TAMPA, Fla. -- The world took a glimpse inside the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' locker room Sunday, witnessing a moment that coach Lovie Smith said was notable for its genuine emotion.
"[What] you saw in that locker room," Smith said Monday, "was real, unscripted."
After a victory in Atlanta, the team posted a video of left guard Logan Mankins presenting the game ball to linebacker Kwon Alexander, two days after the rookie's 17-year-old brother, Broderick Taylor II, was killed in Alabama.
Smith said the moment had significance beyond football.
"When you go through something like Kwon was going through, for him to find out just how much he really means to the group [was important]," Smith said Monday. "And Logan asked me if he could do that. Logan, of course, handed the ball and presented the ball to him, but all of his teammates were feeling for him the entire game. And when I say we have a special group of men, I could go on the rest of the day. We have a special group of men."
In the clip, Mankins approaches Alexander after a short postgame speech by Smith and said to the team, "What this guy here did today, guys, that's something special."
Players clapped as Alexander wept into a towel. Then Mankins continued.
"To play under those circumstances, my hat's off," he said. "And to play the way you did -- two turnovers [forced]. Man, I've got a lot of respect for what you did today."
Soon after, there was more applause, and players consoled Alexander. Quarterback Jameis Winston looked at his young teammate and said, "One team, one heartbeat."
"Sometimes when things are going along," Smith said Monday, "you need to be put in tough situations to see exactly what you have, to see how a football team will respond."