ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. - Only in Tampa Bay will sports fans see a pro-football player catch a ball at an MLB division series game.
Buccaneers tight end O.J. Howard has made some big catches in his athletic career, including three during two national championships playing for the University of Alabama. But O.J. said nothing tops his barehanded squeeze during Game 4 of the ALDS at Tropicana Field.
"Oh yeah, by far," Howard told FOX 13's Kevin O'Donnell. "That was crazy. I would say that beat the state championship in high school right there. The moment was big. That was in the playoffs. Big game, national TV, big catch, everyone saw it."
O.J.'s magical baseball moment was the talk at One Buc Place Wednesday. QB Jameis Winston called the catch "very impressive."
"I tried to tell a guy O.J. was a baseball player, too. They forget that, but that was a great catch," Winston said.
Cam Brate said, "That was awesome. He's been asking for more balls. So it was good to see him get one. That was sweet."
"I was like, 'OK, I'm just checking his fingers,'" smiled coach Bruce Arians. "Everything was OK."
O.J.'s Buccaneer teammates admit they were sleeping during his sensational, one-handed grab, but there were other NFL players, including Kansas City quarterback Patrick Mahomes and Tennessee Titans running back Derrick Henry, whose text messages and tweets were among hundreds sent to O.J about his moment in the spotlight.
"It was crazy," said Howard. "It was one of those things where everyone was watching that game. So they were like that was a pretty cool catch."
In need of a spark this season on the football field, could this get O.J. out of his slump?
"Hey, hopefully so," smiled Howard. "That's what I need, a little boost."