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July 7, 2011 @ 6:30 am
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Bucs' Opinions Vary On Lockout, Smith And Goodell's Interaction At IMG

Written by Scott
Reynolds
Scott Reynolds

Scott
Reynolds

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Several Bucs players had mixed reactions while seeing NFL commissioner Roger Goodell and NFLPA executive DeMaurice Smith together at the team's unofficial mini-camp before attending the rookie symposium last week at IMG.
Members of the Buccaneers were surprised to not only see NFL Players Association executive director DeMaurice Smith at Tampa Bay’s unofficial mini-camp last week at the IMG Performance Institute in Bradenton, Fla., but also seeing NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell show up as well. Smith was at IMG to oversee the Players Association’s rookie symposium, which was scheduled due to the fact that the league cancelled its own traditional rookie symposium due to the NFL lockout. Goodell received permission from Smith to also speak to the 2011 rookie class at IMG and also stopped by Bucs practice prior to the symposium.

The lockout has been going for over 100 days as both the NFL owners and representatives from the NFLPA work to come to terms on a new collective bargaining agreement, and some Bucs, like defensive tackle Gerald McCoy, were excited to see Goodell and Smith together at IMG.

“I don’t know how my teammates feel about me right now,” McCoy said. “As you guys have seen at the draft, when I saw Goodell I hugged him. Every time I see him from now on I hug him. I was his friend before the lockout and I’m not going to not be his friend because of the lockout.

“With him showing up and he was with De Smith – that’s a good sign. I’m optimistic about that. So when I saw him I gave him a hug. Everybody was like, ‘Really?’ I don’t care. They’ll get over it. We’re still teammates. We’re still family. I’m going to be cool with it regardless. I am feeling very optimistic seeing both of them together.”

Bucs center Jeff Faine, who is also the team’s player representative, had a polar opposite view of McCoy regarding Smith and Goodell both being present in Bradenton at the same time.

“No, I just think they happened to be at the same place at the same time,” said Faine when asked if he viewed both Goodell and Smith being together as a positive. “I think we still have some room to go.

“We’re still together and we’re fighting for what we believe is right. We’re doing all of this out here [at mini-camp] on our own dime. Working out and being away from home, I think this is showing a little bit of sacrifice on trying to get this team better.”

Bucs quarterback Josh Freeman was indifferent regarding seeing Smith and Goodell together.

“I don’t know,” Freeman said. “Nobody really knows. I didn’t see the commissioner. I saw De, but I really don’t know. Obviously, you have to stay hopeful, but at the same time you never really know.”

Once the lockout ends and football resumes, Freeman expects that the players are ready to put any animosity towards Goodell and the owners aside.

“We really are,” Freeman said. “When all this is over we have to get back to football being the main focus. This [mini-camp] is a step towards that.”

The thing that concerns Faine the most as the Bucs’ player representative is how far behind the NFL’s rookie class is without having the benefit of the rookie mini-camp, OTAs (organized team activities) and the mandatory mini-camp over the past two months that would normally help acclimate them to life in the league.

“League-wide the rookies are going to be behind the eight ball,” Faine said. “I can’t even imagine going to training camp without an offseason as a rookie. That’s one of the hardest things and I think it’s a very, very underrated storyline that these guys will have to find their way around the facility. They will literally have to figure out where the cafeteria is. And you can’t forget about trying to strap up and play against guys that have been playing this game for 10 years.”

Faine believes that the more talented and intelligent players will stand the greatest chance of making an impact during their rookie seasons, but that there will be fewer players that burst on the scene like Detroit defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh did a year ago.

“I think there will be some rookie sensations,” Faine said. “I still think there will be some big-time guys. I think it will probably develop a little later than it did last year, but they are definitely behind the eight ball in the learning curve and they are going to have to learn quick.”

One of the players that had an instant impact during his rookie campaign was Tampa Bay wide receiver Mike Williams, who nearly had a 1,000-yard season and set the franchise record with 11 touchdown catches in 2010. Wide receiver is one position that lends itself to having a couple of breakthrough rookies each year. Several rookie receivers have been taking part in their respective unofficial mini-camps across the league this offseason to become familiar with their quarterbacks, routes and playbook.

Because most of the offseason mini-camp and OTA work revolves around the passing game, rookies like Cincinnati’s A.J. Green, Atlanta’s Julio Jones and Washington’s Leonard Hankerson could still thrive even without the benefit of NFL coaching in the offseason as long as they have been able to work out with their new teams and quarterbacks. By scheduling several passing camps in addition to the unofficial mini-camp last week, Freeman has made sure that Williams and Tampa Bay’s other wide receivers have gotten in all the necessary work this spring and summer.

“Our passing game last year was pretty efficient,” Freeman said. “We can improve on a lot of things whether it is third down or completion percentage. You can just keep tuning up with precision and it’s great to have these guys out here and having this whole offseason to work out with them. There are so many discussions we’ve had as far as different plays, different coverages and different looks. I feel like our guys look great – like we haven’t had a lockout.”

Only time will tell if Freeman’s assessment is correct, and that won’t likely happen until Goodell and Smith can end the lockout.
Last modified on Thursday, 07 July 2011 06:33
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COMMENTS

  • avatar


    THIS IS ABOUT MONEY NOT THE FAN'S BAD BAD BAD ON YOU..................P.S. WE PUT FOOD ON YOUR TABLE
  • avatar


    exactly When the owners and players realize that these attorneys are the real problem in getting this thing resolved it will be resolved. As the "real" deadline approaches this could turn into a total nightmare for both the players and the owners if they continue to allow these lawyers to run the show.
  • avatar


    Wow, with the length of these posts I thought the legendary BF47 returned. Horse, it's Lee Roy, not Leroy as Ol Hugh Culverhose would mistakenly call our great DE. Nice story about Ricky Bell. It seems that the players were more accessible back in those days. I was lucky enough to do some work for Lee Roy back then and got to know him a little better. Horse, I'm not a big fan of attorney's either, but to put a Doug Williams type curse on the whole lot to get cancer is a little over the top. I would rather they be stricken with a sense of humor with an uncontrollable urge to do "what's right" instead of wanting to "be right." To be more like you and me.
  • avatar


    Scubog, yes I might have over reacted to attorneys, but it's like they say; "hate them until you need one". The problem is that they have created needs in the idea that you must suit even on everyday accidents or event. I have relatives and friends that are active and non. active The non active themselves are not proud of the profession. Attorney's have brought our country down several notches. There's justice and injustice and most attorneys do not accept justice; just what ever they can do to get their client off; they will even if they don't serve it. Again I would just have 32 owners and 32 players sit down and work it out with a mediator (not an attorney).
  • avatar


    I have support the right way of doing things.When I was into basketball and sports which I was not paid. I try to be honest not try to cut corners. The Big problem that will hurt the NFL or any other sport organization. I really believe that all parties must take a step back to see who they are hurting. I think it is great that the Players union wants more money example for the ones that already have paid their due's. If they get tyoo greedy the entired league may go into non-existence. SO BOTH SIDES MUST RESOLVE THEIR DIFFERENCES. THEY MUST THINK THE ROAD IN TO THE FUTURE 5,10,15 YEARS.Iam 66 this sept. I've seen and knew some players who played Like RB LARRY SMITH from Robinson HS/FLORIDA GAITORS/NFL TEAMS-LA RAMS & WASH. He had a great career ahead of him. Does anybody remember his rookie year the walkway gave way and it cost him at least 5 yrs of an NFL Career. And Don't forget the great RICKY BELL and other players that their careers was cut short one way or another. I know that everyone is a prima donna thru their college teams. But when they entire the NFL everthing change. But I believe that they should get a better sallary all across the board. But I believe that all these rookies should be paid a fair amount to start. Not the 50 millions 6 years. I think after 2-3 years they would be reevalualed. Then if they deserved the money go ahead and reward them. But if a player comes into the league with great numbers in college, But let them deserve the money if they performed. Now the veterans should be paid more than a rookie. Example. Round-1 is a certain amount to be made, Then Round two Then Round three. I also believe that the a player salary should be at the backside of the contact. But befare. I think this salary should be pro-ready Remeber players coming out of college should be paid a certain amount not the big bucks that won't comeinto play until after 2nd full year. The amount that the players receieve are about 200% more than players made in the early 60's. This is only my opion. GO BUCS
  • avatar


    georgehicks, Ricky Bell and I go way back. We both helped a kid that was dying of brain cancer in St. Petersburg. His first name was Simon. We helped this kid until the end of his life. Simon and I along with my kids attendedmany Bucs games. Simon and I got to go into the Bucs dressing room and I still have tha t8mm film. There was Ricky, the great Leroy Selmon and a young Doug Williams who had just broken his jaw and still wanted to play. I loved Simon (a poor black kid from Brooksville no father and a Mom in jail) like he was one of my own. We are a tough group, us Buc fans and players. Go Bucs!
  • avatar


    Okay; First thing? Do some of you actually believe that Goodell has some kind of power over billionaire owners? Second, do some of you actually think that Smith is not making millions over most of these dumb players? Goodell, Smith, and oh yes the very greedy attorneys is what it is all about. I can respect the owners greed; the players greed; the attorneys, I hope they die of the most extreme cancer.
  • avatar


    Horse, excuse me, I meant to say that you attorney's deserve the most extreme painful cancer and the most expensive cost to your low life scum sucking human being existence to ever walk this planet. Our country has fallen because of YOU, atorneys the scum bags of the USA. At most one of you or maybe two ever saw grief pain, suffering, that our Soldiers s, POWs, Wounded ever experienced. Now you low lifes pretend to defend "in the name of justice"? Cowards, that's what most of you are! My experience in the military with you low life attorney's was nothing but acts of a pure and simple "I am a Coward! I so hate attorney's. Spoken by a person who has wasted over a $100,000 dollars talking to these bottom feeders. Defending my children in the name of JUSTICE that you no nothing about. PEWTER REPORT! Stop being like a gossiph news information system. Attorney equal scum'; plain & simple.
  • avatar


    exactly When the owners and players realize that these attorneys are the real problem in getting this thing resolved it will be resolved. As the "real" deadline approaches this could turn into a total nightmare for both the players and the owners if they continue to allow these lawyers run the show.
  • avatar


    wow that was great...I hate goodell.....hes just a shill for the owners.
  • avatar


    Good stuff. Rational thought always trips up the spin meisters.......
  • avatar


    {{This is a rant. If you like Goodell,--or reading--then you should skip this post. Sorry about the length.}} I think Goodell is the worst thing to happen to the NFL--possibly ever--and I don't even blame him for the lockout. He speaks of high character in the NFL; and I support a fair & even handed behavior policy--but then he fines & suspends players (some players, not others), all the while sweeping probably the biggest cheating scandal in the past 20 years under the rug. He talks about expanding the World market of football, and then cancels NFL Europe. He wants more regular season, a shorter preseason, and has no mention of any way to develop the rosters it will take to support such a move—and talks about protecting the health and wellbeing of players in the same breath. He's made the game so lopsided toward the offense that it’s almost insulting to the defense. Not the “illegal” hits--the 5 & 15 yard automatic 1st downs for hand fighting. (Thanks Colts) Teams now routinely throw deep for penalties--and WO's are flopping like it’s the NBA. Does anybody know if the game has ever “evolved” this much in a decade? He fines (arbitrarily) & suspends for concussions. The medical community has very little research and no concise preventative recommendation on concussions. How do you prevent a thing you know almost nothing about? The test is great and the automatic 1 game benching for a player concussed is also overdue. Taking $$ with no discernable scale isn't protecting a player. Worse, when the QB leads a WO into the center of a zone--it’s the defenders fault? The NFL is putting sensors into helmets in 2011 to acquire data on concussions. (Great idea.) The helmet maker Riddell has sole responsibility over the data accumulation. (Horrible idea.) Riddell is a FOR PROFIT company who, with intent, bankrupted a competitor through litigation--a competitor with a better concussive force reducing helmet design. Riddell also routinely demands college players, with a history of concussions, not wear their new concussion force reducing helmet design. (To avoid bad PR if he becomes concussed while wearing it.) So the Goddell plan is to take $$ from players & invest zero $$ or manpower toward a solution and oh by the way, just change the muscle memory you’ve developed through the entirety of your football career and hit people differently. Concussions are rampant in all sports; some more than others. There are far too many stories of high school kids never recovering, or dropping dead on the playing field. If the NFL truly wanted to do some good it certainly has the resources. But they aren’t; just follow the $$. Meanwhile sit back and enjoy the rhetoric. It’s not change for profits sake, it’s for safety; we’re improving the game because we care. Which brings me to the lockout; no Goddell didn’t cause it. But he is a mouth-piece. We now have 300+ young men entering the league without proper conditioning or training; many of whom will be thrown to the wolves—especially the QB’s. Goddell’s, however, is working hard to save the season. He says we’re going to have football—but I have a feeling his definition and mine aren’t the same. What’s the over/under, do you think, on knee injuries this year? High character, honesty, & integrity; look for these qualities in football players—look for them with extreme prejudice—but don’t expect to find them in your commissioner.
  • avatar

    well said sir. Great information on Riddel and the helmet industry.
  • avatar

    nice post. Would make for a good discussion in the forums.
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