TAMPA, FLA (WFLA)- Five days into training camp, Bucs head coach, Dirk Koetter, ended a much anticipated position battle.
“Let’s just end the big mystery about this number three wide receiver, okay?,” said Koetter. “Adam’s going to be our slot receiver.”
Adam Humphries. Undrafted in 2015, demoted to the Bucs practice squad the same year, is now the 3rd target in the arsenal of quarterback, Jameis Winston.
Sound like a fairy tale? In the non-guaranteed world of the NFL, maybe. But anyone who has spent time at One Buc Place knows this was one of the hardest earned spots on the Bucs roster.
“Just be ready when your name’s called,” said Humphries. “I started off with the 53 (man roster), got moved to the practice squad and then a couple of injuries got bumped back up, so just always stay ready.”
Humphries turned heads during the 2015 preseason and took the field on opening day against the Tennessee Tiitans. On the third offensive play from scrimmage, quarterback Jameis Winston looked for Humphries to his left. Instead of turning left to haul in a soft pass, Humphries turned to his right. Waiting there was Titans cornerback, Coty Sensabaugh. Winston’s first NFL pass, Humphries first NFL target, was an interception returned for a touchdown. After dressing for three games, Humphries found himself on the Bucs practice squad, only returning when an injury to wide receiver, Louis Murphy, ended his season. Humphries caught three passes in the Bucs overtime win at Atlanta, the first of nine straight games he would catch a pass. And the rise began.
“You talk about the definition of a consistent player, there’s Adam Humphries’ picture right there,” said Koetter. “A consistenly strong player.”
So far, in training camp, this year, Humphries has led a pack of nearly a dozen receivers fighting for roster spots behind Mike Evans and Vincent Jackson. While several have made plays and wowed fans attending camp, it is Humphries picking up where he left off in 2015. He finished the season with 27 catches, 260 yards and a touchdown. Nearly all of it after his return to the lineup in week 8. His work ethic has never been forgotten.
“He’s had a great camp and last year he was one of my best targets,” said Winston. “You think about the first play of the year, me and that guy bounced back from that quickly and had a great season together.”
But with one mission already accomplished, Humphries will not assume his position is safe.
“Got to keep the edge and keep working hard every day,” Humphries said. “I’ve got to earn the spot every day no matter what he (Koetter) says. I can mess up or I can keep getting better and that’s what I’m going to do.”