The Tampa Bay Buccaneers conducted their third straight practice at One Buccaneer Place on Friday without linebacker Derrick Brooks, who is nursing a hamstring injury.
A 10-time Pro Bowler, Brooks leads all active NFL players in consecutive games played with 209, including 193 straight starts.
Brooks' streak is in jeopardy due to the hamstring injury he suffered in Sunday's 24-20 loss to the New Orleans Saints.
Bucs head coach Jon Gruden would not rule out the possibility that Brooks still could play vs. the Atlanta Falcons for Tampa Bay's regular season home opener on Sunday.
"No, he did not [practice]," Gruden said of Brooks. "His status still is questionable for the game. We'd like for him to practice, but we've been through this before. He's doing everything he can to get right and get ready to play. We'll make that determination Sunday at the stadium."
Tampa Bay has been working on contingency plans in Brooks' absence, but Gruden would not reveal what the Bucs' plan would be should Brooks not be able to suit up for Sunday's contest at Raymond James Stadium.
"We're going to leave that behind closed doors, no disrespect to anybody," said Gruden. "We do have a couple of things we've rehearsed in practice that if we have to put those wheels into motion we will, but there's still a chance Derrick plays."
The Bucs could opt to move Cato June over from the strongside linebacker spot to the weakside linebacker position to fill in for Brooks, which likely would call for second-year LB Quincy Black to fill in at strongside linebacker. Tampa Bay could also start second-year LB Adam Hayward in place of Brooks.
"It's big," Gruden said of the flexibility the Bucs have at linebacker. "We're going to have to prove we can do that. We're sitting here saying we can do that, but we've never had to do that.
"If we have to play another weakside linebacker, we'll have to prove we can do it. That doesn't mean it will be Cato. It might be somebody else."
In other injury news, Bucs quarterback Jeff Garcia, who has been benched in place of Brian Griese, was limited in practice on Friday.
Gruden suggested there was a chance that Garcia could be the backup signal caller behind Griese for Sunday's game. On Friday, Gruden indicated that Griese and the team had a good week of practice.
"I don't think it's going to be a dramatic change in personality [at quarterback]," said Gruden. "We have some interesting characters, and they're not changing even if Elvis [Presley] came back and played quarterback. These guys ain't changing. We had a great week of practice and it's a credit to all of the guys. They picked it up. They're upset to a degree and they want to play better and they want to win. That's important. Brian had a good week of practice and he has practiced well since he's been back. We're excited by that."
Bucs WR Maurice Stovall was also limited in practice, but Gruden said the team wanted to be careful in terms of having him play with a neck injury. Should Stovall not be able to play, Bucs WR Michael Clayton, who was inactive for the regular season opener, likely would play in his place.