It has been more than eleven years since the Tampa Bay Buccaneers last made a post-season appearance in the National Football League. One member of the 2007-2008 Tampa Bay Buccaneers team who ultimately fell to the New York Giants in the NFC Wild Card Round recently sat down with Bucs Nation and the Locked On Bucs Podcast.
Before changing his name to Stylez, he was Greg. Greg White entered the NFL as a seventh-round draft pick of the Houston Texans, but despite a solid showing early-on with the team, it just didn’t pan out.
In 2002, White spent some time with the Buccaneers squad which eventually went on to win the Super Bowl. “That sucked because I was on there for a good, maybe, four to six weeks? And then I got released. They told me they were going to bring me back. Never did.”
Before he landed back on the Bucs’ radar, he would spend time on several other NFL squads and in the Arena Football League with the Orlando Predators where, in 2007, he set an AFL record with 15 sacks.
White’s connection with the Buccaneers persisted during his time with Orlando as he played under current Washington Redskins head coach, Jay Gruden. And while he enjoyed his time in the AFL, he never lost sight of his goals, “It was all a means to get to the NFL.” White said.
Eventually, it paid off and following his record-setting 2007 season in the AFL, White landed and stuck with Tampa Bay for their own 2007 campaign. Believe it or not, he almost didn’t take advantage of the opportunity he’d earned.
“My agent said, he goes: ‘If you don’t take this opportunity....you will always look back at this. You might even regret it.’ And that was the reason why I went. Those words were the only reason I went.”
White also gave credit to Monte Kiffin, recalling the defensive coordinator telling him he promised him an opportunity to make the team and not just come in as a ‘camp body’. Coach Kiffin was true to his word, and White rewarded him for it.
In 2007, the back-up defensive end playing in his first season on an active NFL roster racked up eight sacks and helped the Bucs finish 9-7 on their way to the aforementioned playoff appearance against the New York Giants.
Eventually, White became Stylez and he also became a starter. After it was all said and done, White spent four seasons with the team, had five or more sacks in three of those four years and played on three of the franchise’s last four squads to earn a winning record.
Something White also experienced during his time with Tampa Bay was a coaching change. His first two years were spent under head coach Jon Gruden, and his last two spent under Raheem Morris.
The personalities were different and the hope at the time was the change in culture would lead to improved results. Currently the Buccaneers are undergoing a similar transition where a change in personality and approach will spark growth and more winning than what the team has experienced lately.
“When I was with Gruden, it was fair. These guys that he brought in, it was fair.” White said, “Where I felt like Raheem had favorite players.”
White continued discussing the differences coaching staffs can present by saying, “Not that Derrick Brooks would ever do it. But like say they gave special treatment to Derrick Brooks, right? It’s Derrick Brooks! Who’s going to argue giving special treatment to Derrick Brooks, right? But if you have a younger guy that’s maybe a first or second-round pick and you’re high on, but you let him get away with stuff as if he’s a Derrick Brooks, it sends the wrong message. So, I feel like with Bruce now being there...I feel like the accountability is going to be there.”
At the end of the day, White knows what it takes for a team to make the post-season, and he looks at today’s version of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and feels like they’re close. Leadership is something he emphasized, and it sits well as leadership qualities were features the team looked for heavily in their draft and post-draft additions.
To catch the entire conversation with former Tampa Bay Buccaneers defensive end, and find out more about what he’s up to these days, check out today’s episode of the Locked On Bucs Podcast. Available on all major podcast platforms, including the podcast app, Himalaya.
Come back next week as we look to reminisce a little more about the last time the Bucs were in the playoffs with contributions from Bucs Nation readers and listeners of the Locked On Bucs Podcast with our next Throwback Thursday episode!
If you want to share your own memories and thoughts about the 2007-08 season, do so in the comments, on Twitter or by leaving a voicemail at (813)444-5841.