BROOKS, RICE RETURN TO PRACTICE:
Buccaneers weakside linebacker Derrick Brooks (personal reasons) and right defensive end Simeon Rice (migraine headache), both of whom missed Wednesday’s practice, returned to action at One Buccaneer Place on Thursday.
The Bucs have three players — DE/DT Ellis Wyms (back), linebacker Shelton Quarles (quad), guard Matt Stinchcomb (chest) — listed as probable for Monday night’s game in St. Louis.
Quarterback Chris Simms, who suffered a bruised left shoulder during the first quarter of last Sunday’s game in New Orleans, is listed as doubtful, but Bucs head coach Jon Gruden said the second-year signal caller is getting better.
“There is a chance, as an emergency quarterback, if he improves,” Gruden said when asked if Simms could actually suit up for the game against the Rams. “But it’s hard to play if you can’t throw. We have Jason Garrett on the roster as a contingency plan, obviously, and we’ll see where Chris is here in a couple days. But he is improving.”
FORMER BUCS SAFETY JACKSON RELEASED BY CARDS:
Former Tampa Bay safety Dexter Jackson, who intercepted Oakland quarterback Rich Gannon two times en route to earning Super Bowl XXXVII MVP honors, was released by the Arizona Cardinals Thursday after spending the entire season on injured reserve with a back injury.
Jackson, who started 31 of the first 56 games he played in as a Buccaneer, notched 195 tackles, four interceptions and 26 passes defensed during his four-year tenure in Tampa Bay before reportedly signing a five-year, $14 million deal with Arizona as a free agent in 2003.
According Tampa Bay head coach Jon Gruden, the Bucs could take a look into Jackson’s situation.
“I don’t want to speculate right now,” said Gruden. “I’m sure everybody in the league will look into his situation. Obviously, we would have an interest in a former player who’s played hard and played well for us.”
Although Gruden seemed interested in Jackson’s availability, the Bucs’ defense currently ranks 4th overall and 3rd against the pass, and the team already appears to be set at the safety position with Dwight Smith, Jermaine Phillips, Will Allen and John Howell under contract.
“Like I said, I don’t want to build speculation or anything like that, but I have a strong amount of respect for him and we’ll see what happens with his situation,” Gruden said of Jackson. “We like our safeties. We like Jermaine Phillips. People in the NFL are taking great notice of Jermaine Phillips and Dwight Smith, two young guys who are doing well for us against the forward pass and playing good defense. Will Allen’s here and John Howell’s also doing, so we have good depth and good players there.”
QUOTE OF THE DAY:
Bucs head coach Jon Gruden on if he’s thinking he’ll get some players back after the bye week:
“I think we have a big wide receiver close to coming back — I can’t remember his name. [Joey] Galloway is making strides — hopefully, hopefully. When they do come back, it will take awhile to get used to seeing them and reacclimate. I’ll have to rearrange some files offensively to utilize their abilities.”
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