With Torrin Tucker ailing from a knee injury that has kept him sidelined for several weeks, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers continued their search for a backup offensive tackle Thursday when they brought in former Oakland Raider Lincoln Kennedy for a work out.
Kennedy, 35, has started 141 of the 169 games he's played in since entering the NFL out of Washington in 1993 as a first-round pick with the Atlanta Falcons.
After spending three seasons in Atlanta, Kennedy was traded to the Oakland Raiders in 1996. The 6-foot-6, 335-pound Kennedy earned two trips to the Pro Bowl (2001 and 2002) during his seven-year tenure with the Raiders.
Kennedy only missed three starts under Bucs head coach Jon Gruden, who coached the two-time Pro Bowler in Oakland from 1998-2001.
Kennedy also worked with Bucs general manager Bruce Allen, who worked as a senior assistant with the Raiders before becoming the Bucs' general manager in 2004, which was the same year Kennedy opted to retire from the NFL to pursue a studio analyst position with the NFL Network.
Although Tampa Bay is in need of a reserve offensive tackle, Kennedy apparently initiated the conversations with the Bucs and asked to audition for the team at their new facility.
"He's a friend of mine and he called and wanted us to work him out, and that's what we're doing," Gruden said of Kennedy. "I take care of friends. That's the nice thing to do.
"He's over there working out. He's going to work out. The line coaches will work him out and I'll watch the tape of him later. I'm not going to raise a lot of speculation at this time. He's a going who would like to get back in the game. He called and wanted us to work him out and take a look at him and that's what we're doing."
Tampa Bay worked out two free agent tackles - Todd Wade and Jacob Rogers - last week as the team ended training camp, but neither player was signed. Gruden stopped short of suggesting the Bucs would offer Kennedy a contract.
However, with Tucker sidelined for several weeks and out for Saturday night's game in Jacksonville, and second-year T Chris Colmer on injured reserve with a career-threatening shoulder condition, Gruden took the opportunity to let the rest of the league know that the Bucs are in the market for a free agent tackle.
"I don't want to speculate on all that until I get a chance to see how the tape looks and things of that nature," Gruden said of Kennedy possibly signing with the Bucs. "This kind of came as a surprise to me, honestly. We take everything seriously when players call, especially players that call that have played very good in the league. I'm not going to raise any speculation other than that we're looking at the player.
"Obviously with Chris Colmer and Torrin's status what it is, we worked out a couple of guys last week and everybody has our phone number and knows that we would be interested in looking into any tackle situation given our present injury situation," said Gruden.
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