New Bucs starting left tackle Anthony Collins is a very big man who speaks very few words. While former Bucs Pro Bowler Donald Penn would occasionally hold court for the media and gave great one-line quips, don’t expect many – if any – headline quotes from Collins.
And as long as Collins provides an upgrade to the recently released Donald Penn, Bucs fans won’t mind a bit not hearing much from Josh McCown’s blindside protector.
Collins had his game face on all afternoon.
“For what, what do we need to talk about?” Collins said after the press conference to announce the signing of the former Bengals offensive lineman and to introduce new starting quarterback Josh McCown. “I have to protect that man (pointing to McCown) with all my heart. So I will let him call the audibles, I will let him talk. I just need to protect.”
The local media was able to get a few words out of the 6-foot-5, 318-pound tackle following the introductory press conference that took place Thursday afternoon and Collins was asked what the draw to Tampa Bay was.
“A family feeling, a family feeling,” Collins said. “We just signed Mike (former Bengals teammate DE Michael Johnson) and he and I got good together every day, we worked, everyday. And he was able tell me that he was going to Tampa early and he did that yesterday, so I kind of leaned towards Tampa a little bit. Because I know I am going to get better with him every day in practice.
“You have options, you have a lot of options out there. I have a lot of talent and am just wanting to prove it.”
Collins talked more about the respect he has for Smith.
“Well my quarterback (McCown) said it, he gives you a family feeling, he is very upfront, and he is true to you,” Collins said. “First thing he said to me was, ‘I am going to be truthful to you, good, bad, ugly, great, I am going to be truthful to you. Period.”
Being part of building from the ground floor with a new head coach is not some thing that Collins is taking lightly.
“Oh yeah, very responsible, I am the left tackle,” Collins said. “I am responsible for a lot of people’s lives. So I am very responsible. And I am very motivated. When you look at it, it is my first starting year. So I am very motivated and ready to get to work.”
Part of what led Collins to the red and pewter was his relationship with Johnson, who Collins battled in practice while teammates in Cincinnati.
“Oh yeah me and Mike have done battled,” Collins said. “If you want to get the best out of your ability, you are just going to go to work and as you know Mike is very talented. So that just made me better as a person going against him every day when people were missing. It made me a better man. Because we have been going against each other for five years, everyday. We made sure of that and took up the challenge. We have gotten in fights, argued and got better.”
While Collins most likely won’t be a quote machine to the local media covering him, his own family also suffers from his lack of communication at times – with today being a perfect example.
“I haven’t talked to nobody yet,” Collins said. “Nobody. I have a hundred text messages but haven’t talked to nobody. I wanted to take care of business first. My family doesn’t even know. My phone is in the other room. I can’t worry about that right now. I know I just need t take care of business and they will find out later.”
Collins did eventually crack a small smile as the interview went along, particularly when talking about what this moment meant to him.
“It is a blessing you can’t hide it or sugarcoat it, it is a blessing,” Collins said. “You are able to take care of your family and you can go out there and battle everyday, and you have a job everyday to do. It is a blessing.”
Mark Cook currently is the director of editorial content and Bucs beat writer and has written for PewterReport.com since 2011. Cook has followed the Buccaneers since 1977 when he first began watching football with his Dad and is fond of the 1979 Bucs team that came within 10 points of going to a Super Bowl. His favorite Bucs game is still the 1979 divisional playoff win 24-17 over the Eagles. In his spare time Cook enjoys playing guitar, fishing, surfing and family time at the beach. In addition, Cook can be found in front of a television or in Doak Campbell any time the FSU Seminoles are playing. Cook is a native of Pinecrest in Eastern Hillsborough County and has written for numerous publications including the Tampa Tribune, In the Field and Ya'll Magazine. Cook can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
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