It didn't matter to Gaines Adams that none of the Top 5 draft picks had not signed contracts. He was going to be in Orlando on time for training camp, one way or another.
Adams became the first of the Top 5 selections to sign on Thursday, inking a six-year deal with the Bucs and arriving at the team hotel in Celebration at about 1 p.m.
The team did not disclose the terms of the contract, and neither did Adams. In fact, his agent, Fletcher Smith, was under orders not to disclose the terms.
"His family asked me to not talk about the terms, and I'll respect that," Smith said.
But Smith did get an indication from Adams early in negotiations that his top priority was to be in camp on time.
"I wanted to get it done before anyone else (the Top 3 picks) and I wanted to be in camp before anyone else," Adams said. "That's why I'm here."
The Buccaneers now have two draft choices left to sign — OG Arron Sears and S Sabby Piscitelli — as of 1:45 p.m. Thursday. Adams didn't believe that his signing sends them a message.
"I had to do what was best for me," Adams said. "I hope that they'll be here on time."
Smith said the deal wasn't easy to work out, but that he and Adams didn't mind going ahead of the picks ahead of him — Oakland's JaMarcus Russell, Detroit's Calvin Johnson and Cleveland's Joe Thomas.
"We didn't mind being first, as long as we got the deal we wanted, or close to it," Smith said. "If we hadn't gotten it, we would have waited.
"But I feel comfortable that we won't be surpassed by the guy behind us, or trumped by the guy in front of us (Thomas)."
Adams is considered the heir to Simeon Rice's starting position at right end. Rice is in the final year of his contract and is coming off season-ending shoulder surgery in 2006. He's expected to be ready for training camp, and Adams is expected to work behind him in the rotation once practices begin on Friday.
Adams wasn't sure where the Bucs would play him, but Smith believes that will settle itself over the next month.
"Training camp is the time to figure those things out," Smith said.
The importance of training camp apparently isn't lost on Adams, who said he's eager to get on the field and begin proving himself to his teammates, especially the veterans.
"The main reason I wanted to be here on time was to earn the respect of the coaches and the players," Adams said. "I wanted to be here and I wanted to let them know that I'm willing to work hard."
Adams wasn't willing to disclose what he plans to make his first purchase with his signing bonus.
Money's not on my mind right now," Adams. "I'm focused on camp."
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.