Tampa Bay defensive end Adrian Clayborn, the team's first-round pick, was thrilled to get his contract signed so that he wouldn't miss any of the team's training camp practices, which begin on Friday at One Buccaneer Place.
Defensive end Adrian Clayborn, Tampa Bay’s first-round draft pick in 2011, reported to training camp at One Buccaneer Place on Thursday and spoke about signing his rookie contract early Wednesday morning before practices begin on Friday. Clayborn, who was the 20th overall selection, signed a four-year contract that the Bucs can make a five-year deal by picking up an option year, as is allowed with all first-round picks per terms of league’s new collective bargaining agreement.
Unlike Bucs defensive tackle Gerald McCoy, who joked and playfully teased the media, Clayborn’s mood appeared serious and focused with the task on hand. As the first of the NFL’s 32 first-round picks to sign, Clayborn knew getting to camp on time is a key factor is shaping his rookie season.
“That was important just to get here on time and get ready to play football,’’ Clayborn said. “I’m a couple months behind. The money and the contract were important but I just want to play football, so I’m glad I’m here. I think the CBA made it a lot easier to get the deal done.”
Acknowledging the importance of being signed on time, Clayborn is focused on getting up to speed quickly now that he can work with new defensive line coaches Grady Stretz and Keith Millard.
“Learn the playbook, I mean you can’t play fast unless you learn the playbook,” Clayborn said. “So I definitely have to get more into that. Things have changed since the last playbook they gave me so I have to learn new stuff and get after it.”
The 6-foot-3, 281-pounder is looking forward to having some veterans to lean on, even if those he will look to are nearly as young as he is. Clayborn and McCoy have spent weeks together in the offseason in San Diego and in Tampa training together this offseason.
“Gerald had definitely been helpful, he helps me out with different techniques,” Clayborn said. “All the guys [will be a mentor]. I’m taking advice from any position – any player, any coach, the equipment guys. I’m taking advice from everyone.”
When McCoy spoke to the media about Clayborn on Thursday he had some key advice for the new Buccaneers defensive lineman.
“Eliminate stress man, eliminate stress,” McCoy said. “Half of my rookie season was stress. Eliminate stress. Just have fun playing the game, because we don’t have it for long. Just enjoy your rookie season.”
The former Iowa Hawkeye isn’t exactly sure what to expect his rookie season but knows the lack of sack production from the Buccaneers’ defensive line last season is part of the reason he is here in Tampa. Clayborn had 11 sacks during his junior season, but his sack production fell off during his senior season and he finished with only 3.5 QB captures.
“I don’t know what the expectations are [for the defensive line],” Clayborn said. “We are going to get into camp [and see]. It is definitely going to be a lot of competing, so it is going to be fun to compete with everybody. The jobs are not sewn up, so we have to go out there and compete and hopefully I come out victorious.
“We had that same situation (lack of sack production) at Iowa my sophomore season, we were pretty much last in the conference in sacks. So you just take it as a chip (on your shoulder) to get to the quarterback and not have your coach bringing it up every meeting. So it’s just a little chip on your shoulder to get to the quarterback a little more.”– Scott Reynolds contributed to this report
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