Mixed emotions for Bucs on the bubble

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With training camp over for the Bucs, it's a tense time around One Buc Place.

"This is probably one of the saddest times in the NFL", said Bucs wide-receiver Russell Sheppard. "It's hard to walk around here happy and laughing. A lot of guys are going to leave here and go have amazing careers elsewhere. That's kind of the fun thing about this league is that you see other guys' journeys and stories tell themselves as the years go on."

For the two dozen players on the bubble, it's a nervous time, but it's also an exciting time soaking in the NFL experience. This is what these players have worked their whole life for -- a chance to step out onto the NFL stage and shine.

The Bucs sixth-round pick, tight end Danny Vitale, won't forget his first run out of the tunnel at Raymond James Stadium last Friday night.

"It was cool," said Vitale. "It was funny. When the smoke was coming out I couldn't see. I thought. 'I'm going to run into somebody.' I didn't know what was going on."

"When I ran through it, I tried to look at my feet to make sure I was staying straight, so I wouldn't veer off right or left," added Bucs wide-receiver Benard Reedy.

For Reedy, who played at Lakewood High, it's extra special because he's getting to wear the jersey of the team he grew up cheering for.

"I think it hits me every day I wake up," said Reedy. "I thank God that I'm here. I'm blessed and I'm grateful."

With the starters not expected to see anytime in this fourth preseason game, that gives the guys on the 'bubble' a chance for not only extra playing time, but extended playing time. It finally a change to get into a rhythm.

"I think everybody is looking for an opportunity," said Bucs wide receiver Kenny Bell.  "You said it, that's what this week presents. So now it's just go out there and prepare every day for a big game."

"Now that you're kind of getting in that groove, getting to play two to three quarters at least," said Vitale.  "That's definitely going to help a bunch."

"Any chance that I get to play as much as possible will be great," offered Bucs quarterback Ryan Griffin. "I'll just be thankful for whatever I get and I have to make the most of it."

It's one more shot and these young Bucs don't want to let slip through their hands.