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Bucs’ Connor Barth back in competition for kicking position

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For the Bucs, the kicking competition seems a little … familiar, shall we say?

Tampa Bay brought kicker Connor Barth back to town this week for a rematch with Patrick Murray. Murray won the kicking competition over Barth, who had been the team’s kicker for the previous four years, in last year’s training camp. Barth instead spent five games last season with Denver.

“It’s very rare that one guy stays with a team for their whole career anymore,” Barth said. “It used to be something that happened, but that’s just the way it is. You come in and it’s a business. You’ve got to look at it like that. You’re just trying to build the best team you can to hopefully win a Super Bowl. We just come in and shake hands, we compete and laugh and have fun off the field. That’s just the way it is.

“I’ve been through a lot of teams, a lot of coaches. You’ve got to look at it like you’re blessed to still play. It’s kind of still fun. I used to take it for granted a little bit, but now I enjoy every day I come out here because you never know if it’s going to be your last. That’s the NFL. It stands for ‘not for long.”’

One difference for Barth is the new longer extra point after touchdowns that puts more pressure on the kicker.

“You’re just hoping that I add a little more value, someone who’s accurate,” Barth said. “Now you’ve got to focus in. It’s a big difference in a game. You’ve really got to go out there and concentrate.”

For the Bucs, it may be difficult for Barth to beat out Murray, who hit 20 of 24 field goals last year. But in the case of an injury, knowing a bit more about Barth’s abilities at age 29 could not hurt.

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 [email protected]

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