Photos of new Tampa Bay Buccaneers DT Henry Melton from his time with the Dallas Cowboys and Chicago Bears (AP Photos).
> 5 THINGS TO KNOW ABOUT CONTE> 5 THINGS TO KNOW ABOUT MELTON1. Melton is looking forward to playing for his former coach.
Melton played three seasons under Lovie Smith in Chicago, from 2010 to 2012. During that time, the two became close. "He's just a great guy." Melton said of Smith. "He not going to yell at you – well, he might yell at you but he's not going to cuss at you or say anything foul to your face. He's blunt and he's going to get straight to the point. I grew really close with him when I was in Chicago."
2. Conte believes he can be a key contributor.
Conte was forward about his expectations for 2014. "I intend to come in and compete and play free safety and be the starter," he said. Conte added that he is excited about the role safeties play in Tampa's system. "This defense allows me to play free safety, play the middle of the field a lot, which has kind of become what I do," he said. "I love playing the middle of the field and being able to break on the ball and make plays."
3. Melton is looking forward to teaming up with Gerald McCoy.
McCoy and Melton first met at the Pro Bowl in 2012. There, they discussed potentially teaming up. The two have kept in touch since. "We talked then about, I was about to be a free agent then, and we talked about joining forces (then), but it didn't work out," Melton said. "But we had an opportunity to make it happen and he texted me and we've been texting and he was really excited to hear the news." Both Melton and McCoy were among the ten-best defensive tackles in the league in 2014 in terms of pass-rush productivity, according to Pro Football Focus.
4. Melton and Conte are excited to be playing together again.
The two were teammates in Chicago for two seasons. Both said they were excited to be re-united. "Yeah, that's my buddy over there," Melton said of Conte. "I always talked to Chris and even when we were in Chicago. I liked being his friend because I knew he was a hard-nosed guy. He's not going to shy away from contact. And he's a playmaker." Conte spoke highly of Melton, saying, "He's a guy that's going to give everything he has on the field. He's going to rush the passer so it makes my job a lot easier."
5. Conte won't wear John Lynch's number.
Conte wore No. 47 in Chicago but said that he would wear a different number in Tampa. "It's time for a fresh start," Conte said, "I'm looking forward to a fresh start and that's what this is for me. So 47 will not be worn by me in Tampa Bay." Conte said that he and Lynch are not similar players. "The style of player he is, I'm more of a middle of the field player but he's an awesome player, a Hall of Famer," Conte said. "You can't say enough about that guy."
6. Melton had a friendly run-in with newly-signed Buccaneer Bruce Carter at the airport.
Melton played with Carter, a linebacker who was signed by the Buccaneers on Thursday, in Dallas. The two were on the same flight to Tampa on Wednesday, though neither knew it until they were at the airport. "We were on the same flight from Dallas," Melton said. "We didn't even know where each other was going. We just saw each other at the airport and we were like, 'You going to Tampa?' He was like, 'Yeah,' I was like, 'Oh, cool, let's do this.'"
7. Conte has relationships with several coaches and players on the Buccaneers.
Conte is close with cornerbacks coach Gill Byrd and cornerback Alterraun Verner, in addition to Coach Smith and Melton. "Even me and Alterraun Verner, we grew up together. So talking with him it's almost like a dream come true to come play for these guys," Conte said. "Just the relationships that I have with Coach Smith, with Coach Gill Byrd, it's something that you don't come across every day."