Antonio Bryant Talks Free Agency, Media & More

February 4th, 2010

There’s no question that the Bucs’ decision on soon-to-be free agent Antonio Bryant will be a critical offseason move. The Bucs’ franchise player in 2009, Bryant is undeniably the most talented and accomplished wide receiver on a team lacking at the position. Bryant graciously agreed to a lengthy one-on-one interview with on Wednesday. While part of the chat was off the record, Bryant answered many questions for publication.

Part I of the interview is below. Part II is posted on the Web site of’s media partner, WDAE-AM 620, the Buccaneers’ flagship station. Several months ago you talked about your knee injury in pretty ugly detail on the Buccaneers Radio Network. It sounded extremely painful. What do you think about fans who thought you might have been dogging it and media reports that didn’t exactly paint a picture of the Bucs’ franchise player working hard to get back on the field?

Antonio Bryant: I feel really disgusted to be honest. ‘Oh I quit, I get hurt all the time.’ I’m disgusted by that. For the most part, I never get hurt. I only missed six total games in my career, and three this year. …People get hurt every year. But when you have a long term contract and you get hurt, it’s no big deal. People think, ‘Ok, he’ll get better and come back strong and there’s always next year.’ But when I get hurt, it’s the end of the world. …To know how bad I want to be out there and win. It’s just wrong. …Early in the season, if I felt a little bit better I wanted to be on the field. I knew I wasn’t ready, but I felt like I was running, so I should be out on the field. …I would have played all the way through if it wasn’t for my coach, Richard Mann. He was the one telling everyone, ‘If we rest him, he’ll be better.’ He wanted to let me heal better by sitting out. He was right looking back. But I’m not wired that way. [Mann] was on me for coming back to fast. … In London I felt great, then I had a little setback. But I got better. From the Saints game at home [in Week 11], I was feeling good.

Joe: What do you make of media reports that claim you might not want to come back to the Bucs because Richard Mann is gone?

Bryant: That’s just crazy. That’s people saying the way they think I feel instead of just asking. Mann was one of those guys for me that helped me feel comfortable and we clicked like that. …That was very comfortable for me. That was the first time somebody opened their arms up and accepted me for me. … I was a man when I stepped in the NFL, but I needed to become a mature man. …When I got here[Mann] said, ‘You’re not like what they say. Explain to me what’s going on.’  …That was a man there for me that I could breathe to. 

Joe: The Bucs are said to be considering Ike Hilliard, your teammate last year, as a serious candidate for wide receivers coach in 2010. What do you think about that?

Byrant: I had veteran people ahead of me when I was younger. Vets are never afraid to teach younger guys, like what I’ve put out there to Sammie Stroughter. …But I came here already as a veteran and then [got the franchise tag], and Ike was never afraid to teach me. Some guys are afraid to teach veterans. … He was never intimated by me or to teach me. It’s natural for him. …By him being around me, he understands what kind of guy I am. Ike was a guy I leaned on. I learned from him. He has my respect. He’s a guy I’m sure the Bucs would want to have on their staff, who knows how to get it done on the field.

Joe: You become a free agent in about a month. Have the Bucs made you an offer for 2010? What’s the status of the negotiations?

Byrant: As far as I know my agent’s tried to contact Mark Dominik, [the Bucs] told him maybe about combine time we’ll talk. I don’t know. It is what it is right now.

Joe: Do you want to play for the Bucs next year and beyond?

Bryant: Of course I want to play there. Why not? …Raheem’s doing a great job. The defense ended unstoppable most of the time. …Sometimes it’s better to have your ups and downs early. …It was frustrating. I couldn’t always go to Raheem when I wanted to. I understood we had a quarterback that couldn’t be ready to go downfield all the time and make those reads way downfield just yet. …You know, all year it seemed like we were one play away from being in the game or winning the game. And I felt like I could make those plays for us. But I wasn’t getting the opportunities.  And I wanted to say I could make the play. And when it’s like that, when you drop one ball, it’s like [dropping] three.  

Part II of Bryant’s exclusive interview with can be found here, on

11 Responses to “Antonio Bryant Talks Free Agency, Media & More”

  1. Radio Mushmouth Says:

    If we don’t make the effort to re-sign him you know right away we aren’t serious about winning this year.

  2. aldo Says:

    i guess sammie can be starter, no matter if hes from 7th round, but if we can get AB and draft a WR in the 2nd round we can be at least competitive.

    look, freeman was just a year with sammie and made an excelent comunicaton on the field, better than clayton, so assuming all the reps in training camps and OTA with sammie AB and a WR drafted, we can be good per air.

    we need to draft D!!!!! Mccoy or Berry in the first round.


  3. Jeff Says:

    I never get overly worked up about the Bucs moves. I can’t control what they do and I hope for the best. Not re-signing AB is going to make me ballistic.
    There is no legitimate reason – NONE – that we can’t sign him.

  4. bucfanlostiniowa Says:


  5. JDouble Says:

    No reason not to resign Bryant. Some claim that he wants too much money, but that is just hyperbole. He got over 9 million last year from the franchise tag, but he didn’t ask for that. The year before in 2008 he made a little over one million. At his age and knee injury last year, I’d be willing to bet he would be happy with something very similar to what Clayton got…and didn’t deserve.

    Bottomline…Bryant is a bonified playmaker. We are very stupid if we let him go.

  6. Jeff Says:

    Let’s pray this time next month we’re talking about how smart it was to re-sign him.
    I would give him a 3yr deal (3rd year a club or player opt out option) with guaranteed base salaries of 2.5, 3.5, and 5 mil + signing bonus (maybe larger guarantees if no signing bonus). Throw in bonus clauses that pay him on an increasing scale based on yards, TD’s, receptions, games played, playoff games and superbowl.

  7. Louie Says:

    As AB said, the film don’t lie. Sign him! He’s the ONLY established receiver we have and some of the catches he makes are amazing. Plus, Freeman won’t have to develop chemisty with a new receiver.

    I will go ballistic if the Bucs allow AB to leave.

  8. Eric S Says:

    Rookie WRs always take longer than rookie RBs to acclimate to offenses in the NFL. I think we need AB back. There is not much out there for FA WRs. And if they want to build through the draft, then you can eliminate going after Marshall or Boldin since draft picks will have to be involved getting them. I guess the most realistic thing for the Bucs to do is re-sign AB and possibly draft a WR in the 2nd round. I think I’ve given on the Bucs going after one of those two big WRs possibly out there. It’s a pipe dream.

    I honestly could see the Bucs contending for the playoffs next season if they make the right moves. They would need a DT, S, 1 or 2 WRs, OL for depth, a pass rushing DE and maybe a younger RB. They have to address the first 3 things. And if Sears comes back strong and healthy, that would greatly improve the OL. Maybe sign a Jason Taylor as a pass rushing specialist. They could be doable.

    I really do hope the Bucs play better next season. Another season like ’09 would be crippling to the team and the fan base.

    I still can’t believe they are having the first round on a Thursday night. One of the stupidest ideas the NFL has ever had. All for the mighty buck. It sucks. As a side note way off topic, Conrad Dobler is not a NFL Hall of Famer as noted to the right. Maybe the NFL Hall of Fame for dirty players, but not the regular Hall. Not that important.

  9. Joe Says:

    Eric S:

    I still can’t believe they are having the first round on a Thursday night. One of the stupidest ideas the NFL has ever had. All for the mighty buck.

    That’s why having the draft on a Thursday night (prime time) is smart. Why pass up cash lying in the street?

  10. OAR Says:

    Eric S,
    Bates(he really wanted him for his scheme) and the Bucs tried for Jason Taylor last year, only to have him say no and go to Miami, so I don’t think that will happen.

  11. Eric S Says:

    It is smart money wise Joe. But why mess with tradition. They already screwed up last year by pushing the first round to mid afternoon on Saturday. It was fine at noon on Saturday. Now it is stretched out over three days. I don’t like it.