This offseason, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers saw a number of reunions — Lovie Smith became the Bucs’ new head coach years after he got his start in the NFL as a member of Tony Dungy’s staff. Former Lakewood High School and Florida Gators wide receiver Louis Murphy signed with the team as a free agent.
And then former USF and Southeast High School star cornerback Mike Jenkins, who became the Bulls’ first-ever first-round draft pick in 2008, signed with the Bucs this offseason to challenge for one of the starting cornerback jobs. Here, Jenkins talks about how much it means to him to be back in the Tampa Bay area surrounded by family and where his football dreams began.
Jenkins spent five seasons with the Cowboys, reaching the Pro Bowl in 2009 and embarking on what appeared to be a promising career in Dallas. He battled injuries though, requiring reconstructive surgery in his shoulder in 2012. The team signed Brandon Carr and drafted Morris Claiborne, demoting Jenkins.
In 2013, he signed with the Raiders, starting 15 games and finishing with 65 combined tackles and two interceptions. In Tampa, he’s competing with Johnthan Banks for a starting cornerback role opposite Alterraun Verner.