Antonio Bryant SpeaksMay 26th, 2009
Bucs receiver Antonio Bryant was a guest on Sirius NFL Radio’s “The Blitz” Tuesday afternoon with co-hosts Adam Schein and Solomon Wilcots. Bryant was coy about who he wants the Bucs’ starting quarterback to be and about who was involved in an OTA fight, aside from the well-publicized stunt by helmet-wielding Aqib Talib.
But Bryant was quite vocal that he went to the Bucs brass and lobbied for the team to acquire NRA spokesman Plaxico Burress and/or disgruntled Arizona receiver Anquan Boldin. Oddly enough, just after the interview, it was announced that Boldin fired his oily agent Drew Rosenhaus.
Curiously, Rosenhaus didn’t crow about this move on his Twitter account.
Solomon Wilcots: What’s it been like on the field with the new coaches and teammates?
Antonio Bryant: There’s a lot of new things and a lot of new faces. We have a new offense and new guys to pull the trigger. They are ready to compete, McCown and Leftwich. It’s been different, it’s been really different. They’re moving the ball around to different people.
Adam Schein: Does [Josh] Freeman have the goods?
AB: Physically, he passes the ball well. He just needs the opportunity to make good throws and compete. Coach Morris wants him to compete with the rest of the guys and wants people like me to be a mentor.
SW: How do you divvy up the reps? Is that going to be a problem?
AB: You know what, the NFL right now is “What have you done for me lately?” Whoever looks good at the moment and makes the plays. It doesn’t matter what position. There are a lot of young guys that have to understand that. Even if you get a big contract the team will still bring in people on Tuesday to work out. The guy who makes plays may come from the quarterback position and may not.
AS: Who gives you the best chance to win in 2009?
AB: The person that doesn’t know how to quit. Every position, receivers, quarterback, it doesn’t matter. We just need to try to get better as to be part of the whole machine. If someone doesn’t do well one week, someone else comes in to fill his shoes to make us a stronger team. He needs to pick up where the other guy left off. That’s what you have to look at: The teams that go far in the playoffs are the teams that have depth.
AS: At what point in terms of chemistry do you need a guy named as the quarterback? Is it tomorrow at OTAs or is it the start of training camp or the first preseason game? When is it?
AB: Hey, in baseball you have an opening day starter and you have a closer. We have guys like Griese who can come in and maintain the game. It’s not going to be a traditional quarterback and doing traditional things. It depends. The coaches will know who to put in.
SW: You fought to be in this league. What is it about quarterbacks that they need to be treated differently, where teams need to know who is the guy in Week One? What is it about the quarterback mentality? No one else is told that?
AB: The best quarterbacks have the best poker faces. Things don’t bother them. As soon as they look bothered, the media is all over them. It’s about being cool and having poise. That’s what you want: a swagger that won’t be broken. Hey, if it doesn’t work, we’ll get it next time.
AS: What do you make of Byron Leftwich?
AB: I had shoes on that weren’t that good, I wasn’t as quick with them. [Leftwich] missed me and he really got on me and got me mad and I got with it and got a better pair of shoes on. That’s what I like. He got me involved.
SW: What can we expect with the Bucs with all the changes? Some say you don’t have a quarterback. What can we expect?
AB: Well, I know I am not happy about not having any primetime games but we have to line up and play every Sunday. That’s what it’s all about. We will get our just dues. Sometimes it’s good like that, having our backs against the wall. I know something about that.
AS: How can an NFL fan or a teammate or even the Bucs know that Antonio Bryant will do it again?
AB: Cause Antonio Bryant has had to overcome some things. Not a lot of people get the opportunity to resurrect themselves. Not a lot get a second chance. I am fortunate. I will be greedy about it. As long as I can ride it I will ride it. I’m not going to be the cause of having it taken away again.
AS: How’s your contract? Are you in negotiations to extend it?
AB: I don’t want any distractions. I told my agent, if that’s the way it’s going to be I’m cool with it. I just want to play the game. Line up on Sundays.
AS: Were you bothered by the franchise tag?
AB: I am just concerned about what I can control. I told my agent I don’t want to be one of those guys going off an on about the contract. I’m happy. That’s why I am at OTAs. That’s why I am doing what I am doing. That’s why I am here: To help out my team.
AS: You think you have a bad rap?
AB: Most definitely. But I am a man and I know I had something to do with that too. I’m with a team. I’m going to do what I am supposed to.
AS: So are you looking for a new contract?
AB: No. I’m good. Raheem has good communications with us. Richard Mann is good. I can talk to him about anything. I’m enjoying my relationships here. I hope to do some better things.
SW: What about Talib swinging?
AB: I feel bad for Torrie Cox. But Talib is not a bad guy. Not a bad buy but a young guy. Sometimes it takes time to separate yourself and that’s what he was trying to do; separate himself from the rest of the cornerbacks and this is not the way to do it. He’s a good guy. He just has to be careful of getting marked as a wrong guy. You don’t want that.
AS: Can he stay out of trouble?
AB: He’s always laughing. You look at his heart and he is always laughing. He’s a good guy. He just made a wrong decision trying to prove himself. I just think he has a little pressure on himself. We will teach him alright. He’ll be alright.
AS: What you think about Winslow missing OTAs?
AB: To each his own. I just hope we hold each other accountable and we step up when we need to. I know him. He’s a good guy. When it’s the time to play he will be there when we need him to be there.
AS: What do you think about Gruden getting a TV gig?
AB: (Laughs) Coach is smart, very smart. He can break it down. He know the players. He sat me down and told me about my game. No other coach did that. He held me to a high mark and expected things of me. Not many did that. He held me to a higher standard than most. Plus, he likes to talk.
AS: How is the vibe without Gruden?
AB: A lot of guys had some unsettling things to say but to each his own. It’s not too much different. We need new leaders to step up and compete. I tell the other receivers to come after me. I’ve never been afraid of competition. It makes me better. They should sign Plaxico. I’ve mentioned it to the Bucs before. It’s not like I don’t know him. But we come to play football and this man knows how to make football plays.
AS: How was that received, you asking for Burress?
AB: He’s in a situation where we don’t know the outcome. Hey, why not? Why not him or Boldin? Why not? Why not? Why not? We will all get our opportunities. Look, the Cardinals had Boldin and Fitzgerald on the same field and got to the Super Bowl. There would be no problem here. Hey, they went to the Super Bowl. You think I will complain about balls if we go to the Super Bowl? Come on!
AS: What do you think of your club?
AB: We’re not retooling. We have the guys here. The fight Talib had isn’t the only fight. It’s great we got fiery guys. We just need to find the right pieces of the puzzle. We have no primetime games. There’s a reason for that. Why wouldn’t we want to beef up with more weapons. But we can go to war with what we have.