If there was a silver lining for undrafted free-agent Parnell Motley, it was the fact he could choose his location from the teams offering him a post-draft offer. Ultimately, he chose to join the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and it looks like he chose wisely.
We’re still a little more than two weeks away from the NFL season kicking off - hopefully - but Motley has wasted no time making a name for himself despite the lack of full coverage and preseason games.
Almost daily, we’re hearing about another Motley interception, with most - if not all - of them coming from the throws of Tom Brady himself. His performance in camp has gained him a lot of attention, and also has people wondering just how he’s handling the success up to this point.
Appearing on the team’s own Salty Dogs Podcast hosted in part by Buccaneers.com Editor and Senior Writer, Scott Smith, Motley was asked about his rise and motivation, responding,
“I’m playing with some big boys now. I told myself I had to toughen up and just (have to) keep going and go get it. But it’s very exciting playing with this great organization, and meeting new people, and bonding with these brothers.”
Certainly Motley chose to sign with a team in the Buccaneers who have surrounded him with talent to learn from and lean on. Carlton Davis III, Jamel Dean, and Sean Murphy-Bunting represent the top-three members of the cornerback room. Ryan Smith has made a name for himself on special teams.
As exciting as being a part of such an up-and-coming unit has to be for the undrafted rookie, it wasn’t just the opportunity to join that group of players that drew Motley to the Bucs. Talking about why he chose Tampa, Motley said,
“...communication was great, and a great atmosphere, and I just loved the things (happening) and going on in Tampa. I feel like, with this young group of guys, this is the best fit for me and my family. Just to grow all together. That’s part of why I came to this organization. I just knew it was going to be fun. Especially with a great guy like Tom Brady leading this team, and I just thought to myself, ‘the sky’s the limit’, when I was coming here.”
Motley certainly seems to be having fun in training camp thus far, but it’s been his hard work which has produced the moments he’s becoming known for. Those moments have led to another, as special teams coordinator Keith Armstrong announced Motley would have a key role come Friday morning, telling media,
“He’s (Motley) going to be the first gunner Friday morning and we’re going to put vice on him. He knows it. Hopefully he can play gunner – he’s got the quickness to do it. He can run, so you love the intangibles and that type of stuff. We’ll see if he can actually get that done. Then we’ll turn him around and put him at the corner on punt return and see if he can hold up. Kickoff coverage wise, he’d probably either be a safety or a two. Then, he’d probably play that tackle on kickoff return and see if he can fit some of those roles.”
Motley expressed excitement for the opportunity on the Salty Dogs Podcast as well, and also talked about the emphasis put on special teams in Norman, Oklahoma where he played collegiality for the Sooners.
Of course, the conversation wasn’t done there, and Motley shared some personal moments with the two hosts as well. Be sure to catch the entire conversation on the Salty Dogs Podcast, and keep checking back here with Bucs Nation as we continue to bring you the latest and greatest from Tampa Bay Buccaneers Training Camp!