Lavonte David heard from other teams in free agency. But the veteran linebacker knew he wanted to return to the Buccaneers, and he knew the Buccaneers wanted him.
David practiced patience, and it worked out.
He is returning to the Buccaneers for a 12th season, with the deal becoming official Thursday.
“I feel like I’ve still got some good football left to play in me,” he said during a news conference. “Hopefully I’m going to finish it out as a Buccaneer.”
David will join Ronde Barber, Derrick Brooks and Paul Gruber as the only players with at least 12 years in the organization. He hopes to one day join them in the Buccaneers Ring of Honor.
“Yeah, it was very important. Obviously it’s been thrown out there that only three guys played 12 plus years in the organization, and I’m glad to be the fourth guy,” David said. “I know Ronde played 16 years; DB played 14; and Paul Gruber played 12 I want to say. So, definitely to be mentioned with those guys is obviously a great deal. For me to be able to come into my 12th season with one organization is very rare, especially in this day and age when everybody is jumping teams, just looking out for themselves I would say. But I feel like once you start somewhere and you want to build a legacy somewhere, when you’ve got a lot of good things going at one organization, why would you want to leave?
“Thankfully, everybody on both sides — my side and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ side — we were able to work things out, and both sides were happy. The main thing is obviously they didn’t want me to go nowhere, and I didn’t want to go nowhere. So that’s the main thing. Definitely appreciate them for that, and definitely happy to be back.”
David ranks third in franchise history for tackles (1,345), fifth in games played (166) and fourth in starts (166).