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Bucs roll the dice with troubled defensive end Noah Spence

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The Tampa Bay Bucs were happy with their No. 2 draft pick. No, they were not in ecstasy.

The Bucs drafted Eastern Kentucky’s troubled defensive end Noah Spence in the second round, a clear choice of talent over risk.

No one doubts the ability of Spence, who had 13 ½ sacks. But Spence had twice been suspended for ecstasy while he was at Ohio State. Still, he has been mailing his last 20 weekly drug tests to NFL teams to show he has been straight.

“My whole story, it’s all out there,” Spence said. “I knew the questions were coming. So, I’m just telling the truth. I’m not holding anything back.’’

Spence swears he will be a solid citizen with the Bucs.

“Football is my life,” Spence said. “I don’t ever want to feel like it’ll be taken away. You don’t have to worry about that happening.”

Spence said his problems were with the lifestyle, not with the drug ecstasy itself.

“When I hit rock bottom and I felt I had nothing left,” Spence said on when he decided to change. “When I lost football, I knew I had to turn my life around. I had to realize what I love, and I know I love the game.

“I was immature. I’ve never been a bad person. I always respected people.”

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

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