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Tampa Bay Bucs RB Martin Misses Practice, Blount Conceding Nothing to Rookie

TAMPA, FL -  MAY 4: Running back Doug Martin #22 of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers rushes upfield during a rookie practice at the Buccaneers practice facility May 4, 2012 in Tampa, Florida. (Photo by Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images)
Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images
Sigmund BloomNFL Draft Lead WriterMay 15, 2012

Rookie minicamps have come and gone for many teams, so now we find ourselves at the stage of the NFL calendar when rookies begin to practice with their veteran counterparts. Just like us, the players have been anticipating the position battles set in motion during the draft. In Tampa Bay today, one veteran spoke out about his future role while the rookie drafted to take his job sat on the sidelines. 

Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times was at the Buccaneers' first voluntary OTA practice today, but the team's second first-round pick, Boise State RB Doug Martin, was not. According to Stroud, Martin was at another field working through a hamstring strain with a trainer. That left the starter, LeGarrette Blount, who had a rough 2011, as the first-team back today. 

After the practice, Blount expressed extreme confidence in himself, according to Stroud. Among his pronouncements:

- Blount lost between five and 10 pounds in the offseason.

- Blount has been "proving more and more" that he can be an every-down back.

- Tampa drafting a RB "might have been exactly what he needed to become an every-down back."

- Blount sees himself as the starter "until they take it away."

Head coach Greg Schiano was less definitive in his take on the RB competition. Stroud reported that Schiano said it is "way too early" to determine the split in the workload, and touches will have to be earned by "who performs."

No matter how the competition shakes in camp, we can be sure of one thing: LeGarrette Blount will believe he is the starter and an every-down running back right up until the moment Schiano tells him he's the backup.

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