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Buccaneers introduce Ndamukong Suh: Notes, highlights

The veteran met with the Tampa Bay media for the first time Friday morning.

NFL: Los Angeles Rams at Detroit Lions Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports

The Buccaneers made a splash last week by signing veteran defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh, who will step in to replace the recently released Gerald McCoy. On Friday morning, Suh took a physical with the team before meeting with members of the media for the first time as a Buc. Here, we have notes and highlights from his media session:

Addition of Todd Bowles helps the Bucs once again

Why would someone who played for a Super Bowl last season come to a franchise that hasn’t made the playoffs since 2007? Apparently for Suh, the biggest reason was new Tampa Bay defensive coordinator Todd Bowles:

This isn’t the first we’ve heard of Bowles being someone that guys want to play for. During free agency, the Bucs added Shaquil Barrett and Deone Bucannon, who can excel in Bowles’ defense. First-round pick Devin White was thrilled to be selected by the Bucs because he knows Bowles’ defense and knows he can shine in it. Existing roster members such as Vernon Hargreaves III will benefit by playing in an attack-mode defense as well.

So, hearing that Suh wanted to play in Bowles’ system is no surprise.

Suh prides himself on playing multiple positions, something that makes him a fit for Tampa Bay’s defense

The Tampa Bay coaching staff has talked at length about the variety of looks the defense will show in 2019. Being able to deliver a variety of looks requires versatility from personnel. The Bucs are working guys at different positions on defense, which is something Suh is plenty good with.

Suh’s ability to play every position on the defensive line makes him a fit in Tampa Bay. That’s part of the reason he makes more sense for the Buccaneer defense than Gerald McCoy did. Yes, money was the big reason for Tampa Bay parting ways with its longtime defensive tackle, but there were also questions about scheme fit with McCoy. He probably would have adapted fine, but the Bucs went out and got a guy in Suh that they know can play in this defense. Getting him for less money was also a plus, of course.

Speaking of McCoy, Suh doesn’t look at himself as a replacement

There was plenty of talk about the ties between Suh and McCoy when the Bucs made this move last week. Suh was selected No. 2 overall in 2010, while McCoy went right after him at No. 3. The two have been linked because of it, which has made for a unique situation in Tampa. Despite that, Suh isn’t looking at the situation as him taking McCoy’s place.

Although a jersey number hasn’t been decided just yet, Suh hopes to wear No. 93

Adding to the awkwardness around the move was the idea of which jersey number Suh would have with the Bucs. Shortly after he signed with the team, the NFL’s official Twitter account released this graphic:

That led to questions about whether or not Suh would be taking the No. 93 that McCoy has worn since he was drafted in 2010. Arguments about the Ring of Honor, legacies and respect have all been thrown around regarding the situation. There’s no official word yet, but Suh is still hoping to wear No. 93, which he wore in college at Nebraska and in the pros with Miami and Los Angeles.

Suh doesn’t let his reputation define him, wants to help the Tampa Bay community

A lot of the backlash surrounding Tampa Bay’s signing of Suh had to do with his reputation around the league as a “dirty player.” Suh has been through his share of issues with dirty plays, penalties and fines. Despite that, he doesn’t want people to judge him based on all of that.

On top of that, Suh is planning on getting involved in the Tampa Bay community. Of course, he has big shoes to fill. McCoy was THE guy as far as work in the community went.

There’s no bad blood between Suh and new teammate Evan Smith

One of the aforementioned dirty plays that Suh was involved in came on Thanksgiving Day in 2011, when he was a member of the Lions. After a play, he stomped on Evan Smith, who was then a member of the Green Bay Packers. He received a suspension and a fine from the NFL. Springing forward to 2019, the two are now teammates. Suh said Friday that there are no issues between the two.

There you have it, Bucs fans. Suh has been officially introduced to the Tampa Bay media, and now it’s time for him to get to work. His first practice with the team will be Tuesday, June 4, when the Bucs get back on the field for mandatory minicamp.