Buccaneers linebacker Quincy Black said he hadn't slept in weeks before signing his free agent deal worth $29 million over five years. Now Black, who will miss middle linebacker Barrett Ruud, must wait until August 4 to re-join his teammates on the field.
Quincy Black never wanted to leave Tampa, and by the money the Buccaneers paid (5-years, $29 million) to re-sign the 2007 third-round draft pick, apparently, the team wanted him him back just as bad. Black talked with members of the media after Friday afternoon’s practice about the free agency experience and the first day of training camp.
“I wanted to be here,” Black said. “This is where I started, I love the community, love the Bucs. I wanted to be so we made it happen.”
The entire signing process was stressful, and even though the ink is dry on the contract, Black is still filled with angst as he awaits the August 4 date set forth in the collective bargaining agreement, which will allow him to join his teammates in contact drills.
“I haven’t slept in like two or three weeks, honestly,” Black said. “And I probably won’t sleep for like another week until I get on the field and get to running and doing some stuff. I just wanted it [free agency contract] to get over with. I wanted to be here, so we got it done.
“Honestly, it (not being able to participate in workouts as part of the CBA agreement) is like being hurt all over again. But worse, because you know you can go out there and do something. I want to be out there but we have rules we have to abide by those.”
Throughout the process Black was confident the team wanted him back but he also knew anything could happen.
“I had an idea [the Buccaneers wanted me back],” Black said. “But you never know how things will turn out. Free agency is crazy. There was so much uncertainty. I wanted to be here. I went down to Bradenton and worked out and did what I could without risking injury. I wanted to be here.”
Coming off a 10-6 season, which caught many by surprise, the former New Mexico standout knows the team will go from the hunter to the hunted this season.
“Expectations are what they are,” Black said. “Sometimes you live up to them, sometimes you don’t. Obviously, our number one goal here is to win a Super Bowl. That should be an expectation every year.”
Although Black is only in his sixth season, he is by far the veteran of the Buccaneers’ linebacking unit. And while it appears the team will not have Barrett Rudd to rely on in the middle. Black doesn’t think the defense will suffer.
“The linebacker corps is filled with young guys,” Black said. “We are all young. We all can hit, and we are all fast. So hopefully whatever we are lacking we can make up for in that aspect.”
Black said he will miss his friend in the middle.
“I look around the locker room and try and count the guys who have been here with me since 2007,” Black said. “And there aren’t that many from that NFC South championship team. I am going to miss all those guys but I’m definitely going to miss Barrett. I have been in a room with him for four years. It’s impossible to not have a bond with someone you worked with. If you don’t have that [feeling] then you aren’t human.”
With the lack of OTAs and minicamps Black is very eager to see how the team’s 2011 draft will pan out.
“I haven’t seen them going full tilt, full bore yet,” Black said. “But they look good from the little I have seen. I think they have the attitude to come in here and win and that’s what we want. Whenever you have hogs up front it only helps [the linebacker unit].”
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