Carl Nicks says he figured he was on his way out of New Orleans before last season ended, which only added to the All-Pro left guard's motivation.
Nicks says the Saints were not aggressive about signing him to an extension last year, so he figured he'd better put a great season on his resume.
Nicks said he misses his former Saints teammates, who he'll face on Sunday in Tampa Bay. Still, he says he's happier with the Buccaneers, who gave him a five-year, $47 million free-agent contract.
The 6-foot-5, 349-pound, two-time Pro Bowl lineman says he also appreciated the greater leadership role Tampa Bay wanted him to have.
The Saints say losing Nicks was tough, but that former Baltimore All-Pro Ben Grubbs has fit in well at Nicks' old spot.