tampabay.com

Clayton polishing Cadillac

By RICK STROUD
Published May 19, 2005


TAMPA - Receiver Michael Clayton has a new Cadillac in his garage. And in his living room, kitchen and bathroom, for that matter.

The second-year pro is allowing first-round pick Carnell "Cadillac" Williams to stay at his home until the Auburn rookie can put down roots of his own.

"I'm just giving him the ropes, everything I learned my first year," Clayton said. "Just getting in tune with the lifestyle, the grown-up life, paying bills and stuff like that. He'll be living with me until he finds a house and lets a little bit of that rub off on him."

Clayton said he relishes his new leadership role.

"The table turns, and that's just life," Clayton said. "The more young guys we get in, the more experience you have, the more leadership people are going to expect out of you. ...

"For someone like me, you live for those moments. I play my role, I talk to the guys I know I can reach who are on my level and my age. We're still getting mentored by Derrick Brooks and these older guys passing the torch to us. You've just got to be patient."

Clayton said he played against Williams for three seasons at LSU and is familiar with his talent.

"He's going to be a plus to this ballclub," Clayton said. "He's not worried about all the hoopla. He's a humble guy, and I think that's going to be one of the main things that puts him over the top."

AND YOU ARE? Quarterback Brian Griese has to become familiar with more than his new receivers. First, he has to learn the names of his teammates.

"When I came into camp, there were like eight rookies," Griese said. "But when I walked in this morning, there were like 25 new guys. It seemed like we have a whole new arsenal, which is nice because we need help. I'm excited about a lot of these guys. I haven't had a chance to meet all of them ... but they looked like they knew what they were doing."

LINEBACKER SHUFFLE: Bucs linebackers coach Joe Barry planned to ease second-round pick Barrett Ruud into the rotation by having him play strongside linebacker.

After all, he didn't want to dump the responsibility of making defensive calls in the huddle on the Nebraska rookie.

But Barry has changed his mind. Ruud is backing up Shelton Quarles at middle linebacker, Ryan Nece is behind Brooks at weakside linebacker and Marquis Cooper is behind Jeff Gooch at strongside linebacker.

"I love our starters," Barry said. "But we've got three really good players behind them."

SUPER NEWS: General manager Bruce Allen says he continues to be optimistic about Tampa Bay being awarded the 2009 Super Bowl at the NFL owner's meeting in Washington this month.

"We have a fantastic facility. We have everything in the market that the other teams don't have that are presenting. We've always had a favorable Super Bowl here, under some duress. The Buffalo Bills-Giants (game), the Gulf War was going on and the way it was handled, the way it was managed was fantastic and the league was, as an entity, quite proud how it was presented. So we have a great history and fantastic assets."