Gaines Adams is getting used to one question as he tools around Tampa these days:
"Are you ready for training camp, Gaines?"
"Most definitely, I'm ready," Adams told the hosts of Sirius' NFL Blitz show on Friday afternoon.
Adams said he was also ready to meet Buccaneers fans on Saturday at a Tampa-area Alltel store from 12-2 p.m. Adams didn't mention which store, but he did say that he and linebacker Derrick Brooks would be there to sign autographs and lend their voices to Alltel users' voice-mail inboxes.
But Adams is eager to get to Orlando for training camp next Thursday. He hasn't signed his contract yet, and didn't mention contract negotiations during the appearance on NFL Blitz. But he did say his enthusiasm for camp has been growing since he began practices with the team in May.
"Watching those guys (Brooks, Simeon Rice, etc…) growing up, and now playing beside them, it's a great feeling," Adams said. "Their enthusiasm rubs off on you immediately. They have so much passion for the game.
"Learning from those guys, it starts there (in training camp). When my name is called I want to be ready."
How often Adams' name will be called in 2007 is up for debate. The No. 4 overall pick is expected to begin training camp as Rice's backup at right end. Rice missed the final eight games of last season due to shoulder surgery, but is healthy and is expected to be ready for camp after not working in team drills during the offseason.
No one is quite sure how much playing time Adams will get. Chicago's Mark Anderson was a rookie last year and excelled as a third-down pass rusher, notching 12 sacks. Adams wasn't sure if that would be his role this season.
"I'm putting in a lot of time learning the (play)book and I eventually want to be an every down back," Adams said. "Having Rice there, that's going to take time. Where I end up is where I end up."
Adams said he's already earned an appreciation for what he'll face on the field this season, thanks to going up against veteran left tackle Luke Petitgout during the offseason.
"Luke he knows the game," Adams said. "That's also what every offensive lineman has. They know their position. They know what the defense will do they're so smart. It takes your second and third move to get around those guys."
Adams also praised head coach Jon Gruden and defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin during the interview, saying that so far everything has fit together well.
"Being in this position with coach Kiffin and the success he's had in this defense, I couldn't be in a better place," Adams said.
Matthew Postins covers the Buccaneers for BucsBlitz.com and the Charlotte Sun-Herald in Port Charlotte, Fla. He is a member of the Pro Football Writers Association. Included among his more than two dozen writing and editing awards are national awards from the PFWA, the National Newspaper Association and the Associated Press Sports Editors, and state awards from the Florida Press Club and the Florida Sports Writers Association, for his coverage of the Buccaneers since 2004.