TAMPA, Fla. -- When he arrived at training camp, practically no one outside the Tampa Bay Buccaneers organization knew who linebacker Riley Bullough was. After Episode 1 of "Hard Knocks" on Tuesday night, fans are asking for selfies with the undrafted free-agent rookie out of Michigan State.
"I got quite a few texts last night and quite a few new Twitter followers," said Bullough, who said his following grew from 12,200 to 12,600 by Wednesday morning. "It was great."
During a rookie initiation where players must get up and sing in the team's giant auditorium, Bullough stunned everyone when he took the stage in a slicked-back ponytail and belted out an R&B rendition of rapper Fetty Wap's "679."
"I just wanted to put my own spin on it," Bullough said. "I wanted to do a song that everyone would know so that they could sing along and know where I'm coming from. ... Thankfully it turned out good."
He added, "I'm hoping that he DMs me here soon so we can get together."
Jameis Winston grabbed his chest and nearly jumped out of his seat, as if he was about to have a heart attack. Other teammates cheered.
"I was surprised," said running back Doug Martin, who was responsible for getting the struggling performers off the stage. "By the end of it, everyone was cheering because it was so different. He did good. He did good."
Coach Dirk Koetter said, "No one wants to follow that."
Bullough also stood out for his play on the field, despite being the third-team Mike linebacker. Koetter singled him out during a film-study session for his leadership, how he energizes the defense when the energy drops, and how he's more vocal than anyone in the linebacking corps.
"That means that I really, really talk a lot!" Bullough said, laughing. "I really like to just come out here and have a good time, have fun. It's a lot of hard work out here, but if you make it fun, if you're having fun with your teammates, it goes by a lot quicker, so that's what I've been trying to do. ... It helps me and that allows me to help other people."
As far as the "Joe Dirt" nickname that running back Blake Sims gave him -- "I think because I burned him a few times the day before, he got mad at me so he gave me that nickname," Bullough said.
He originally wasn't too thrilled with it, but Bullough said it has grown on him some.
"I went back and looked up 'Joe Dirt' again," Bullough said. "The resemblance is there a little bit, so I can't really blame him."
Martin chimed in: "I think that's an awesome nickname."
Sims, who makes it a point to give all his teammates nicknames, said he'd consider a change, especially upon the discovery of Bullough's vocal talent.
"Riley can sing. He surprised me with that," Sims said. "I might have to give him a different name. It might be 'Triple H' or 'Kid Rock' ... or 'Sunshine.' How 'bout that?'"