Black wasn’t working out with his future teammates, he decided not to attend the rookie symposium that was put on by the players union at IMG.

“No I didn’t go. A lot of the guys I talked to weren’t going,” said Black. “I wanted to keep the time for working out.”

Right now Black is eager to get his pro career started. The 5-foot-9, 184-pounder Black earned a reputation as a gamer that would make big plays in big games. In the National Championship victory for Florida over Oklahoma at the end of the 2008 season, Black recorded a jaw-dropping interception of Bradford. The interception was a critical play in Florida's victory. 

Black ended his collegiate career as the Outback Bowl MVP in Raymond James Stadium. He had two interceptions that were returned for 129 yards and a touchdown. He also chipped in six tackles with a tackle for a loss. Little did Black know that his first professional game would be played in the same stadium. However, he conveyed that hope to head coach Raheem Morris and defensive backs coach Jimmy Lake when he met them leading up to the draft.

“It was pretty good,” said Black of meeting them. “I told him how I’ve always been a Bucs fan and it would be great if they drafted me.”

That dream has been realized, soon Black will try to make his goal of being a starter come true.
Last modified on Thursday, 21 July 2011 08:17

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  • avatar

    Talk about imposing secondary names!! Black and Grimm, Grimm and Black, you could add their names together and use them as a verb, as in, "Roddy White was GrimmBlack'ed at the 47 yard line!" Black and Grimm - the deadly duo in the Tampa secondary.
  • avatar

    Like most rookies, I'm not sure if Black can earn the starter's job this year but I can see him getting a significant amount of playing time towards the end of the season. He is not going to beat out Cody Grimm just yet. Some of you put way too much emphasis on attendance at meetings.
  • avatar

    i hear you talking a good game Mr Starter. But, not going to the syposium or Geralds mini cap???? You couldnt skip a workout to go workout with your team mates???? Im not buying it. Show me dont tell me.
  • avatar

    J_Buc- said it best I agree 100%
  • avatar

    “I wasn’t invited, so I didn’t go,” said Black. You either think he's a liar or it means he has no respect for those guys? Shame on Gerald's mini camp then if they FAILED to invite him, yet invited other rookies.
  • avatar

    He isn't gonna beat out Grimm. Cody covers well and is just a beast when it comes to tackling and we need someone who can come in and stick a helmet on a runner or receiver. He may very well have a shot at beating out Jones.
  • avatar

    I've been watching Black play live in the Swamp for the past few years and I dont care what anyone says about his size and speed, he's a football player and hes gonna make big plays for the Bucs in the future! Remember last year before the draft everyone said Joe Haden was too slow to be an NFL corner; not only was he the first corner taken in the draft, but he had 6 ints as a rookie and barely missed the pro bowl!
  • avatar

    Would like to see black beat out Jones. Need someone that is aggressive, ballhawk.
  • avatar

    I think Grimm and Black are our safeties of the future. They would make a great tandem.
  • avatar

    black will beat out grimm.
  • avatar

    I could be wrong, but I don't think any rookies attended the mini-camp. Being that none of them are able to even discuss a contract with the teams yet it would be stupid to go. Especially a 5th rd pick. If Clayborne went and was injured, he'd still get a contract...the same doesn't apply for a 5th rounder. It was a wise decision not to go.
  • avatar

    Two...Foster and Clayborn. Both locks to make the team. Clayborn also skipped the symposium. Just saying...give the kid a break.
  • avatar

    My first thoughts upon reading the title of this article was, "Maybe Black should find his locker & playbook before he tries to capture a starting job." After reading it I see CC was just pooling a few minor quotes, and stretching his journalistic abilities. I think some of you are putting too much importance on this mini-camp thing. He's a rookie who has not even been to the practice facility. Black putting in a full days workout with his people has got to be more beneficial than him standing around glad handing a few team mates. I'm looking forward to seeing the Bucs' new Special Teams--of which Black could be an immediate impact. I really thought they were a little flat last year. Not Barth, but the punting took a while to solidify, coverage was poor, and Spurlock wasn't all that effective.
  • avatar

    I loved Black at Florida and was elated to draft him, but I don't think he starts this yr I see Grimm and Jones in the beginning of the yr with T-Jack subbing in the rotation and maybe taking over as the yr goes on.
  • avatar

    I like Black. Smart football player who plays bigger and faster than what he shows. I do not like hearing that he decided not to go to the rookie symposium and that he did not attend the Freeman lead minicamp that was 75 minutes from his house. Why would a rookie not do EVERYTHING possible to get with the team (like Clayborne) and learn from the others? Why would they choose not to go to the PLAYER lead rookie symposium? Just seems like those things make you start out on the wrong foot.
  • avatar

    Potential impact player this year. www.nationalfootballpost.com/Potential-midlateround-rookie-impact-players.html
  • avatar

    Really good to hear a little about this guy. I wondered why he didn't attend the minicamp. If he can put up even a fraction of the numbers he put up at Florida, he will make an impact in the safety ranks for the Bucs. I was stoked when I first found out he was a long time Bucs fan. That means that he will likely give his all all the time, and put his team before himself. I want players to love, value and respect the team they play for. It sounds like he is honored to be a buccaneer, which can only mean good things for the franchise. Good Luck Ahmad!
  • avatar

    How did he not get an invite to the IMG minicamp, but it seems like everyone else did?
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