By Michael Compton
Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ first-round draft pick Mike Evans, a wide receiver out of Texas A&M, is preparing for training camp by working out in Miami, Fla., with a group of players that includes Chicago Bears receiver Brandon Marshall.
“Physically, I'm not in tip-top shape. I'm getting back into my game shape," Evans told the Tampa Bay Tribune. "As far as injury-wise, I feel good. I've been running, and I feel 100 percent."
Forced to miss the Bucs’ first month of practice in May when he injured a hamstring on the first day of voluntary mini-camp, Evans returned in a limited capacity for mandatory mini-camp in June and expects to be ready when training camp gets underway at One Buc Place in Tampa July 25.
Evans indicated his focus over the next couple of weeks is to drop “7 to 10” more pounds with a playing weight in the fall of around 230 pounds. While at Texas A&M, Evans’ playing weight was 235 pounds.
"I've got to lose more weight. I'm too heavy right now," Evans said. "But the workouts I've been doing, I'll be fine. I'll be ready."
Evans is back in Florida after attending the NFL’s rookie symposium in June in Ohio where his roommate was fellow Bucs rookie, tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins, a second-round pick from Washington.
Much is expected from both players in their initial season. Both Evans and Seferian-Jenkins are being counted on to make immediate impacts, providing quarterback Josh McCown big targets downfield.
“He said he feels like he’s in the best shape of his life,” Evans said of Seferian-Jenkins. “He has a lot of energy and works hard.”
In making the transition to the NFL, Evans said he is looking to experienced team leaders for guidance. It appears there are plenty to choose from on this year’s Buccaneers squad.
“We have a lot of leaders,” Evans said, singling out Josh McCown, Vincent Jackson, Doug Martin, Anthony Collins and Evan Dietrich-Smith on offense, and Alterraun Verner, Dashon Goldson and Gerald McCoy on defense. "I'm real excited because we have great leaders and a great work ethic. They make the younger guys want to work even harder."
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