Not Your Ordinary Joe

July 30 - He was one of Tampa Bay's big free agent acquisitions during the offseason, but wide receiver Joe Jurevicius' presence in the Bucs' offense has been overshadowed by the team's primary receivers -- Keyshawn Johnson and Keenan McCardell. But that's just fine with Jurevicius, who plans on turning in his share of big plays with his 6-foot-5, 230-pound frame.

Tampa Bay wide receiver Joe Jurevicius is the biggest wide receiver on the Bucs' roster, but his presence has been overshawdowed due to the wealth of superstar receivers in Bucs head coach Jon Gruden's offense.

Jurevicius, who played his college ball at Penn State, has the talent to be a No. 2 receiver in the National Football League, but he is a No. 3 in Tampa Bay, which isn't such a bad thing. The fifth-year receiver is, after all, playing behind veteran receivers Keyshawn Johnson (split-end) and Keenan McCardell (flanker).

One reason Jurevicius is content as the No. 3 receiver is because Gruden's offense features plenty of three-receiver sets, which should give Jurevicius his fair share of opportunities this season.

"That's obvious (being the No. 3 receiver)," said Jurevicius. "They must have faith in me or else I wouldn't have made the trip down to Tampa. I'm nothing but excited about my opportunity. If you look out on the practice field, there's balls going all over the place. As a receiver, that just puts a smile on my face."

Jurevicius has the No. 3 receiver slot all but locked up and he apparently doesn't have much of a chance of moving up past Johnson or McCardell, but he has plenty of competition behind him, which keeps him from becoming complacent.

"The competition --everything it brings out is positive," said Jurevicius. "When you work with a bunch of guys that have a different array of abilities, it just makes it that much in-tune to your profession. You take something from each receiver. There is a crowd (at the receiver position), but that's how it is. It's only going to make us better receivers."

Jurevicius had his best season as a pro in 2001, where he started nine games for the New York Giants and hauled in 51 receptions for 706 yards and three touchdowns, all of which were career highs.

While catches, yards and touchdowns could earn him a trip to Honolulu, Hawaii for the Pro Bowl, Jurevicius would rather do his job to the best of his ability and earn a trip to San Diego, California for Super Bowl XXXVII, even if it means catching fewer passes.

"It's not about how many catches I have or Keenan (McCardell) has," said Jurevicus. "It's about winning and I think we're going to see a lot of Ws with the talent we have."

While talent obviously plays an important part in a team's winning formula, Jurevicius, who played in Super Bowl XXXV with the New York Giants, feels comaraderie is just as important to a team's success.

"I think the most important thing is comaraderie," said Jurevicius. "That year we (New York Giants) made the Super Bowl, we were a super-close team. There were a lot of guys that showed companionship. There's a lot to be said about lining up on the football field and looking at the guy next you and really knowing that he's busted his tail as hard as you have and you've been through some things together."

Jurevicius has posted 102 catches for 1,442 yards and five touchdowns during his four-year career, and he plans on adding to those totals this season. The 6-foot-5, 230-pound Jurevicius plans on using his unique frame to help him turn in big plays when his number is called this season.

"I have a job to do and I'm going to do it well," said Jurevicius. "I'm going to get my opportunities and I'll make the most of them."

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All photos are courtesy of Pewter Report director of photography Cliff Welch unless noted otherwise. Click here to visit Welch's web site.

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