Matt Ryan: Lavonte David = “Professionalism”

February 8th, 2024

CBS NFL analyst Matt Ryan.

A ton of focus is on Baker Mayfield and his status as he is five weeks from free agency. And for good reason, he’s the quarterback. Without Mayfield, the Bucs may as well just p!ss in the wind for 2024.

Mike Evans, the greatest receiver in Bucs history, is another guy that attracts a lot of focus. What’s the point of signing Evans if the Bucs don’t re-sign Mayfield?

And of course, there is Antoine Winfield Jr., the only member of the Bucs’ secondary to play top shelf ball week in and week out. He could become a free agent, too.

Lavonte David is another critical free agent. He played like he was 23 this season, but he was 33 and is now 34. To suggest David has slipped would be nitpicking in its highest form.

Joe doesn’t believe the Bucs will re-sign Devin White. So without David, the Bucs will be looking at two new starters at inside linebacker to open the 2024 season. (K.J. Britt only started the final six games of this season.)

At the CBS media sesssion at the Super Bowl Media Center at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas, Joe discussed David with someone who gameplanned against him regularly. That would be former Dixie Chicks quarterback Matt Ryan, now a CBS game analyst.

JoeBucsFan: You played against Lavonte David so many times. He’s an old man now at 34. But he still puts up the numbers. Why is he such a problem for offenses?

Matt Ryan: Well, he’s not that old! (Laughs.) I would love to be 34. I think, what he does as a player, he has incredible speed sideline-to-sideline. He has really good instincts whether it is a run game, to go up and fit the run or covering you in the passing game. He has incredible insticts. And he hasn’t lost any of that speed.I think that has been a hallmark of his game for a long time. And he must do an incredible job of taking care of himself, taking care of his body. And he’s been lucky enough to avoid a serious injury. That can sneak up on you. I think it is his professionalism and still maintain the speed that he had. That keeps him going.

Joe thinks Ryan absolutely nailed David with one simple word: professionalism. David is the ultimate professional. He doesn’t play with his mouth or do things to just get the cameras on him.

No matter his coach or the team’s record — he has been on brutal Bucs teams — all David did was keep his yap shut and go ball out. Week after week, year after year. No matter the score. No matter the record.

36 Responses to “Matt Ryan: Lavonte David = “Professionalism””

  1. Erik Hesson | Fine Artist Says:

    LVD is the soul of the defense, and Winfield is the heart.

    Gotta bring both back. Period.

  2. Mort Says:

    Two more years plz.

  3. srqbuc Says:

    future HOFer. needs to paid and be a buc for life.

  4. Winny Testaverde Says:

    Incredibly underrated/under the radar. Back half of his career may have been better than Brooks’ (at the risk of sounding blasphemous). Covered/guarded Kelce in SB 55 as well as anyone ever has perhaps.

  5. Buc4evr Says:

    Need LVD for another year.

  6. Conner50 Says:

    If David will play another two years make it happen, I’ll take one more though

  7. GP Says:

    Snippets of recent interviews lead one to believe that he may be contemplating retirement.
    I hope he can see his way to giving us a couple more years but I, for one, am damn glad we’ve had him on our team as long as we have.
    IOW, please please please stay! We still need you!

  8. elite bucs Says:

    Sad to think about that even if we get one more year out of him, his time in tampa and the NFL are coming to a close.
    I wasnt even in High school yet when he got drafted and now im sitting at my desk blowing off work to be sad thinking about him retiring.

  9. SlyPirate Says:

    We love discussing Evans all time stats but why not LVD? His are arguably just as impressive … if not more so..

    If LVD plays two more seasons. He’ll finish his career:
    Top 3 Tackles. Only London Fletcher and Ray Lewis have more.
    Top 5 Tackles for a Loss. THIS IS HUGE! He’s the only LB on the list. He’d be with Aaron Donald, Julius Peppers, and Demarcus Ware!
    Top 15 Forced Fumbles. The names on this list are all the greats.

    You could not keep LVD out of the HOF with these stats.

    I’d love to see him do it; otherwise, I don’t think he makes it in.

  10. Dave Pear Says:

    Another idiot shows herself.

  11. BucVoyager Says:

    I have doubts that he gets into the HOF. He’s been great for a long time but he doesn’t play in a big market and doesn’t self promote. He’s a clone of Derrick Brooks but doesn’t get nearly the press that he should.

  12. Bucs'n'Bucks Says:

    Sign him to a 2 year deal with the understanding that he “unofficially” retires the second year. Spread the money out. He gets the money he deserves and we get the pleasure of watching him play another year. Win, win, win!

  13. Joe in Michigan Says:

    David has had a great career, I’ll be happy if he decides to play for another year. If he retires, I’ll be happy for him.

  14. Pickgrin Says:

    LD54 is still playing at a very high level.

    I saw zero evidence of ‘lost a step’ or ‘drop off’ in 17 games played last year.

    His stats prove it…

    134 tackles (86 solo) – 15 TFLs – 4.5 sacks – 5 passes defensed – 1 FF in 15 games.

    In the playoff game vs Detroit (which hopefully is NOT his last game ever) – LD54 posted 13 Tackles (9 solo) and 1 Sack.

    This dude is a FOOTBALL PLAYER through and through

    54 deserves a nice raise over the extremely modest contract he signed last year. Make it so Jason Licht.

    Hopefully he plays for 2 more years but we really NEED Lavonte David to play in 2024 to help transition young players like Britt, Sir Dennis and/or a draftee into competent starters….

    PLEASE don’t retire 54. Not yet……

  15. cometowin2 Says:

    Great player and person! Belongs in the ROH and HOF. Underrated his whole career! I also heard when he retires he will start his own ministry. One of my favorite Bucs of all time! Hope he plays one long enough to mentor his replacement.

  16. Old Sombrero Says:

    We definitely need him on the team for a few more years. Great Team Leader and Player.

  17. BucU Says:

    Lavonte is a legend in Tampa just as much as any of the glory day players of 2002.

  18. A Bucs Fan Says:

    Defensive Buc legends include Lee Roy Selmon, DB55, Ronde Barber, Sapp, Lynch and Lavonte David.

    David deserves a ring of honor spot and a gold jacket like all those who played before him! A truly selfless and loyal leader of the Bucs!

    I hope he sticks around Tampa long after he hangs them up. These young kids coming into the league need examples like him.

  19. ATLBUC Says:

    Without Mayfield, the Bucs may as well just p!ss in the wind for 2024.

    Half, or more of the fan base doesn’t believe that. We are supporting Baker because he’s the starter but there’s a QB on the team who is better than him

  20. stpetebucfan Says:

    Great at least we’re not bogging down in the MILLIONS of $$$ chatter.

    It’s down to reality which is PRIORITIES. It’s all a matter of how much these guys cost against the CAP. This has NOTHING TO DO WITH THE GLAZERS BEING CHEAP. They would be happy to spend more than the cap. It has to do with how creative Jason and his guys are at manipulating the cap.

    IMHO here are the real priorities…there are TWO guys the Bucs must keep!!!

    1.) Winfield!!! He’s the best in the entire NFL at his position. A generational talent who is even better than his old man who was super talented himself.
    Winfield can key the Bucs D for ten + more years barring injury.

    1b.) Wirfs!!! He also is the very best at his position in the entire NFL, young and like Winfield can lead the Bucs O for another 10+ years.

    2.) Mayfield…The QB is the straw that stirs the drink. Without a QB the Bucs are in trouble. Perhaps…Trask could work but does anybody want to bet the farm on Trask? Mayfield is a proven winner. Some here like myopic Muncher keep yammering ONE year could be an aberration. Mayfield has now done this TWICE! Led a rotten franchise, the Browns, and the Bucs picked to finish last in their division…BOTH TIMES MUNCHER not only to the playoffs but winning the first round game. It’s literally the OPPOSITE of only doing it one year!

    Unlike Winfield or Wirfs Mayfield is clearly not the best QB in the NFL. But he is good enough to lead the RIGHT team to the promised land. Time to beef up the OL and get another running back. Corum? Mayfield is NOT as essential as Wirfs or Winfield long term however and so he is largely a cap hit consideration. IF he bolts for more money because he can’t survive on the 25 MILLION he already has for a chump change 3 year 25 million a year deal…perhaps it’s time to roll the dice with Trask. I’m not going to feel badly for a guy who turns down 75 mllion to go along with his 25 million AND his 10 million a year in endorsements. Yes he is ENTITLED to grab all he can. I’m entitled to believe if the $$ cloud his vision he’ll regret it.

    ME13 and LVD are two peas in the same pod. Both are veterans getting long in the tooth. BOTH have just completed outstanding seasons proving as of THIS season at least they were nowhere near over the hill. BOTH are Buc institutions who IF they finish in Tampa should surely be in the Ring of Honor. BOTH are legitimate shots for the HOF. They are dopplegangers, one on offense the other on defense. Class acts, great in the community and consummate team players.

    IF it comes down to these two and only ONE can stay, I go with LVD. LB is not a strength of this team and will have to be rebuilt from scratch unless both Britt and Dennis work out. Offense will not easily replace ME13 with an individual player but as a group they can replace his production. CG14 is not that far behind and White out of the backfield, Otton and Durham at TE represent good targets.

    BOTTOM LINE: It’s obvious the Bucs would be a solid team if they keep all five of these guys. If they can’t…so be it. IMHO the players who leave will lose a lot more than we fans. The Bucs can still be a very good team if they keep the two anchors…Wirfs on offense and Winfield on D.

  21. stpetebucfan Says:


    “there is a quarterback on the team who outplayed Baker in training camp”

    That’s just revisionist history!!! How many guys keep coming on here yammering that Joe said that. WRONG. Joe was amazed at how much Trask improved!!! He gave Canales credit. He at one point said Trask was at least challenging for the top spot but the experience factor would lead Bowles to go with Mayfield.

    AGAIN…think about…if you’re going to make stuff up let me join you.

    Apparently Trask sucked so loudly so freaking badly in his first two years that JOE was amazed at his improvement!!! According to no less an expert than Rod he might be a one year wonder. LOL

  22. unbelievable Says:

    He is STILL one of the top 5 linebackers in the game… at age 34.

    Equal, if not better stats, than all his peers like Bobby Wagner, Fred Warner, Luke Kuechley when he was still in the league, etc.

  23. Rusty Shackleford Says:

    If Zach Thomas can get in to the HOF, then so should David.

  24. Clay Says:

    Easy Dave Pear. Don’t kill anyone tonight, ya weirdo.

  25. Darin Says:

    What’s the point of signing Evans if the Bucs don’t re-sign Mayfield? Lmao. Good one

  26. Boss Says:

    LVD is a pro’s pro. I would not mind another year.

  27. BucVoyager Says:

    Lavonte David’s numbers are better than Zack Thomas with less games but we all know it’s a popularity contest.

    It’s shameful that guys like Simeon Rice and maybe Lavonte David get held back because they are not universally liked or didn’t play for NY or Dallas

  28. Jeremy Goins Says:

    stpetebucfan makes a whole lot of sense. I feel like a good blocking tightened could help us out. I am not sold on Rachaad White at all but I feel like if he had a good fullback to run behind out of the hole he could become good. He does have pretty good hands. A good center in the draft could help that run game along also. We really need a pass rush but I feel like Coach Bowles spent most of the last draft on defense. Yaya and Kancey were good picks but I don’t feel like we should spend round 1 and 2 on defense again, our offense needs it more. Go BUCS!!!!!

  29. JimBobBuc Says:

    LVD has shown what a great player he is by his stats, professionalism, and character. He belongs in the HOF – the Bucs PR team and Ira need to get going to share what a great player LVD is now – and will be next year. I hope LVD comes back to work with Britt for another year.

  30. T. McGee Says:

    What?! …. Without Mayfield, the Bucs may as well just p!ss in the wind for 2024.

    Free agency hasn’t even started. There are other quarterbacks that could win here. Who wrote this, Baker’s agent?

  31. Buccos Says:

    Mike Evans is the 33rd highest receiver of all time in yardage. To give you some perspective he is ahead of Devonte Adam’s by almost 1,000 yards and they both entered the NFL in 2014. He is also ahead of Travis Kelce. LVD is CB like Superman out there. He and Evans need to go into the HOF together

  32. Glass Half Full Guy Says:

    LVD isn’t a captain on the defense, he’s the KING! With the likelihood of losing D. White, David’s experience will be even more valuable.

    As for the “chicken and egg” argument about signing ME13 and Mayfield, both would be great but one could argue that signing a capable QB is a higher priority than even a baller like Evans.

    QBs need weapons. Obviously. The argument that ME13 got his 1,000+ yards with lousy QBs is valid HOWEVER 2 things he didn’t get with those guys are very many wins and ZERO trips to the post season.

    I have faith that Licht will do whatever he can to keep not only David, Evans and Mayfield, but also Winfield too.

    Saw a hilarious article a few minutes ago that said the Bears were a “betting favorite” to land Evans if the Bucs don’t keep him. Seriously and it wasn’t even a Chicago publication. Smh

  33. DoooshLaRue Says:

    LVD should be the Buc for life priority.

  34. Rod Munch Says:

    I would have asked Matt Ryan if he plans on getting forehead reduction surgery. It’s only going to get bigger has his hair recedes.

  35. DoooshLaRue Says:

    Looks like he’s consulted the ultimate forehead, Payton Manning, got a referral and I think I see a few sprouts/or stich-ins.

    At least he didn’t go full-on Drew Brees, cause that shite was ridiculous.

  36. David Says:

    I completely understand it’s a business. If those players want to go somewhere they think they can win a Super Bowl before they retire, I get it.
    But…. The BUCS can jump up to Super Bowl contender with just a handful of moves this year and they should do absolutely everything in their power to ensure LVD and ME13 retire Buccaneers.
    I get dumping the old guy and bringing in the new & staying good with the salary cap but there’s something to be said for loyalty that goes both ways and the vast majority of your fan base will appreciate which translates to dollars.