It's hard to believe we're in the last week of camp and beginning of September. The Buccaneers first game of the 2020 season kicks off in less than two weeks in New Orleans and we've hardly been able to get to know the 2020 Bucs.
Today though, you'll get the answer to another mystery player in this interactive series. There have been some good guesses from the beginning, mostly having to do with Player C, who was revealed last week to be John Franklin III. Franklin had been having a great camp before unfortunately suffering a season-ending knee injury. Though, if you've been keeping up with Franklin on social media, he seems to be making some astounding post-surgery progress.
Social media will also help you decipher another mystery player if you've been paying attention. More clues with Player B later.
It's time for another reveal. So, without further ado… Player A is rookie safety Antoine Winfield Jr.!
Player A – Antoine Winfield Jr.: A lot of you had this guess across the various social media channels and look at that! You're right. Winfield Jr. was the team's 2020 second-round pick out of the University of Minnesota. He was touted as a smart player with incredible ball-hawking skills after recording seven interceptions his senior season as a safety for the Golden Gophers. And he's lived up to that expectation throughout camp.
Winfield Jr. seems to always be around or near the ball and often ends up making a play on it. He's had a couple interceptions this camp and more pass breakups than I can keep track of. All the while, his teammates and coaches keep raving about how smart of a player he is and how coachable, too. It may have something to do with Winfield Jr. playing all across the secondary, which is something he's said he's used to from his college days.
His father played in the league for 14 years as a cornerback – playing a majority of his career with the Minnesota Vikings. He had a brief stint with the Buffalo Bills where he played with Bruce Arians' son, Jake, then the team's kicker in 2001. That was the same season Winfield Sr. picked off a certain quarterback named Tom Brady. And now his son has followed in his footsteps during training camp. Pretty wild stuff.
And now, we'll see how big of a role the young defensive back will play against opponents this season.
Our lone mystery player left.
When the pads came on, Player B was fired up. The thing he missed most?
"Being able to hit people," he laughs. "Yeah. It was nice to finally be able to hit somebody."
But even that novelty has worn off over the past couple weeks. Camp winding down has been welcomed for Player B just because going against teammates every day has made each day feel like an 'infinite time loop' for him.
"That's all you're seeing is the same people," said Player B. "Those are your teammates. That's definitely gotten redundant but that's all you got since you couldn't do preseason games or the joint practices."
"Those were always nice little breakups because you were able to go against new people and different things," he continued, wistfully.
Speaking of his teammates, though, Player B really likes the guys in his position room.
"They're cool dudes," he said. "The rookies, they're a good group. They all have good personalities to them. That's always nice to have with your rookies. They're still able to have fun and are out there having fun. We have a couple other new dudes. But everybody's cool and they're meshing well together."
And they've been bonding over snacks. It's the rookies' job to keep the meeting stocked with snacks maybe only their position group could get away with having. What's on the list?
"Goldfish… Pringles… beef jerky… gummies. It's really whatever."
Though Player B had his requests: Beef jerky and gummies. And not just any type, either.
"Listen, there's a couple different gummies," said Player B, breaking down the art of gummy snacking. "I don't like the mush-type gummies. Those don't even count. Gotta be Haribo."
So, who's our last player with exquisite gummy taste? Find out next week in the series finale!
Player C: John Franklin III
View some of the photos from Buccaneers Training Camp practice at the AdventHealth Training Center.