Former Dunbar receiver Deven Thompkins back in the playoffs with Buccaneers

Author: Zach Oliveri
Published: Updated:

At the start of Tampa Bay Buccaneers practice, you can find Deven Thompkins fielding punts as the second year wide receiver found his role on the team.

“I didn’t get to do too much punt return kick return in college so it was all really new for me,” Thompkins explained. “But especially last year. This year I learned okay these things are very very important in a ball game.”

That’s where Thompkins focused his attention going into the season. A season where he gained confidence and knowledge of the game.

“I know physically I can do everything but just having the mental confidence like the self confidence as well,” Thompkins said.

Thompkins spent most of his rookie season on the Bucs practice squad. Doing whatever he could to make a name for himself and help his team win. And it was only fitting that on his birthday, he got the news he was added to the active roster.

“It was right after practice they asked me to come in and sign it right there on my birthday. Like dang this was the best gift anybody could get,” Thompkins recalled.

“I just understood that whenever I got my opportunity you know I was like let’s make the most of it and let’s not go back down to the practice squad,” Thompkins said.

At Dunbar High School, Thompkins made several highlight worthy touchdown grabs. Those catches all led up to his first career NFL touchdown in Week 4 against the New Orleans Saints.

“I dove and caught the ball,” Thompkins recalled. “Wasn’t sure if I was in at first cause I was a little out. You know when I saw the ref’s hands go up I was like oh I finally got one you know. That was my biggest dream just to even score one touchdown in the NFL. You know I have dreamt of that since I was seven years old.”

From making plays on the field to being a father of two off the field. Deven’s son Messiah, 4, who has down syndrome, lives with him in Tampa.

“Just like how it was in college,” Thompkins said. “You know, it makes it easier for me. You know having at least one of my babies at least makes things more comfortable for me.”

When his daughter Nyomi, 5, visits, she becomes the ultimate fan on game day.

“She’s a part of everything, the first downs, yelling and everything,” Thompkins said.

Thompkins has his family and all of Southwest Florida cheering him on as he an the Bucs are back in the playoffs after winning the NFC South.

“They say like you know God puts a story more beautiful than you can ever imagine that God has for us,” Thompkins explained. “That’s what you know, that’s what it’s been for me. I never expected to come in here first two years and go to the playoffs and win the division.”

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