There was a number 25 jersey sighting on the practice field at One Buccaneer Place on Friday, but it wasn't cornerback Brian Kelly.
For the first time in a decade Kelly, a 1998 second-round draft pick of the Bucs, is no longer in Tampa Bay. He bought himself ou of his contract with the Bucs and signed with Detroit during the offseason.
Kelly was productive in Tampa Bay and helped the Bucs win a Super Bowl, so he left some big shoes to fill.
It is unclear whether he will fill Kelly's shoes, but Bucs first-round draft pick, CB Aqib Talib, has already filled his jersey.
Talib and 53 other players, 38 of which are on tryout contracts, took the practice field on Friday for the first of three rookie mini-camp practices that will be held this weekend at One Buc Place.
The 6-foot, 202-pound Talib was the 20th overall pick in the 2008 NFL Draft. He was introduced to the Tampa media at a press conference on Monday, but Talib said Friday that reality has finally set in.
"It's hit me now," said Talib. "It started in the individual period of practice today – I'm a Buc now, baby. It felt good to be out here."
Talib notched 13 interceptions, 43 passes defensed and 162 tackles in 34 games (32 starts) at Kansas.
The early-entry junior thought his first day of practice went well.
"It was good. It was a lot up-tempo stuff and learning," said Talib. "We did a lot of studying in the classroom and we took it to the field. It was kind of learning on the run, but I think it went pretty well."
Bucs head coach Jon Gruden agreed with Talib.
"He made a couple of splash plays today," Gruden said of Talib. "He is obviously a very talented player. He's just got to discipline himself in learning our defense and being able to apply the energy that he needs to apply on a daily basis."
Talib will compete for playing time as a rookie, but that won't take place until he takes the field with the Bucs veterans for the next set of organized team activities, which will be held in a few weeks.
However, after going through one practice Talib is already competing with defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin and defensive backs coach Raheem Morris in terms of which one them is the most outspoken on the practice field.
"Monte Kiffin, Coach [Morris] and I, we're all competing out there," Talib said smiling. "Coach Morris is a pretty dynamic dude. I fell into the perfect situation here. He's the perfect coach for me."
Although he's quite confident in his abilities, Talib admitted that he was nervous before taking the practice field for the first time as a Buc on Friday.
"I was nervous from the time we started warm-ups to the time I was fielding punts at the end of practice," said Talib. "I was just praying last night that I wouldn't get hurt. I didn't want to be one of the guys that came out here and got hurt on the first practice. Other than that, I just wanted to come out there and do what I do – have fun, play football and stay healthy."
Friday was a memorable moment for Talib, but with Friday's practice under his belt he has already turned the page to the next practice.
"This was real special because it was my first one, and it was really intense, too," said Talib. "Coach Morris didn't take it easy on me at all. It was an introduction to the NFL.
"I want to get the plays down. I want to come back here and know the base coverages. Mainly that's what I want to get out of [the rookie mini-camp]."
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