O.J. Howard wants a taste of what he missed last year

Much has been made of the Buccaneers keeping their Super Bowl-winning band together for another year, but not every player back from last season is looking for a replay of what happened in 2020.

Tight end O.J. Howard saw his season come to an end in Week 4 when he tore his Achilles and he’s closing in on clearance to take part in next week’s mandatory minicamp that will mark the close of the team’s offseason program. From there, Howard hopes to remain healthy enough to experience some of the things he didn’t get a chance to experience a year ago.

“It was awesome. Being a part of a championship was cool and winning a Super Bowl,” Howard said, via Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times. “A lot of guys never get a chance to do it. To be able to do it in your stadium? Obviously, I would’ve loved to have been able to be out there participating. That’s what makes this year sweeter, because for me it’s like I want to get back there for myself and help this team get back. A lot of guys, they played in the game. I didn’t get a chance to. For me, the injury was tough. I got over that. I missed things like celebrating in the locker room after the NFC Championship Game. Stuff like that. Little things like riding the plane home celebrating the NFC Championship. I couldn’t experience that feeling.”

Howard had 11 catches for 146 yards and two touchdowns before his injury and a potent Bucs offense will be even tougher to stop if he can regain his form after the long layoff.