Tampa Bay Buccaneers tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins hauled in a huge catch over the middle in traffic during Tuesday’s training camp practice and flashed a big smile. Exactly two months ago today, on the final day of OTAs, he was booted from practice because head coach Dirk Koetter said, “He didn’t know what he was doing.”
The Bucs' starting tight end last year said it was exactly what he needed at the time. “[Coach Koetter] won't settle for me being average or good. He won't even settle for me being great. He wants me to be special,” Seferian-Jenkins said after Tuesday’s practice, the final open practice before the Bucs head to Philadelphia for their first game of the preseason. “I really thank God every single day he kicked me out of practice. It was really a wake-up call.”
While Seferian-Jenkins was all smiles and very chatty after practice, he hasn't been that way all of training camp, and questions lingered about his status with the team. When the Bucs released the first unofficial depth chart of the preseason, it was Cameron Brate, not ASJ, whose name was at the top. The last two practices, Seferian-Jenkins made some noticeable catches in traffic. But he also had a drop in the red zone Tuesday that drew the ire of some fans who, like many, had hoped this could be the tight end's breakout year. He's been on the brink the last two seasons, but injuries, penalties, some technique issues and questionable decisions -- paying homage to Captain Morgan in a touchdown celebration and posting it on Instagram during his rookie season, and arguing with fans on Twitter after he was booted from practice -- have held him back, the story all said.