Tampa Bay Buccaneers linebacker Derrick Brooks' mother, Geraldine Mitchell, passed away from a long battle with breast cancer on Monday, May 21.
A 10-time Pro Bowler, Brooks missed Tampa Bay's three voluntary organized team activities this week to be with his family.
The Bucs aren't sure if Brooks will be ready to participate in Tampa Bay's next set of OTAs, which are scheduled for the first week of June.
"All of our hearts and prayers are with him and his family," said Bucs head coach Jon Gruden. "It's very unfortunate. We missed him here today, but we're pulling and praying for him at this time."
Brooks did, however, issue the following statement regarding his mother's passing.
"As many of you are aware, my mother recently lost her long battle with breast cancer. My family and I are truly appreciative of the support and well wishes we have received from my Buccaneer family and the entire Tampa Bay community. As we move forward one day at a time, we ask that you respect our privacy during this difficult time."
Flowers or cards may be sent in care of the funeral home: Joe Morris Funeral Home 701 N De Villiers St. Pensacola, FL 32501
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Derrick Brooks Charities at: Derrick Brooks Charities, Inc. 2915 West Fern St. Tampa, FL 33614
BUCS HOLD OTA AT RAY-JAY The Buccaneers held their third and final organized team activity of the week on Thursday.
Tampa Bay typically holds its OTAs at its headquarters – One Buccaneers Place. However, Bucs head coach Jon Gruden decided to provide a change of scenery for his players by bringing them over to Raymond James Stadium for Thursday’s voluntary workout.
“Wed try to do this every year,” Gruden said of practicing at Ray-Jay. “Not only the rookies, but the free agents that come from other teams. We want to let them see where we play. It breaks up the minority a little bit. I like to get them in a new atmosphere. I thought it worked well today.”
The Bucs do not have any OTAs scheduled for next week and are scheduled to resume their workouts in the first week of June.
BUCS WELCOME SPECIAL GUEST The Buccaneers had a special guest at their OTA at Raymond James Stadium on Thursday.
Florida Gators head coach Urban Meyer attended Thursday’s workout and spent time with Bucs head coach Jon Gruden and Tampa Bay’s coaching staff.
According to Gruden, having Meyer, whose Florida Gators won the national championship last season, at practice was a special treat for the Bucs.
“He’s a great coach and he’s got a great staff,” Gruden said of Meyer. “He came up and sat in on our meetings. He’ll come back to our facility with us and maybe learn a couple of tricks from the Gators.”
GRUDEN DISCUSSES WR BRYANT Just one day after free agent Antonio Bryant’s workout at One Buccaneer Place, Bucs head coach Jon Gruden discussed the possibility of his team signing the wide receiver.
According to Gruden, a signing is not imminent and “there’s no guarantee he’ll be a Buccaneer.”
“He just came in for an interview and a physical,” said Gruden. “We got a little insight into his situation. There’s some speculation out there right now, but he’s a good player and a talented player. He’s a young guy. We’re just looking at everybody’s situation much like every team in the league.”
GROWING PAINS One of the hot topics at One Buccaneer Place this offseason from a media standpoint has been the installation of the shotgun formation in Bucs head coach Jon Gruden’s offense.
Unfortunately for the Bucs, “hot” probably isn’t the word one would use to describe how the installation of this formation has gone for Gruden and Co. thus far.
During Thursday’s OTA at Ray-Jay, the Bucs had two botched shotgun snaps that flew over quarterback Jeff Garcia’s head on consecutive plays.
Gruden was quick to remind people that having the shotgun in his offense doesn’t necessarily translate into perfect execution or more success.
“We had a couple of bad snaps in the shotgun today,” said Gruden. “For all of the people that wanted the shotgun we should send those plays to them.”
Bucs centers John Wade and Dan Buenning both have been limited while their recovery from their respective knee surgeries.
Gruden suggested his players still are attempting to shake off some rust and develop chemistry on the football field.
“We’ve worked on the shotgun every year,” said Gruden. “We have so many different quarterbacks and so many different centers that we’re having a difficult time getting the snap from underneath.”
ADDITIONAL NEWS AND NOTES Bucs centers John Wade and Dan Buenning have been limited in OTAs this offseason. Wade is expected to return to action when the Bucs resume OTAs in two weeks. Buenning is expected to be healthy enough to play on a full-time basis when training camp begins in July.
Tight end T.J. Williams has been very limited in OTAs. He was sidelined for the entire 2006 season due to the Achilles tendon tear he sustained nearly one year ago. The Bucs are hoping Williams will be healthy enough to play in June.
Williams, TE Keith Heinrich, WR Mark Jones Buenning and Wade were limited in – or held out of — Thursday’s OTA.
In addition to Brooks, Tampa Bay left tackle Luke Petitgout missed Thursday’s voluntary OTA. He will be the best man at a wedding this weekend.
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