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Bucs prepared to absorb ‘Hard Knocks’ during training camp

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The Tampa Bay Bucs have scheduled a press conference for Wednesday, and the reports are growing that the team has been selected to participate in HBO’s Hard Knocks show.

The show, which has often been described as a distraction, will present a new challenge for Tampa Bay.

“I’ve said it before, I feel good about our team and the maturity, especially for being a young group,” general manager Jason Licht said Monday. “I know we have some great personalities on our team starting with Jameis (Winston), Gerald (McCoy), the list goes on and on, (linebacker) Kwon (Alexander). I think it would be, the fans would get an inside look at how our team really is. I know that you guys get a better feel than most, but I think the fans would get a real inside look at how we operate, how the players are. In terms of being a distraction, I think we’re wired to where we would be able to minimize that. Dirk (Koetter) has been through it. Mike Smith has been through it and I’ve heard positive things from them.”

Can it be a positive experience?

“Sure, it can,” Licht said. “We will see how it goes. We will see if that’s the case. I don’t know. May be a moot point, but we will see how it goes.”

 Defensive tackle McCoy didn’t sound bothered.

“I’ve watched it,” McCoy said. “Some years it’s entertaining, some years it’s like ‘whatever.’ We don’t pick them, they pick us. If they pick us, let’s be professionals about it and move forward. We’ve still got a season to prepare for, whether there’s a camera watching or not. We play the games on Sunday’s with cameras watching, so if you think you can’t go out to practice and practice with a camera on you, then you’re probably in the wrong profession. If we get picked, it is what it is, let’s be professionals and go to work.”

Said quarterback Jameis Winston: ““I know I’d embrace it. You’ve got to cherish the opportunity that you’ve got. The whole world gets to see how great of an organization this is and see the great people that we have within the organization. But our job is the play football. They add the glitz and the glamour and all that comes with it. It’s an amazing show, but we’ve got to play football. We’re out there doing it for the fans, we’re out there doing it for the city, and Hard Knocks – they’ll just show the whole world.”

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Gary Shelton is one of the most recognized and honored sportswriters in the history of the state. He has won the APSE's national columnist of the year twice and finished in the top 10 eight times. He was named the Florida Sportswriter of the Year six times. Gary joined SaintPetersBlog in the spring, helping to bring a sports presence to the website. Over his time in sports writing, Gary has covered 29 Super Bowls, 10 Olympics, Final Fours, Masters, Wimbledons and college national championships. He was there when the Bucs won a Super Bowl, when the Lightning won a Stanley Cup and when the Rays went to a World Series. He has seen Florida, FSU and Miami all win national championships, and he covered Bear Bryant, Bobby Bowden and Don Shula along the way. He and his wife Janet have four children: Eric, Kevin, K.C. and Tori. To contact, visit garysheltonsports@gmail.com.

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