Buccaneers head coach Raheem Morris was not concerned with the players that went down with injuries during Thursday's OTA (organized team activity). First-round pick defensive tackle Gerald McCoy (hip), second-round pick wide receiver Arrelious Benn (undisclosed), and cornerback E.J. Biggers (ankle) all were unable to finish practice. Benn and the trainers looked like they were examining his ankle. After practice Morris said the injuries were minor in nature.
"We had a couple tweaks today," said Morris. "(Gerald McCoy) had some kind of mid-body extremity sprain or whatever you want to call it. But I've seen him in the hallway, he is walking around chipper and smiling. Arrelious (Benn) had some kind of lower-leg extremity injury. Some type of strain of something like that, but I saw him in the lunchroom walking around smiling and feeling pretty good about stuff.
"They have a couple of days of rest here so we'll feel pretty good about those guys and what they will be able to do. We got a roll by Biggers at the end of practice with his ankle. We have been very fortunate about injuries. We have been very fortunate about competition. We have been very fortunate about participation around here so hopefully that will continue."
Thursday's OTA practice saw a fight erupt between left tackle Demar Dotson and defensive end James Ruffin. The players were forced to run some punishment laps together by Morris. Overall Morris said he has been pleased with the teams' restraint from getting too heated in practice competition.
"We had a little chippiness," said Morris. "Those guys got a little chippy with each other. They got into it and got it out of their systems and had a little jog together. That always happens a little bit. We have been very fortunate in that too. We haven't had many skirmishes. We have good leadership upfront with Jeff Faine and Ronde Barber participating with some of those guys. We kind of keep our composure a little bit. All that stuff is fun and games, but you want to waste as little time as you can."
MORRIS HOPES TO SEE PENN SOON
Morris also commented on the status of starting left tackle Donald Penn. Earlier in the day the team sent Penn a letter saying they would reduce his 2010 salary by $100,000 if he does not sign his tender contract by June 15th. General manager Mark Dominik is hoping that Penn will sign the tender so the team can avoid fining Penn for missing mandatory workouts like mini-camp practices and training camp.
"It's voluntary work. Me and Donald have constant communication," said Morris. "We know what's going on. Generally Mark (Dominik) handles contract issues or whatever the situation may be. We hope to see him soon and when he gets out here he'll be here. But right now he is opening the door for guys to get reps and that's what you can control.
"I have all the confidence in Mark Dominik and I have all the confidence in the world and Donald Penn that they will get it resolved and I hope to see him soon."
WINSLOW STATUS UNDETERMINED
Morris was unsure when tight end Kellen Winslow would return to the team. Winslow had offseason knee surgery and has been rehabilitating in San Diego. In his first season with the Buccaneers, Winslow re-wrote the Bucs record books for production at tight end with 77 receptions for 884 yards and five touchdowns. Winslow is communicating with the team, but they don't know when he will be back with Tampa Bay.
"Kellen's Lakers are in the playoffs so he is wearing me out. I talk to him a bunch," said Morris. "He's getting back. He's moving fast. He's training. He's doing a bunch of things. He's in constant communication with Todd [Toriscelli], our trainer. He's in constant communication with his coach Alfredo Roberts. We hope to see him soon as well.
"With Kellen you're talking about a proven guy that got here last year and did some special things for us. His whole thing will be about maintenance. Whenever he shows up and gets here and Todd gets a chance to work on him, I'll follow the instructions from Todd the trainer, and how much he should do. You never listen to Kellen, because Kellen is going to be able to do everything if you ask him. We'll find out and we'll do what we think is best for our organization from Todd our trainer."
QUOTE OF THE DAY
Morris discussed a phenomenal catch that rookie wide receiver Mike Williams made in practice on Thursday.
"That was a great catch. You clean some things up with a guy like that. That's where your natural abilities come out. As a coach, your job is to put people in a position to make plays. Once guys get in that position then they make dynamic plays. He is a dynamic guy and he is special because of those things that he can do on the field that you can't coach."
~Wolf Heard contributed to this report.