While the 2021 NFL offseason isn’t quite as weird as the 2020 offseason was, things are still fairly different than they would be in a typical year. So, in a way, it makes sense that 29-year-old running back Giovani Bernard is considering himself a rookie as he adjusts to life with the Buccaneers this summer.
Bernard, who signed with Tampa Bay in April after eight seasons in Cincinnati, spoke with the media after the first day of the team’s OTAs on Tuesday and mentioned that given that he is the new guy in town, he’s approaching things like it’s his first year in the league again:
“For me, I do consider myself, in a way, a rookie. Coming here into Tampa, obviously not knowing that many people on the team, just getting accustomed to a new football team. Not even only that, but just with the precautions of COVID and everything, it’s just a little different and just how OTAs are working out this year, it just makes it a little more difficult. So, for me, the more I can be around the players, the more I can be around the staff, the more I can be around the facility, the better I’ll be. I’m just gonna really consider myself a rookie just because, in a way, I am. Just very new, but yet at the end of the day, it’s still football, so the more reps, the more repetitions that I can get with anybody, I’m all for it.”
As Bernard said, getting any amount of reps out at the facility is going to be good thing, but with the first-teamers not attending OTAs, it’s a little tougher for him to adjust to his new squad. Nonetheless, once training camp rolls around, he’ll get those snaps with Tom Brady and the starting offense. He’s likely to have a significant role this fall as the third-down/receiving back, so getting a head start with Tampa Bay’s offense right now is sure to pay off.
And maybe by the time the whole team comes together, Bernard will have grown his glorious mustache back...