Bucs Kicking The Tires Of Jeff Demps

August 14th, 2012

It seems the Bucs braintrust is uneasy about its depth at wide receiver and return specialists and is giving track star and former Florida Gators slash player Jeff Demps a look-see, so reports Scott Reynolds of the PewterReport.com.

Demps, who has run the 100-meter in a time as fast as 10.01, did not sign with an NFL team after going undrafted in April because he wanted to focus on training for the 2012 Olympics at the time. He is now a free agent and has several teams interested, including the Buccaneers, who have been touching base with Demps as far back as the early summer prior to the Olympics.

In fact, the Bucs came close to signing Demps this summer when he failed to qualify for the Olympics, finishing seventh in Oregon. He was added to the 2012 U.S. Olympic roster as a member of the 4×100 meter relay teams, as a replacement for Mike Rodgers who had suffered a stress fracture. Instead of signing with the Bucs in July, Demps wanted to focus on racing in the Olympics and then concentrate on football in August.

Demps raced the first leg of the of the second qualifying heat, helping the team to a time of 37.38, breaking a 20-year American record. Demps didn’t run in the final, but his teammates ended up finishing second, earning a silver medal. As part of the team, Demps received a medal.

What does this tell Joe? It tells him that Preston Parker and Sammie Stroughter better be watching their backs, and perhaps Arrelious Benn.

Now Joe doesn’t expect Benn to be cut, but it wouldn’t shock him, as Joe wrote earlier this training camp, Schiano is a stickler for many things, including showing up to practices. Benn, who has been nothing but injury-prone in his first two seasons, hurt his knee in a collision with E.J. Biggers and hasn’t practiced since the opening days of training camp.

Parker and Stroughter appear to be one of the odd men out if Demps is signed. Right now Joe would have to assume Tiquan Underwood is the No. 3 receiver the way he continues to make play after play in each practice, much more so than Parker or Stroughter.

Schiano loathes fumbles and penalties like Joe hates warm beer. Parker, last Friday against Miami, not only coughed up a punt, he got flagged for an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty, which is dumber than dumb and all but begging Schiano to cut him.

Stroughter has been struggling hanging onto the ball as well in return drills in camp, even letting a punt go through his arms this morning.

While Joe isn’t high on Demps — name the last time a track star did anything in the NFL, Willie Gault? That’s 25 years ago. The history of track stars in the NFL is paper-thin.

Hello, Renaldo Nehemiah.

Speed is great but in football, players are not running straight lines. While Demps might sell two dozen tickets to those wearing orange and blue glasses, Joe is very skeptical, based on NFL history, of Demps making a dent with the Bucs.

Remember, 31 other NFL teams thought so much of Demps, he was never drafted much less signed to a free agent contract as we near the halfway point of preseason.

64 Responses to “Bucs Kicking The Tires Of Jeff Demps”

  1. kh Says:

    How about Michael Bates? Won a bronze medal, 5-time special teams pro-bowler, a member of the All-Decade team of the 90’s.

    Plus wasn’t Nememiah a track star turned football player? Demps, on the other hand, has played football his whole life and says its his first love.

  2. raphael Says:

    awesome ! …speed, speed, speed add him to the mix with smith and our special teams would be awesome !

  3. kh Says:

    James Jett was pretty decent too now that I think about it.

  4. Gusjackson Says:

    I would love for them to add him. I wanted the Bucs to pick him up in the 7th round from the beginning. He is a dangerous special teams asset. Worth a look.

  5. Bob Says:


    As the article says, he was never signed to a free agent contract because he didn’t want to play football at that point. He was focused on the Olympics.

    The guy was a good football player at Florida in the role he was in. He’s not just a track star. His speed translated to the field in college football. We’ll see what happens.

  6. Justin Says:

    I usually agree with most of what you say but to compare Demps to just any other track guy isn’t accurate. We’ve seen success on the football field and the reason he wasn’t drafted is because he said he wanted to do track. If he had committed to football, he would be on a field somewhere and would have challenged the 40 record in the combine.

  7. Vic Says:

    Nobody drafting Demps speaks volumes.

  8. Bulldog Says:

    Bob , you’re spot on. He can ball. Had soft hands and I think he averaged above 5 yards per carry. I don’t think they’re looking at him because of the quality of the current receivers or running backs . I think it’s primarily specials teams they’re focusing on. Gives him and the Bucs plenty of time to see if he can contribute anywhere else.

  9. FLBoyInDallas Says:

    Demps can ball and has the same skill set as Percy Harvin and Chris Rainey. I’d take him over Madu as our 4th RB any day of the week and twice on Sunday. Get him in space and he’s extremely dangerous. This guy would add a new dimension to the Bucs offense, without a doubt.

  10. TheTaylorPrice Says:

    The dude had nearly 3,000 total yards on the ground and receiving in 4 years. Averaged almost 7 ypc. He’s definitely not just a track star, showing he ability to run between the tackles and pop the big one outside. He was also a great contributer on Specials Teams, whether it be returning kicks or blocking them along fellow standout Chris Rainey. With his knowledge of the game and his Olympic speed, why wouldnt we bring him in. I think it would be awesome! Im still not sold on Michael Smith’s “4.28” speed so adding Demps should bring out the battle of the speedsters

  11. ben Says:

    he averaged 6.7 yards a carry and its not a track star just going to try to play ball, its a ball player that just happend to run track. he is versatile and sullivan is of the mind to make the most of his abilities

  12. ben Says:

    not to mention the gator heads that would go to see him play, it would be a no brainer to sign him from a marketing stand point

  13. ben Says:

    “Remember, 31 other NFL teams thought so much of Demps, he was never drafted much less signed to a free agent contract as we near the halfway point of preseason.” Helloooooo, olympics, connects the d-o-t-s

  14. Thomas2.2 Says:

    He is much better than Smith and Madu.

    Sign him!

  15. Mark Says:

    Demps is a football player who ran track; not a track star who played football. Tha’t a big difference that Joe and all overlooked.

  16. daniel Says:

    @ ben couldn’t have said it better myself.

  17. daniel Says:

    He’s faster and more experienced than smith and madu. I read the bucs want to use him in the slot so if that means we have to let sammie go then so be it.

  18. Thomas2.2 Says:

    What part of: he declined the draft and free agency until after the Olympics don’t you understand.

    The usoc didn’t want to share him.

    Now he is free for football.I will take him over stroughter, Parker and Benn.

  19. Macabee Says:

    I saw his counterpart, Chris Rainey, show his skills last week with the Steelers. Demps has similar skills and a bit more speed. I think he would be a no-risk addition.

    I also don’t think the Bucs would leak this or let it get out unless they felt like they were a serious contender.

  20. Miguel Grande Says:

    I wish he was little bit taller,
    I know he is a baller,
    I wish I had a girl who looked good
    I would call her
    I wish I had a rabbit in a hat with a bat
    and a 64′ Impala

  21. kh Says:

    Ah, I see what you did here Joe, this was all just an attempt to wind up Gator fans and get page views/comments.

    At least you can admit you were wrong not to include Michael Bates.

  22. Greg Says:

    Speed kills and in this case also sells tickes! Anyone with the track star turned football player argument obviously missed Demps perfrmance at Florida. He was used as a running back, wide receiver, and return man. X-Factors like him in the NFL… Darren Sproles, Dexter McCluster, Chris Rainey (60 yard screen pass in first pre-season game). The eagles have speed everywhere. Devin Hester is a horrible reciever but still makes a huge impact as a reurn man. Steelers have switched from tough big backs and recievers t speed. Would it really be soo bad to have a dngerus weapon that woul help fill seats? Really?

  23. Brandon Says:

    Some of you guys can’t read at all. He CHOSE NOT TO sign a contract, instead focusing on track. It was announced at the Combine that Demps wasn’t there because he WAS FOCUSING ON TRACK. Of course no team drafted him, he was focusing on track and nobody knew what if any commitment he would have to football. Any team that signed or drafted Demps would have been foolish, almost as foolish as those commenting on him having no value because no teams drafted or signed him,

    Now he wants to play football… and like Willie Gault, Ron Brown, Joe Delaney, Mark Duper (Delaney and Clayton were the NCAA 4X100 meter champs in 81), Tim Dwight, James Jett, Darrell Green, Michael Bates, and Michael Carter (he was a shotputting NT), there have been an extraordinary amount of amount of successful dual sport track and field/football players. Demps is talented enough to be one of them. I wouldn’t hesitate to sign him.

  24. Brandon Says:

    BTW, James Lofton won the 1978 NCAA longjump championship. I suppose he wasn’t good either.

  25. David Says:

    Personally I like Demps. He is bigger than some believe and ALOT stronger. He runs between the tackles better than Rainey did.

    He is NOT just a burner, the man has moves and accelerates out of cuts to top speed in what looked like 2 steps.

    He can play WR, RB, and Return guy….. sounds good to me!

  26. Jwayne Says:

    make it happen!!!

  27. The Dutcher Journal (Pete Dutcher) Says:

    Signing Demps would be good publicity. If I had to choose who to release of the WRs to make room? Stroughter.

    I love Stroughter, but Parker is a good WR if he can learn to hold onto the ball. Benn is a high round pick and I’m not convinced he won’t turn into something good this year. Meanwhile…Stroughter has had the most time on the team, hence a greater opportunity.

    The question is whether the guy can make it in the NFL. I say cut one of these other camp fodder and give him a shot to make the team…before cutting one of the more experienced guys.

  28. The Dutcher Journal (Pete Dutcher) Says:

    Brandon…lol…you do realize all but one here want to sign him…right? lol

  29. MTM Says:

    Dominick and Schiano would be complete idiots to pass on Demps. As long as he is not injured. What’s the hold up!

  30. teacherman777 Says:

    I wanted him before the draft. I remember when he said, “I want to focus on the Olympics.”

    Now he’ s free and the Olympucs just ended. Duh!

    Someone will sign him. He is just weighing his option and will choose the team with the best chance for him to make the roster.

    I for one, would love to sign him. 3 rookie backs to mix in with Blount? Damn! Talk about some insurance! And please, never let Preston return another kick. He is not a sprinter. He is quick, not fast.

    An Olympic sprinter returning kicks?

    Sounds good! Plus he is versatile. RB/WR like Dexter McCluster.

    Sad to say it, but we might be saying goodbye to Sammie Stroughter. But Miami or Jacksonville or Carolin would sign him so dont worry.

  31. Greg Says:

    Come on Bucs we need to be the team with the weapons in the SEC oops I mean NFC South for a change.

  32. Hawaiian Buc Says:

    The best part about this is for the first time since I can remember, we may actually have to cut a WR that actually can play in the NFL. Normally we keep a few WR’s that can’t play in the NFL. This is a good problem to have.

  33. aj Says:

    So, if I understand correctly, if Andrew Luck wanted to participate in the Olympics he would have gone undrafted? Or Mark Barron? Or Lavonte David? Look, the guy may turn out to be great, but if any team had him in the top 4 or 5 rounds on their draft board, someone would have taken a flyer on him in the 7th round.

  34. Mike J Says:

    Miguel Grande , in college I drove a used 1964 Impala SS, 327 4 bbl, dual exhaust.
    It moved out pretty well.

  35. Mr Lucky Says:

    With the lack of talent on the Bucs WR and special teams the team would be an idiot to let Demps get away. Demps did well at Florida and if he hadn’t forgone the draft to concentrate on the Olympics he would have been drafted. He’s a fast football player, not a track star wanna be football player.

    Benn needs to be cut, he’s a 2nd round BUST. I said it before the Bucs could have traded Benn to Denver for Tebow but no……

  36. Mr Lucky Says:

    @ Greg – you’re right about Demps being from the same mold as Darren Sproles and Devin Hester.

    After all what good has Benn done anyway?

    Boot Benn and sign Demps

  37. Miguel Grande Says:

    Mike J, you are the man!

    In the 7th round you usually pick some one far away so you can give him a plane ticket. Demps lives local, so the first team he talks to would be the closest.

    They better not delay signing him, he could easily go to Miami, Jax or the ATL.
    He is an out and out baller. If it wasn’t for shared duties with Rainey, he would have got 6,000 yards at Florida.

  38. Schmuckaneer Says:

    Labeling him a “track star” is ignorant. Looks like “Joe” is letting the interns do the writing again. This kid while splitting time, in the SEC, ran for nearly 2500yds, 23 TD’s and career averaged over 6 yds per carry. That’s right “per carry”….unlike the story referring to him as a “receiver” he was a running back. He deserves a shot after being a big play, speedy, agile RB in the toughest Conf in all of college football.

    The funny thing is Joe talking about how 32 teams not drafting him must mean something. Somes like a contrast in feelings that Joe has for an undrafted “Hurdler” whose down belows Joes lips are glued to. 😉

  39. Brandon Says:


    If Andrew Luck wanted to compete in the Olympics it would have made no difference. He didn’t make the Olympic team, Demps did. He won a silver medal. Unlike Luck, Demps had legit Olympic aspirations.

  40. 941Buc Says:

    Demps is a football player, and is a game changer. Sign him!

  41. Jrock Says:

    @AJ – the dude chose not to enter the draft. He was un-draftable. He wanted to be an Olympian, and he did that.

    Now, he wants to play football again, and mark my words – he will do that.

  42. SteveK Says:

    Imagine 3rd down, split backs w Demps and Smith. This is a good thing.

    The returner for the Texans is a former “SEC Track Star”.

  43. Joe Says:


    Labeling him a “track star” is ignorant. Looks like “Joe” is letting the interns do the writing again.

    Let’s do some deductive reasoning, shall we?

    A guy goes undrafted and unsigned, not just by the Bucs, but by all 32 NFL teams. Meanwhile slugs like Jordan Jefferson are signed to NFL contracts.

    Instead of being drafted or signed by an NFL team, Demps qualifies for the Olympics. Only the very cream of the crop have the talent to compete in the Olympics, the best of the very best.

    Yes, Demps is a track star. He’s certainly better at track (clearly) than he is at football.

    The funny thing is Joe talking about how 32 teams not drafting him must mean something.

    Yeah, hell, Joe hates dealing with facts, sucks in fact. In some circles, this is called “evidence.”

  44. Stanglassman Says:

    Mr. Lucky- What did you say you would do for Tebow?

  45. aj Says:

    Roger Staubach, Michael Bates, Randy Matson, Dave Winfield, would you all like me to continue naming guys drafted by NFL teams even though they had no intention to play football that season, or were training for the Olympics?

    Ok, I’ll bite. Ron Brown, Michael Carter, Glenn Davis, Ollie Matson, “Bullet” Bob Hayes, Willie Gault (he even trained with the Olympic squad five years into his career), James Trapp.

    I will say it again. If teams had Demps in the top 100 players on their board, someone would have drafted him, regardless of if he wanted to run in the Olympics. Someone would have taken the chance and tied up his rights. But Demps wasn’t rated that high, in fact most publications predicted he would be an undrafted free agent before he made his Olympic intentions known.

  46. aj Says:

    But then again, I guess I am in good company, if Joe and I are the two ignoramuses in this thread.

  47. Nate Says:

    sign him asap! It cant hurt if anything it will push everyone else.. Its time we start to bring in more speed in WR!

  48. Joe Says:


    I will say it again. If teams had Demps in the top 100 players on their board, someone would have drafted him, regardless of if he wanted to run in the Olympics. Someone would have taken the chance and tied up his rights.

    Thank you.

    Any team could have drafted Demps and it would not have precluded him from his quest for the Olympics.

    No NFL coach is tighter with Demps’ former coach, Urban Meyer, than Bill Belicheat. Surely Belicheat has inside info on all Gators players from Meyer. How come Belicheat hasn’t taken a flyer on Demps?

    Not just NFL teams, but CFL teams haven’t touched Demps. Yet, a CFL team signed Stephen Garcia of all people! (Who was recently replaced on the Montreal roster by Jordan Jefferson if Joe recalls correctly).

    In about two weeks there’s going to be a glut of free agents looking for work, many with respectable resumes in the NFL who just got caught up in a numbers game.

  49. 941-Bucs Says:

    I was listening to 98.7 The Fan radio show and they were talking about him earlier.

    It seems he is not just a track star but a true football player and did extremely well playing special teams (as a return man) in the SEC (which is widely considered to be the most NFL ready conference in college.

    The one thing you can’t teach is speed. I was it may be worth spot 53 on the roster. Who knows, could end up being a great compliment with Mike Smith. That’s a lot of speed right there.

  50. Stranger Says:

    But that’s the thing Joe. What team would draft a player that was giving advance notice that he would miss all otas, training camp and part of the preseason to be apart of the Olympics. I’m also going to guess that if he decides to play football, whether it’s with us or anyone else, he’ll still have to miss part (maybe even most) of the year to get into football shape and learn the offensive system. So, knowing all of that, I’m not surprised that no teams drafted him.

    I will say though that there are other red flags with him, and any hype involving him should be tamed until he makes it on the field.

  51. Oahubuc Says:

    Get this done!

  52. jarrett Says:

    mr lucky nobody wants a terrible qb nobody

  53. Mr Lucky Says:

    @jarrett – sorry buddy but when Tebow is on the field for the Jets he’s their biggest offensive threat. You may not like his mechanics or style, you may not like his message, etc.,

    I like that he knows how to win and inspires and uplifts his fellow teammates to play at a higher level. Can’t say that about Benn or other Bucs…

  54. Mr Lucky Says:

    @AJ – Joe is in the business to ‘create news’ and start ‘what if’s’ in order to get eyeballs to his site, just like Howard Stern says certain contreversial things to get a buzz going.

    What’s your excuse?

  55. Bill Says:

    If a team REALLY wanted him they could have drafted him. They could have gotten him the playbook to study during his downtime from track training. It’s not like he has to sit in his Olympic dorm room and study how to make a relay hand off. I would only sign him if it is a “no risk” contract.

  56. JasonOfthetower Says:

    Joe, no one wanted to waste a draft pick on a guy that didn’t want to be on part of OTA’s or training camp.

    However, Demps had several offers – including one from the Bucs. He came close to signing with Tampa Bay when he didn’t qualify for the Olympics during trials. When a dude got hurt and he got called up (or whatever they call it), he told the Bucs he wanted to focus on his Olympic performance and turned down the contract offer.

    Now that is over, he’s ready to play football. I think the only reason he’s not already a Buccaneer is they’re not the only suitor.

    There’s no such thing as “coming close to signing.” — Joe

  57. aj Says:

    Well, the Cowboys drafted Roger Staubach when he told them he would be going into the army for FOUR YEARS.

    I seem to remember the Bucs drafting a guy who told them he would not be at OTA’s, training camp, actually he said he would never even show up in Tampa. How soon we forget the Bucs spent the first pick of the first round of the NFL Draft on him. And Bill Walsh’s 49ers were offering Ronnie Lott in his prime, a first and a second, plus a package of additional players for him, but the Bucs used their pick on him anyways.

    I gave you an entire list of guys who told teams they would not be there, but teams drafted them anyways. That is what you do for elite talent, and you hope the cards fall the right way for you.

  58. Schmuckaneer Says:

    Joe…Blount also wasn’t drafted. But you can’t keep your lips off of his bozaks. So evidence is a very loose term. Blount is great if anyone said his undrafted status was “evidence” that he didn’t belong they would be an idiot. The Bucs are the only team who wanted him after his issues. Demps just filed papers with the NFL so you don’t who is or isn’t interested. Him making it clear that he wanted to go to the Olympics. His backup with less production was drafted in the 5th. It was clearly Demps interest in the Olympics that led him away from the NFL. Not a lack of NFL interest that led him to the Olympics. You just simply got it wrong this time Joe….it’s OK.

  59. Jimmy Says:

    Hey Schmuck, the Bucs thought so highly of Demps as a football player, they drafted a cripple over him!

  60. Schmuckaneer Says:

    Hey Jimmy…ummm they didn’t draft a cripple, Ya goof.

  61. jglazer Says:

    Joe this guy is a talent. I would be watching my *ss if I was Madu and or smith. This guy is a stud if he can stay healthy. We can use all the speed we can get.

    Coming from Chicago during the 80’s, Willie Gault wasn’t great but he sure help extend Walter Payton’s career. He also won a Super Bowl with the Bears.

  62. The Dutcher Journal (Pete Dutcher) Says:

    The way I heard it is that Demps was considering returning to college so teams did not want to risk a pick on him at the time.

  63. 76buc76 Says:

    The Buc’s have a 1 smurf limit.That’s Micheal Smith right now but if he smurf’s up Demp’s might be a good idea.Let’s take a minute to remember our smurfs of the past…Dexter Jackson,Jaquez Green,Joe Hamilton,Charlie Garner and Warrick(papa smurf)Dunn

  64. Joe Says:

    Demps is a football player who ran track; not a track star who played football. Tha’t a big difference that Joe and all overlooked.

    Just the opposite. Demps is an Olympic track athlete. As high as one can get in the sport of track. In football, Demps will be lucky to make an NFL team. Now that’s a big difference.