Josh Freeman will have tight ends flanking him most of the season -- one new and one returning. Dallas Clark brings his Pro Bowl hands to Tampa with 10 years of experience.
Injuries caused Clark to miss 15 games over the last two years, but he's healthy now and he's happy. Especially since he got his old number back.
"It just feels right," said Clark. "It was one of those things I haven't had to deal with. You have to take care of it. It feels right on."
Injuries also limited Luke Stocker. He's now full speed entering his second year in the NFL. Stocker is looking to step his game, drawing on Dallas for the tricks of the 'tight end trade.'
"A wealth of experience," said Stocker. "He's had so many years. He's been on a Super Bowl teams. Been an all-pro, Pro-Bowl-type guy. So any time he has a comment on anything, you just soak it in and take as much from it as you can."
Tight ends are 'middle of the road' type players. They aren't wide receivers and they aren't offensive lineman, but they do play a combined role. Sometime that can alienate them from the rest of the offense.
"Receivers don't really like us, because we catch too many balls," said Clark. "The O-line doesn't really like us 'cause we get too much attention. We are kind of on an island as it is by just being the tight ends. We have a tight-knit family, so we have to take care of each other. It's a great group."
So far Greg Schiano likes what he sees in Clark. Leadership and still the hands to haul in tough catches.
"I think he looks really good," said Schiano. "I think he's working his tail off and a true professional. So like anybody else, you keep your fingers crossed. It's a violent game, but I'm very pleased he's on our team."
FOX 13 / WTVT-TV
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