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Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Bucs Rookies Race with First Responders

Buccaneers Rookie Club join Tampa Fire and Rescue teams for a friendly competition of indoor go-karting.


The Buccaneers Rookie Club conclude their first OTA season with a trip to Tampa Bay Grand Prix for a friendly competition between first-year responder teams from City of Tampa Fire Rescue.

The 2017 Buccaneers Rookie Club, including O.J. Howard, Justin Evans, and Chris Godwin joined over 20 first-year fire fighter and paramedics from the Tampa Bay community for an annual day of friendly competition.

Today's go-karting also allowed players like, Chris Godwin, an opportunity to connect with one another off the field. "To get out here and be able to go go-karting and get a friendly little competition, it bonds us together a lot," said Godwin. "It builds that chemistry that we're going to need later in the year."

Duke Preston, Director of Player Engagement believes the Rookie Club provides players with more insight into the outreach opportunities in the Tampa Bay community. "Within the Rookie Club appearances, we really want to get out and do certain things in the community that show collaboration with different community groups," said Preston. "We look to build and make interpersonal connections and hopefully develop some organic relationships along the way."

After taking laps around the indoor track, the two groups connected over pizza before the rookies presented Chief Thomas Forward of City of Tampa Fire Rescue with an autographed football. "We are one team, no seam," Forward said. "My team will remember this for the rest of their lives."

"What those guys do every day, day in and day out, is impressive," said Howard. "It takes true character to do that and I have so much respect for them."

Throughout the year, the Buccaneers rookies will participate in a variety of outreach activities as members of the Buccaneers Rookie Club, the team's longstanding effort to engage its youngest players with the local community. This is the third consecutive year that the Buccaneers have collaborated with Tampa Fire Rescue to connect each organization's newest members in a fun, engaging environment.

To learn more about Buccaneers community initiatives, visit

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