Motivated Mickens: Buccaneers returner staying confident through highs and lows

Sports

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – After their win over the Dallas Cowboys, Bucs Head Coach Bruce Arians said ‘Our special teams won the ball game. There’s no doubt.’

Jaydon Mickens was a big part of that in the return game for Tampa Bay, with 113 yards on five total punt and kick returns. This week he was quick to share the credit.

“The 10 blockers in front of me,” Mickens said about how he was able to rack up those yards. “I had 10 blockers in front of me on (kickoff return and punt return). People can call it how they want to see it. They can say it was the blocking. They can say it was my feet. But it was the 10 guys helping me in the way by getting in the way and allowing me to have lanes to run through full speed.” 

The Bucs wide receiver though, wasn’t actually on the active roster until the day of the Cowboys game.

Following the game, he was reverted back to the practice squad before being signed to the active roster Saturday. And that’s just a small sample size of the activity he’s had on the team’s transactions list.

Since he originally signed with the Bucs to their practice squad in December of 2019, he’s been waived or released three times. And still, none of that has shaken his confidence.

“That’s something I’ve always had,” Mickens said. “I’ve always been 100 miles per hour in everything I do. And it levels-up when someone says I can’t do something. When I ‘can’t do something,’ I’m going to show you that I really can. Because at the end of the day, there’s not anybody out there to stop me but myself. There’s not anybody able to stop us but ourselves. We are the only people that can shoot ourselves in the foot. For me, it’s being from where I came from – growing up, understanding, learning and being knowledgeable. Once I had the knowledge and understanding of the football game and the level it was played at, then you take it to the next level with your talent and your hunger and everything just transpires.”

Mickens, an undrafted player out of Washington in 2016, also said that he tries to instill that confidence in his teammates too– especially the practice squad guys and the ones on the sidelines. He said the mentality of helping each other out and having no egos on the team is what solidifies this group and sets them apart. 

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