Fresh from signing contract extensions with Tampa Bay, Buccaneers right guard Davin Joseph and right tackle Jeremy Trueblood expressed frustration about not being able to practice until August 4 due to a rule in the new collective bargaining agreement.
A quirky rule in the new collective bargaining agreement prevents all free agents – unrestricted, restricted and exclusive rights free agents – from practicing with the teams they sign with until August 4. Even players that re-sign with their own team, such as Tampa Bay right guard Davin Joseph and right tackle Jermey Trueblood, have to wait a full week before they can leave the sidelines and join the action on the field.
A day after officially signing his seven-year, $53-million contract with the Bucs on Friday, Joseph said he was happy to be back in Tampa Bay for the rest of his career, but unhappy that he can't practice for a week.
"I'm happy to have the CBA (collective bargaining agreement) done, it's a 10-year deal," Joseph said. "I have a seven-year deal and I'm looking forward to staying in Tampa the rest of my career, so it's a good feeling. The last two weeks have been very good.
"It's tough watching everybody get out there today and not being able to participate. But I'll be out there in due time. ... It's not okay. Not at all, but it's just the situation. We're able to work out at another facility close by, so we are able to get some work in, but it's just not quite the same."
Joseph indicated he was pleased that so many of his teammates were so outspoken in the media about how the team should re-sign him and that they supported him getting a lucrative new contract.
"We all here have a common respect for each other," Joseph said. "A couple of seasons ago we had a real tough 3-13 season. Coming back and being able to put together a 10-6 season and know that we have a lot of momentum forward. I think we are all becoming fans of each other and knowing that we have that common respect.
"Free agency is a tricky process because you have to do what is best for your family and your situation. It's not always best for what you want and where you want to be. It's a tricky process, but I'm glad it worked out for me.
"I'm 100 percent happy. I couldn't be happier. Everything worked out for me that I wanted in that Jeremy and James [Lee] stayed and now that we have the most awesome O-line coach now [in Pat Morris]. The playbook is still the same with a few tweaks. Having [quarterback Josh] Freeman here – everything is just pointing in the right direction.
Joseph, who has been a starter at right guard since the Bucs made him the team's first-round draft pick in 2006, liked the fact that he can continue to play next to Trueblood, his good friend since their rookie season.
"It was very important," Joseph said. "Just having somebody alongside you that you trust helps you play at a higher level. It's good to have somebody like that and hopefully we'll be able to keep him long-term, too."
Trueblood, who signed a two-year deal, was Tampa Bay's second-round pick in 2006 and is slated to battle Lee for the starting right tackle this year. In 2010, Trueblood suffered a knee injury in Week 7 against St. Louis and ultimately lost his starting job to Lee, who filled in exceptionally well. Due to the new CBA rule about preventing free agents from practicing until August 4, the much anticipated battle at right tackle cannot materialize until after the first week of training camp.
"We are all in the same boat, so when it starts it will be fun," Trueblood said. "I don't understand it, honestly. I mean, I get the drift of why we are doing this, but honestly, I don't think it's fair to either side. We're not out there [helping the team] and then we get to go in after not practicing for a week? It's unfortunate, but it's something were dealt with.
"I know, we have our three top right tackles and our right guard standing on the sidelines right now. All of those other guys are out there working hard and I feel bad for them."
While Trueblood is excited to remain a Buccaneer, he is clearly frustrated about not being able to compete for the starting job until August 4.
"Everyone else is getting the calls and the footwork down," Trueblood said. "The rest of us are watching. All we can do is mentally go through the plays. It's helpful, but muscle memory would be a lot better. Once you are here you are ready to go to work. Davin and I were saying how annoying it is to be right here [on the sidelines] and want to go out there [on the field]. I'm ready to play."
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