In 2017, things aren’t like the way they used to be. There’s all kind of technology involved. Instant communication has changed the way we not only interact with each other, but also in how we do business.

At the top, sports are a business, which means they’re very much in that category. Look at college football recruiting. You have 50- or 60-year-old head coaches texting, tweeting and direction messaging some of these high school players to get them hyped up to become a member of their program. It’s kind of funny – and kind of creepy, too.

Though the NFL doesn’t have a recruiting system quite as emphasized as college football, each year the free agency period tends to swing a few teams into contenders that weren’t there before, and winning that free agency period involves some recruiting elements.

Bucs WR DeSean Jackson

Bucs WR DeSean Jackson – Photo by Cliff Welch/PR

It’s not like the old days where coaches and general managers would simply meet a player or his agent at a certain location at a certain time and talk business for a few hours then be on their way, forced to then wait out a decision. Instead, in today’s age, there’s all kinds of communication going on.

We’re starting to see that more and more with players of teams getting involved with free agency. As players go up against each other or see each other at Pro Bowls, they begin to make a friendship. That friendship can be easily accelerated with texts, FaceTimes, and all kinds of social media.

So when it came to wide receiver DeSean Jackson leaving from Washington to sign with the Buccaneers, SI reporter, Jonathan Jones, says it wasn’t just the coaches and the general manager, or even the money, that sold him on the move.

Before the Bucs could sign Jackson—the league’s leader in 50-yard-plus receptions since 2008—to a three-year, $33.5 million contract, there was a recruitment process. Jackson, a three-time Pro Bowler, was about to be on his third team in 10 seasons and Jameis Winston wanted to be sure he landed in Tampa. So the third-year quarterback wrangled Jackson’s number and texted him nearly every day.

“We needed a big-time playmaker,” Winston says.

But it didn’t stop there. Winston, from his time at Florida State, knew what it meant to get the best players all in one place. After all, it won him a championship. So, he was going to do everything he could to make sure that happened in Tampa Bay, too. For help with that, Winston got Mike Evans into the texts to Jackson as well.

Evans had played against Washington and Jackson twice in three years and considered the speedster a friend. He realized that he had Jackson’s number and shot him a text.

“Come holla at us” was the summary of Evans’ text to Jackson, who fired back, “How’d you know?” By the time Evans had texted Jackson, he had already made up his mind to be a Buccaneer. The next night, Evans, Jackson and offensive coordinator Todd Monken were eating dinner together, getting to know each other and talking about the things to come.

In the days of instant communication, it’s natural for friends to have a desire to play with one another. And as the saying goes, iron sharpens iron, bringing the best in will only get the best out of you – so long as you work for it. That’s the attitude the Buccaneers current offensive players seem to have when welcoming the new additions.

“It’s a great problem to have,” Winston smiled. “I don’t discriminate. I throw to the open guy. God blessed me with those weapons so we have to use them.”

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About the Author: Trevor Sikkema

Trevor Sikkema is the Tampa Bay Buccaneers beat reporter and NFL Draft analyst for PewterReport.com. Sikkema, an alumnus of the University of Florida, has covered both college and professional football for much of his career. As a native of the Sunshine State, when he's not buried in social media, Sikkema can be found out and active, attempting to be the best athlete he never was. Sikkema can be reached at: [email protected]
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Horse
Horse
5 years ago

Love it!

fredster
fredster
5 years ago

Nice behind scenes story. Glad we landed him the speed opens up so many options and gives defense fits.

e
e
5 years ago

Ha, That’s good stuff, Trevor! I imagine that Jameis is going to become quite the recruiter in the years to come for the Bucs. I guess he learned a little of that from old Jimbo…

Destino102
Destino102
5 years ago

Clicked on the article, and was disspointed to not see Winston holding a fishing pole with money on the hook, and Evans standing next to him with a net. Try harder, Trevor. Try harder.

jme0151
jme0151
5 years ago

I’ll be happy when I see Winston start a game hot with minimal overthrows. With all these weapons he needs to put the ball where they can catch it and run.