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Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Bucs Cap Mini-Camp With Team Bonding

The Buccaneers hit the bowling lanes on Thursday to finish up their mandatory mini-camp.

Check out photos of the Buccaneers trip to a local bowling alley.

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On Thursday, the Bucs were scheduled to take the field for their final mini-camp practice before breaking until training camp in late July. But Head Coach Lovie Smith had other plans.

When the Bucs' players arrived at the team's facilities Thursday morning, they were under the impression that they would hold an early practice, at 10:30 a.m. as opposed to 1:30 p.m., like they had for their mini-camp practices on Tuesday and Wednesday. Shortly after everyone was in the building, though, Smith informed his team and coaches that they would be hitting the bowling lanes instead of the practice field.

"I just felt like this was a perfect ending to a great offseason," Smith said. "We haven't had a chance to do any team-building exercises so this is good to get the guys away from the football field and in a different environment, a competitive one at that. You can see the competition, the same type of competitive spirit you see out there on the football field. It was a great ending. Of course, it was all a surprise to them. The guys came in today expecting to practice, one hard practice to go and they get this."

Players boarded busses and bowled for about three hours at a local bowling alley. They participated with their position groups, and occasionally position coaches. And, as Smith said, players are competitive in nature, no matter what they're doing.  

There were three trophies given out – one to the player who bowled the highest game, another for the best two-game series and a final to the player group which recorded the highest collective score. Wide receiver Kenny Bell took home the single-game award after bowling a 204 while linebacker Jason Williams won the two-game series award and the tight ends took home the group title.

"Kenny Bell was the best, hands down," wide receiver Vincent Jackson said. "He said he owns like five bowling balls. I think he said he had a ring for bowling, like a 300-point game or something like that. It was no contest. Me and (Louis) Murphy were in the 170's, 180's but Kenny was in the 200's. He gets the crown this week."

The event was the last time the Buccaneers players and staff would all be under the same roof until training camp. Defensive tackle Gerald McCoy said that the event was good for players to get to know each other and build camaraderie, and also decompress after a hard-fought offseason program. 

"This is great because sometimes it's good to see people be comfortable," McCoy said. "People are not always comfortable at work because you've got your job on the line, coaches are watching you, you've got practice and don't want to mess up, you're trying to get everything down right. But out here you don't have to be good, it's just having a great time and enjoying each other's company. These times are always great."

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