LB Lavonte David back for 12th season with Buccaneers

Jenna LineESPN staff writerRead for 2 minutes

Linebacker Lavonte David will return to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on a one-year contract, according to the source.

The deal is worth $7 million with incentives that could push the total value up to $8 million, the source said.

The team’s longest-serving player wanted to stay with Tampa Bay for the duration of his career and hopes to join the Buccaneers Ring of Honor one day.

“It would be incredible,” he said. “As a kid I never really thought about anything like that. Now that it’s possibly a reality. It’s just kind of mind-blowing to stand next to a guy like Derrick Brooks, who you love to look at and kind of idolize, and then round [Barber]who you actually played with.”

David, who has been team captain with the Buccaneers for nine of his eleven seasons, has long been regarded by multiple coaches and front office personnel as the heart and soul of the team and a true throwback player in terms of work ethic and dedication.

He continues to play at a high level despite rarely receiving recognition in the Pro Bowl ballot, though he has been named an All-Pro three times. In 2022, David, who turned 33 in January, returned from a Lisfranc injury to finish with 124 combined tackles (80 solo).

David is the Buccaneers’ best linebacker in coverage, and he still has the speed to track ball carriers and blitz the quarterback, with a career-high 29 sacks.

Overall, his 949 solo tackles are the most of any player in the league since 2012, as are his 18 fumbles. His 143 tackles for a loss ranks fifth in the league since 2012, behind JJ Watt, Aaron Donald, Cameron Jordan and Von Miller.

He and Pro Football Hall of Famer Ray Lewis are the only two players in NFL history to record more than 1,000 tackles, 20 sacks and 10 interceptions during their first eight NFL seasons.

David ranks third in franchise history for tackles (1,345), fifth in games played (166), and fourth in starts (166).

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