Bucs TE Brate Ready To (Re)Assume Mentor Role

The Bucs’ tight finish room is in a singular spot. O.J. Howard left to signal with Buffalo in free company, whereas Rob Gronkowski continues to be undecided about his future.

That leaves veteran Cameron Brate because the elder statesman of the group. The longtime Buc is joined by Codey McElroy, in addition to rookies Cade Otton, Ko Kieft, J.J. Howland and Ben Beise. This isn’t the primary time Brate has been the oldest man within the room, which he talked about on Tuesday after the crew’s first OTA observe.

“It’s undoubtedly a distinct perspective. , I’ve form of been on this spot earlier than. Earlier than Gronk got here, I used to be the previous man within the tight finish room for a few years,” Brate stated. “Then, Gronk got here and he was like ‘Grandpa Gronk.’ Now, I’m again in that position.”

After all, there’s nonetheless an opportunity “Grandpa Gronk” returns for one more 12 months with Tampa Bay. However within the occasion that he doesn’t, the Bucs should transfer ahead with a younger crop of tight ends — and Brate. Getting into his ninth NFL season, the person who ranks No. 3 on the franchise’s all-time receiving touchdowns checklist should assume an even bigger management position.

Brate, Howland Share Comparable Tales

Constructing relationships with new teammates is a part of the rationale why being current for non-obligatory OTAs is so useful. Brate stated he spoke with Howland, an undrafted free agent out of Yale who made the crew as a tryout participant, on Tuesday. And he’s already thrown some banter the rookie’s approach.

Bucs TE J.J. Howland – Photograph by: Cliff Welch/PR

After studying from the media that Howland wore his No. 84 throughout final week’s tryout, Brate joked that the 2 should focus on the matter. The previous Harvard man additionally made a dig on the rookie’s Ivy League faculty.

“He wore 84? Gonna have to speak to him about that,” Brate stated with fun. “(He) made a pair psychological errors in conferences at this time and I acquired on him about that. , Yale, clearly (a) secondary faculty to Harvard.”

Joking apart, Brate famous how cool of a narrative Howland has. It’s similar to his personal journey to the NFL. Each gamers went from undrafted free brokers out of Ivy League faculties to creating Tampa Bay’s roster by means of tryouts.

“He’s a superb child,” Brate stated. “I’ll be there to mentor him to the very best of my capacity.”

Brate Seems to be For Kieft To Be His ‘Protector’

Brate and Kieft, the crew’s sixth-round decide, are reduce from totally different cloths. The previous has made his cash within the NFL as a pass-catching tight finish, whereas the latter totaled simply 12 catches in 5 years at Minnesota. Kieft is a mauler whose worth clearly comes as a blocking tight finish.

Brate stated Tuesday that Kieft’s angle and ability set may make him a superb complement to the tight finish group. He even likened him to former Bucs teammate Luke Stocker.

“I noticed him at observe at this time and yeah, we’re undoubtedly totally different gamers, me and Ko,” Brate stated. “You possibly can form of inform he’s acquired a bit of edge to him. I actually like having guys like that within the room. Luke Stocker was form of like my protector when it was me and Luke on the sphere collectively again within the day. So, I’m form of hoping Ko is that man for me.”

That intense angle of Kieft’s was already on show through the first day of OTAs. And that gave Brate an opportunity to step in and supply the veteran knowledge and management the newcomers will likely be needing as they transition into the NFL.

“He let a ball get away from him and it seemed like he was simply gonna blow a gasket. I used to be like ‘Hey, Ko, man, it’s the primary observe, all proper? It’s gonna occur,’” Brate stated. “You possibly can inform he loves soccer and he’s undoubtedly gonna be a superb man to have within the locker room.”

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