TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – The Tampa Bay Buccaneers saw a lot of changes following the 2023 season.
At the end of last season, Tampa Bay saw the end of star quarterback Tom Brady’s reign, which seemed like uncharted territory for the young Bucs on the team and even some veterans.
In 2019, linebacker Devin White joined the Bucs roster. A year later, in 2020, seven-time Super Bowl Champion Brady joined the roster, and sure enough, in 2021, Brady led Tampa Bay to its second Lombardi Trophy right at Raymond James Stadium.
But all good things must come to an end, and following the Bucs’ season-ending playoff game loss to the Dallas Cowboys, Brady announced he was retiring for good, and shortly after, White reportedly requested a trade.
Earlier this year, a few weeks before the NFL Draft, ESPN’s NFL Nation reporter Jenna Laine revealed that two sources said White requested to be traded as he was coming up on his fifth-year option. However, the Bucs did not want to trade the Pro Bowler since he’d been one of Tampa’s key players in recent years.
Now, with the Bucs’ first preseason days away, White opened up about his trade request Monday, saying he “got a little selfish.”
“I just want to be the long-term guy, you know, just want to be a guy like Lavonte [David] – he’s been here forever. I wanted to be that next guy. We just didn’t make it happen when I wanted to, and that’s why I kind of got a little selfish,” White told the media. “Even knowing I still had the fifth-year option, and that was a thing in play.”
After sitting down with Bucs’ head coach Todd Bowles and the team’s General Manager Jason Licht, White said the two have a plan for him, and that’s why he’s here – to focus on the season ahead.
“After really just sitting down with Coach Bowles and Jason Licht, and just understanding their plan for me, what they got in play, just coming up with [those] guys just to see how I can be better moving forward, I think we all came to a good agreement. That’s why I’m here, just focusing on the season now,” White explained.
It’s no secret that White wants to be the long-term guy for the Bucs. Tampa Bay’s football has a history of having long-term players, but at the end of the day, the NFL is a business, and White knows that – but he also knows that he wants to be here – in Florida.
“My first day I came in, I’m the one that led the huddle, like I said, it is business, all business at the end of the day. It’s going to happen, and I hate that it had to happen that way because I love being here. I can’t over-express that enough. Everybody knows, my love for horses, I’ve got a nine-stall barn in Florida, so I want to be here. I want to be established here, but that’s in the past,” White said.
“I’m just trying to be the perfect teammate for my guys. I want to be a captain again, that was one thing that was hard. Sitting out was hard, and I wasn’t really sitting out because I still came in a building, because I want to be here. But at the end of the day, man, that’s over with. I’m on the field going hard, and I’m embraced by all the guys. I’m out there working and making them better and they [are] making me better.”
The inside linebacker was drafted as the No. 5 overall pick in the 2019 NFL draft. He’s started in all 62 games he’s played in for the Buccaneers. In 2020, White was named a second-team All-Pro and helped lead the Bucs to win a Lombardi Trophy in Super Bowl LV.
Over his four-year career, White has recorded 20.5 sacks, 55 quarterback hits, 35 tackles for loss, six forced fumbles, and nine fumble recoveries.