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By JAMAL THALJI and Times staff reports

© St. Petersburg Times,
published August 11, 2001


One of the traditions of training camp is sharing a room with a teammate. Each day, one Buccaneer is asked to describe his roommate in terms of a popular movie, television or cartoon character. Tailback Aaron Stecker might be behind Pro Bowl runner Warrick Dunn on the depth chart, but he's proud to say he's ahead of the fifth-year back when it comes to height. Stecker says his training camp roommate reminds him of a certain undersized cartoon character.

"I was teasing him the other day, and I called him Papa Smurf," Stecker said. "He turned to me and said, "What are you talking about? You're only 5-10.' I laughed. I said, "But at least I'm not 5-9.' "

FRESH FACES

NAME: David Newman.

HT/WT: 6-6; 245.

COLLEGE: Louisiana Tech.

POSITION: Tight end.

NFL EXPERIENCE: Rookie.

HOMETOWN: St. Joseph, La.

BACK IN THE DAY: Newman breaks into a wide smile every time he thinks about it. Twice during his career at Louisiana Tech, the Bulldogs humbled Alabama (29-28 on Sept. 18, 1999, at Birmingham; 26-20 on Nov. 1, 1997, at Tuscaloosa.) "Oh, man, it's unbelievable," he said. "It's the best feeling you can get in college."

BRUSH WITH GREATNESS: His teammates. Newman's career is just starting, so being in camp has given him his first exposure to celebrities.

TO MAKE THE TEAM: Special teams is how he'll make his mark in camp, and make it onto the final roster. It's not easy for a college standout who never played special teams to learn the ropes as a pro, but he's doing all he can.

WHAT'S HIS TAKE: If the Bucs need another body at quarterback, they could give Newman a shot. He threw for 3,800 career yards and 28 touchdowns at Tensas Academy in St. Joseph. As a freshman, he played quarterback briefly in four games, going 8-for-16 for 84 yards and rushing four times for 25 yards.

QUOTABLE

"It was good for me to know that when I can't get in touch with Mr. Glazer, I can go to someone who knows what he's thinking."

-- TONY DUNGY, coach, on Warren Sapp's assertion that if the team doesn't win the Super Bowl, it's going to be dismantled

PRACTICE SCHEDULE

TODAY: Practice with Dolphins, 9-11 a.m. and 4-6 p.m.

SUNDAY: Practice, 10:30 a.m.-noon.

FIRST PRESEASON GAME: Monday vs. Dolphins, 8 p.m., RJS.

* Practices are free and open to public.

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