Tampa Bay restricted free agent middle linebacker Barrett Ruud spoke to the media on Monday about his displeasure with the Buccaneers over extending the contract of fellow restricted free agent Donald Penn. Penn, a left tackle, was signed to a six-year, $43 million deal on Saturday while Ruud is forced to wait his turn.
Restricted free agent Bucs middle linebacker Barrett Ruud successfully dodged the media for two days, but finally publicly addressed the fact that left tackle Donald Penn, a fellow restricted free agent, was signed to a six-year extension worth a reported $43 million on Saturday after holding out during the team's offseason workouts.
“Obviously, I’m very disappointed,” Ruud told the Tampa Tribune. “I’m not real happy about it. I’m very happy for Donald and I’m very happy for Gerald [McCoy]. Very happy for all the guys who signed the last couple of years, but definitely it’s pretty frustrating on my end.”
On Friday, Ruud was openly expressing solidarity with his decision to hold out of training camp.
“I fully support Donald, and hopefully things get worked out," Ruud said. "That’s all I know about that part. … Until you get a decent contract, you kind of think about that every year. For a lot of guys they think about it from the time they are a rookie to the time they do sign a little bit more of a long-term deal. I can’t speak for guys who have had a couple of big contracts, but I think there’s always a lot of pressure on you. This league is so competitive, and it’s usually not a lot of guaranteed money – not like baseball or basketball where everything is guaranteed. I think you’re always under a lot of pressure from everybody to play well.”
But Ruud’s tune clearly changed after Penn’s extension although the signing of Penn to a contact extension won’t prompt the middle linebacker to leave camp and hold out.
“I’m already here now,” Ruud told the Tampa Tribune. “I’m here. I’m working. ... "It’s too late for that. It has worked out like it has so far, which was frustrating for me.”
Ruud, a former second-round pick in 2005, held out of the offseason workouts last year while attempting to get a long-term contract extension before his contract expired in 2010, but did report for training camp and started all 16 games. He signed a one-year tender this past April worth $3.268 million as a restricted free agent because he is only a fifth-year player.
Ruud has recorded 615 tackles (385 solo), five interceptions, four forced fumbles, four fumble recoveries and three sacks in the 79 games (52 starts) he’s played with the Buccaneers.
“You would like your results to speak for themselves,” Ruud said. “I think I’ve done pretty well for 48 games and I’m going to play well for 72 games or whatever it’s going to be. I’m not going to stop playing well until I stop playing. You always want to be rewarded for your performance. That’s the bottom line.”
Ruud wouldn’t say if the Bucs’ decision to extend Penn, but not him, would influence his decision to sign elsewhere in 2011 when he becomes an unrestricted free agent.
“I don’t set any definite rules of any kind,” Ruud said. “As of now, I’m here working. I’m going to do the same thing I’ve always done. I’m going to get a little better every day. I’m going to keep letting my performance talk for me. Whatever happens – happens.”
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