In one corner of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers locker room Monday morning stood Phillip Buchanon, who tried to paint a smile on what has happened to the Bucs once sunny playoff picture.
“We’re mainly upset,” Buchanon said, “not depressed.”
And with that, BOOM, in walked the defensive end formerly known as Gregory Alphonso White Jr., but since Monday morning, will be known as Stylez G. White.
“Stylez is a cool name, don’t ya think?” White asked.
White can light up a room. Occasionally, he can light up a pass rush. He has five sacks this season, though none in Sunday’s overtime loss in Atlanta.
“Maybe Stylez White will get more sacks than Greg White,” White said.
Oh sure, doom and gloom has settled over the Bucs.
Only eight days ago this team was headed toward a division title and a first-round bye in the NFC playoffs, but now, after road losses against the Carolina Panthers and Atlanta Falcons, the Bucs are likely headed to the playoffs as a wild-card team.
The remaining schedule favors the Bucs, who finish with two games in the one place where they are unbeatable this season — Raymond James Stadium. A handful of tiebreakers are also in their favor.
Also, they are playing two West Coast teams with losing records that have to travel cross-country.
While the fan base might find things a bit uneasy these days, the Bucs are relaxed knowing they control their destiny and knowing they have the all-important home field advantage for these next two games.
If that doesn’t take the edge off the current crises, Stylez will.
White bounced into the locker room and handed out copies of the legal document that proclaimed the new him.
It became official earlier in the morning during a hearing at the 13th Judicial Circuit Court in downtown Tampa.
As names go, Greg White was apparently too ordinary. White wants to be remembered for something. People will remember the name “Stylez,” he said.
People will remember you if you did more on the field, he was told by a writer.
Stylez G. White laughed.
He picked the name from one of his favorite movies, “Teen Wolf,” the 1985 Michael J. Fox movie about a teen werewolf that included the character Rupert “Stiles” Stilinski and modernized the spelling.
What? Rupert G. White was taken?
The Bucs sit at 9-5, looking up at the wild-card leaders though very much alive for a playoff berth.
Injuries are becoming an issue. So is the run defense.
The starting quarterback is hobbling with a calf injury.
The defensive coordinator is leaving at the end of the season.
Yet, based on outward appearances, all is calm.
“We still have an opportunity to get to the playoffs,” Buchanon said.
And they now have Stylez G. White.
“Cool name,” White said.