Bennett Sidelined With Hamstring Injury
Tampa Bay rookie defensive lineman Charles Bennett, who left practice early Sunday afternoon with a hamstring injury, will miss a significant amount of training camp with the ailment.

“We held Charles Bennett. He’s going to be out for awhile with a hamstring injury,” said Bucs head coach Jon Gruden. “Those hamstrings are obviously different for everybody.”

In addition to Bennett being sideline, the Bucs held wide receiver Joey Galloway and linebackers Derrick Brooks and Shelton Quarles out of Monday morning’s padded practice in an effort to keep those players fresh and healthy.

“It was just to give them a breather,” Gruden said of holding the three players. “They’re not real happy about it, but they’ll be back tomorrow.”

Fiedler On The Mend
Bucs quarterback Jay Fiedler, who began training camp on the physically unable to perform list, appears to be close to working his way back into action.

Fiedler is recovering from shoulder surgery on his throwing arm and has been throwing passes before and after practices. Bucs head coach Jon Gruden suggested Fiedler was close to returning to action.

“Jay Fiedler’s doing better,” said Gruden. “I’m really encouraged with his workout. He’s learning our offense, he’s working hard at it. I’m really pleased with what I’m seeing now. He’s obviously getting closer to making his debut as a Buc.”

Luke McCown, who is recovering from knee surgery, also is improving, but he likely won’t be ready to return to action until sometime during the regular season.

In the meantime, Tim Rattay and rookie Bruce Gradkowski have been receiving plenty of reps behind starter Chris Simms.

“He’s really doing some good things,” Gruden said of Gradkowski, who saw action with the second-team offense on Monday morning. “Once again, I know his mom, I’ve met his sisters, I know his brothers. I don’t want him to get too bigheaded, you know what I mean? He’s got a long way to go. He respects that and he also has shown a lot of promise and I think it’s obvious for everybody who’s been watching.”

Bucs Hold First Special Teams Workout
After conducting a two-hour practice in pads on Monday morning, the Bucs dedicated their afternoon workout to a special teams practice – their first since training camp began.

The special teams practice was held for just over one hour. The Bucs are scheduled to have a two-hour practice in pads on Tuesday morning.

Simeon Sounds Off
Tampa Bay defensive end Simeon Rice, who has notched 67.5 sacks during his five-year career with the Bucs and is just 11.5 quarterback takedowns away from breaking Hall of Famer Lee Roy Selmon’s franchise sack record, offered up some classic answers to the media’s questions on Monday afternoon.

Here are some of the more interesting questions and answers from the interview session with Rice, courtesy of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers public relations staff.

Rice on being just 11.5 sacks away from breaking Lee Roy Selmon’s franchise record:
“You know what, it’s not even about that. For me, I’m the best in the game. They don’t want to respect it. They don’t like it. I’m what they passed the torch to. Camouflage wearing, boxing shoes wearing, throwback jerseys, you know what I mean. My own speak, my own way of doing things. Sometimes I’m right. Sometimes I might be a little wrong. Little off-beat. Sometimes I might get booted out of the Pro Bowl, but I’m what Bruce Smith and Reggie White passed the torch to. I’m the next level. Like it or love it. I’m the bar in this game. I’m what this game’s measured to. Cats around the league, I respect them, they’re great players, but they are not me. Year in, year out, year in, year out, Michael Strahan is a great player. There’s no disrespect to Mike. I got even that much more, I had less respect earlier in my career because I had less respect for this game. But to see him doing it late in his career, and doing what he’s doing, still getting double-digits [sacks], I give him the ultimate, ultimate love. But he’s still not me. He’s still not. Because if you look at what I’ve done in shorter time, year after year, I don’t have four sacks in a year. I’m sure I don’t get the praise and my just due, but if I came out this year and walked away, and I think me and Ira [Kaufman] had that conversation last year. About the pros, where was I standing and this that and the other. Well I made good on my words, I finished with another big year, and that’s what I’m going to do. I am going to do that year, after year, after year until I get done with this game.”

Rice on whether he regrets being late for a team meeting in San Francisco last year, which led to him being benched and sent back to Tampa for that contest:
“I could tell you, yeah, I do, because I missed the game. And that’s the only thing that got me out of my consecutive sack streak. Stuff like that. We were doing it big. And I could have helped us win that game. And I could have helped us win that game, so of course I regret it. But, I mean what are you going to do, that’s me. The schedule changed, I wasn’t aware of it. That’s life, you move on. I’m not about to drag my feet in a bad situation. What makes me is performance. What takes away that glimmer is mistakes some times. And, like I said, that wasn’t lightning striking the middle of the field with a bunch of players on it. That’s a little drizzle. You make it through it and you move on. You can make that more then what it needs to be or you can say that’s my crowning achievement, and I don’t think it has been. I think it’s been much more. My personality, sometimes takes me, because I’m a bit laissez-faire. I’m comfortable in my own skin. I’m comfortable in front of cameras. I’m too comfortable some times, in terms of my mindset. Because I know what I’m about. I know about the late nights. We can talk about a mistake I made, or we can talk about, Sim, man, why do you stay 8, 9:00 almost at the Buccaneers’ stadium, you know, training? Why do you have some of the guys out with you in Arizona training this year? Why do you take on some of the young D-lineman every year and you go out and you help those? That’s what’s about. It’s not about mistakes. It’s mistakes, mistakes. I’m sure you came late at some point in your life. You know what I mean. It’s not about that. But for me, those things stand out. Those linger. I don’t know why they linger. I don’t know why. I don’t care. I’m bigger than that. I don’t care.

Rice on if the Pro Bowl irritates him:
“No, not the Pro Bowl, it’s much bigger than that. You know what irritates me? I’m about to tell you what irritates me. If you’re going to have Defensive Player of the Year awards, and not even mention me, not even a mention, if sacks, fumbles, impact plays in crucial moments, red zone plays, takeaways. There isn’t anybody out there, nobody out there is doing it like that. They might have a little glimmer, they might have a little shine, you know? They might have their day, you know what I mean? But week after week, month after month, you know who’s going to drill the league in the Decembers. You know this. It’s consistency that is what greatness is. Consistency, that’s what makes dynasties. Consistency, that’s how you view great players. That’s how you view great champions, you know? In boxing, in anything, in track, it’s the consistency of it. Anybody can come out and have a little nice shine and get their name yelled on the big microphone, and get on the teletron, or whatever you want to call it, and get a little shine. But year after year, that’s where you get the 21 gun salute. That’s where you go off into the pilgrimage, and you throw the confetti in the air, and you say ‘Wow, we were with a great one at that certain point.’ And that’s where it really lies, you know? I forget where I was going with this. Pro Bowl isn’t even on my mind right now. I’m much bigger than that, man. We are talking [about] bigger things. The Pro Bowl is fun, but I think they can cut that game out. We could look at it like this, I am not the first person that went over there and got loose, and I’m not going to be the last, you know what I mean? People think I have swagger, and people think I have god-like mentality, I mean it is what it is. Everybody thinks I come off with a little too much machismo, but that’s cool. I say things my way, that’s cool. But in this league they say things. This league is so hypocritical. It is what it is. It’s fluffy and smoke and I don’t do that. I give it to you raw and uncut. I give it to you that way. Because that’s the only way I know how to speak. That’s the only way I know how to do this. If I have to do this, I tell people all the time, I’m not favorable towards the camera. I’m not really camera friendly, you know what I mean? I tone it down. I’m not totally street. I tone it down. I’m just telling you I just give it to you the way it is. A lot of cats thought I was the first to go buck wild, but I wasn’t even buck wild [at the Pro Bowl]. I was over there swimming, chilling out. That’s neither here nor there. You have guys that go over to that game, and don’t even play, and come up with these little [injuries]. That game is irrelevant. But I’m talking about bigger and better things. I’m talking about props and all due praise. I’m talking about those types of things. And, to me, that’s the echelon of what I’m talking about. When it’s all said and done, Hall of Fames, All Pros, Defensive MVP’s, things like that. I mean, if you’re going to have to legit [awards], it’s going to be legitimate. You’re going to have to look at performance, and performance is what this game’s about. And like I said, like it or love it, I’m the stepson that got the torch. And I’m going to pass it along to the next group of guys that come behind me and do it real big, and that’s the way the game is. Like it or love it, this is what it is. I’m in front of you.”

Rice, who has recorded 119 career sacks, on whether he is a future Hall of Famer:
“I’m on my way to be the best ever, period. I mean that’s what it is, you know what I mean? We can throw the names in there. Lebron [James], Kobe [Bryant], D-Wade [Dwyane Wade], we can throw all the names in there. It can be arguable. I’m game for that. I’m humble enough to say that. But in the end, I sit on top [in the NFL]. In the end, I sit on top. That’s how I look at it. That’s the way it is. When I talk to one of the best coaches in this game, and I say Rod Marinelli, no disrespect to any [defensive] line coach and any coach I’ve had in the past, but his knowledge is raw and uncut. When he says ‘Simeon, you’re the bar’ then that’s what it is. And he says ‘You have to hold this game to a certain bar, and you have to play a certain way’ then that’s what it is. And for me to go out with the rhythm I do, I understand how hard this game is now. I used to think it was easy. When I came into the league and was Rookie of the Year and all that. I remember I was like ‘I don’t know. This game’s so easy. Maybe I want to play basketball.’ The next thing you know I’m in the CBA, United States Basketball League doing my thing. But even in doing that, treading those grounds on this little tour bus, going to all these little cities, eating McDonald’s everyday I’m realizing ‘You know what, this isn’t my life. I have to get back to the good times, and work hard at what I do, and understand that I built a life crafted on hard work.’ And I got back to that. And I really, really over the years and over the years, and Joe Greene told me early on when I first got into the league, he said ‘Once you show your face, son, that you’re good, you have to be good all the time, and that’s the hardest thing.’ When they know you’re coming, and when they know what to expect, and when they scheme you all week and you’re still hitting them, hitting them, hitting them, it’s all praises due at a certain point in time. And that’s real. But it’s what it is. I’m going to still continue that fight, because that’s my fight.”

Rice, 32, on how much longer he will play in the NFL:
“I don’t know. The only reason I play is because I’m motivated to play, because I feel like I have something to achieve. And like I said, I’m in a good place in my mind, of achievement, of prospering in this game, of gaining titles, and doing things that, like I said, not many players have the opportunity to do. So, as long as I continue with that positive mindset, all players gain.”

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