Bucs general manager Jason Licht talked about what made linebacker K.J. Britt such a special player in his eyes after selecting him in the fifth round of the 2021 NFL Draft.
“He plays with a lot of passion,” Licht said. “He’s a big thumper, he’s an alpha, he’s a leader, he’s the man there. Anybody you talk to at Auburn that’s the first thing they’ll say, ‘He is the man here.’ So (I’m) very excited about him.”
That passion was evident as Britt spoke to the media on Saturday prior to the Bucs’ second day of rookie mini-camp.
“Competing,” Britt said when asked about why he loves football so much. “You compete with a band of brothers and then the relationships that you make in the locker room and the relationships that you make off the field. Then you transition that to competing and it’s like a different joy. Then you just build with the camaraderie. I’m really excited to be a part of something great and be able to play the game.”
And despite undergoing thumb surgery that forced Britt to miss nine games in 2020, he remained on the sideline with his teammates. He explained the thought process that went into staying with Auburn despite the injury so that he could still be a leader when off of the field.
Bucs ILB K.J. Britt – Photo courtesy of Auburn
“Just my love for Auburn, the love for my teammates and my love for the game,” Britt said. “I’m not really for all the hype and stuff like that. I’m a man so I’m going to do what I feel is best. And I felt like what was best was sticking around, doing what I was doing. Trying to lead on and off the field, regardless of my situation, and then just having fun. Because I knew that the time was going to fly by and I really wanted to be out there so it was me just living through the younger guys who were playing under me. I just wanted to be there. That’s what I was taught, and that’s what it is.”
Already respected by his new front office and working to earn the respect of his teammates with the Bucs, Britt talked about what being a leader means to him and what he does to be that guy in the locker room.
“Relationships first,” Britt said. “I try to establish a relationship with everybody that I come around. Then, just do everything right. Model character. I try to do everything right and I think people see it and people just try to grasp on to it. I’m not scared to voice my opinion as well but it’s always relationships. I establish relationships with everybody here. Always joking, always playing around with somebody, that’s just my personality. Have a good time and I think people gravitate to it.”
But it takes more than leadership and passion to make an NFL roster. Especially with a team that has so much talent at linebacker like the Bucs do. Britt’s best course of action if he wants to land on the active roster is to be a consistent contributor on special teams. But he doesn’t shy away from that challenge.
Britt made it clear that he played special teams throughout his entire career at Auburn and that he’s excited to contribute in any way possible.
“I played special teams all four years of college,” Britt said. “Even when I started I played special teams. Special teams is just something that I do, we embrace it at Auburn. Mostly all starters play special teams, that’s just the standard. I feel like people try to downgrade it but it’s just part of the game too, it’s a part of ball. I’m just looking forward to playing ball and special teams is a part of ball, so I’m ready to play.”