Retired quarterback Jake Plummer failed to report to Tampa Bay’s mandatory mini-camp this week. But that doesn’t mean the Bucs aren’t going to attempt to get him to return to the football field.
Plummer, 32, was acquired by the Buccaneers in March in a trade with the Denver Broncos. Tampa Bay sent a seventh-round draft pick to Denver in exchange for Plummer’s rights. However, if Plummer plays for the Bucs that pick will be a fourth-rounder instead.
Although he has not reported to Tampa Bay, Plummer’s $5.3 million base salary will remain on the team’s books unless he fails to report to training camp. That scenario would prompt the Bucs to put Plummer on the Did-Not-Report list, which would remove his salary from their cap.
If he does not report to camp with the Bucs on July 26, Plummer, who is under contract through the 2009 season, will also be subject to fines and a grievance that could cost him as much as $7 million in bonuses he received while playing in Denver.
“He’s on our salary cap right now and he missed mini-camp,” Allen said of Plummer. “By contract, there are certain obligations a player has. We’re going to have further talks with him.
“We’ve never really discussed what we do disciplinary-wise publicly. He’s aware of where we stand with that. We hope he reports to training camp.”
There appears to be a slight chance Plummer could actually play for the Bucs this season since he hasn’t officially filed his retirement paperwork with the league office yet.
“We’ve spoken with him recently and will speak with him again,” said Allen. “Without getting into personal conversations, we traded for him with the intent of him playing for the Buccaneers. He knows that. We’ve been very clear in terms of what we seen for him in his future with this team. We just have to see if we have a meeting of the minds.”
And even if Plummer does file his retirement papers, the Bucs must accept them. If they don't, the team can attempt to go after any of the signing bonus money Plummer received in Denver that they are eligible to receive.
“You can’t unilaterally retire as a player in the NFL,” said Allen. “That’s because you have a contract.”
While Tampa Bay would like to have Plummer play for the Buccaneers this season, the team has been quite pleased with competition at that position between Jeff Garcia, Bruce Gradkowski, Luke McCown and Chris Simms.
“We haven’t missed a beat with [Plummer] not here,” said Allen. “The quarterback position as you all know has been very lively. We feel good about the players we have here, so we’re not waiting for anybody. We’re going forward.”
Allen also believes Simms, who has struggled to regain his throwing rhythm due to the Splenectomy he underwent last September, will eventually return to form.
“He’s one of the hardest workers we have here,” Allen said of Simms. “Chris will regain his stroke. He’ll get it back with time. He’s a young man with a bright future.”
BUCS CANCEL AFTERNOON PRACTICE Tampa Bay was scheduled to hold its fourth and final mandatory mini-camp practice at One Buccaneer Place on Thursday morning.
But the practice was cancelled. According to Bucs general manager Bruce Allen, the cancellation was head coach Jon Gruden’s way of thanking his players for their hard work this offseason.
“Coach Gruden, as a reward to our team for their participation this offseason and working with all of the coaches so well, gave the players the day off,” Bucs G.M. Bruce Allen said. “Our true offseason begins this afternoon. The players will be going home. Most of the players on our team do live here. They’ll be in from time to time. We were very pleased with what we were able to accomplish in this part of the offseason.”
BUCS INTERESTED IN SIGNING S DARIUS? Tampa Bay recently inquired about the possibility of signing former Jacksonville Jaguars safety Donovin Darius.
Darius, who turns 32 in August, was recently released by the Jaguars after a nine-year stint with the team.
Bucs general manager Bruce Allen commented on Darius on Thursday, and it does not sound like a signing is imminent.
“We have two veteran safeties coming back,” said Allen. “We feel comfortable with them and we like the additions of the two safeties we drafted. They will be challenging for playing time.
“We’ve checked into Donovan Daruis, but we like where we’re out right now.”
TRADE WINDS BLOWING AROUND ONE BUC PLACE? Tampa Bay’s roster might not be set in stone just yet.
Bucs general manager Bruce Allen suggested some trades could take place around the league between now and the start of the regular season.
One of the teams involved in a trade or two could be the Buccaneers.
“I do think there’s going to be a trade market in the NFL over the next couple of months,” said Allen. “There have been some interesting names floated around. Whether those players are actually traded we’ll have to see. But I think we’ll see some trades in this league.
“We’re listening. If we feel like there’s a player that can come in and help us we’ll absolutely go get him.”
BENNETT HEADED FOR PUP LIST? Bucs general manager Bruce Allen told the media that his team would be in fairly good shape heading into training camp.
However, one player, defensive end Charles Bennett, who missed most of Tampa Bay’s mandatory mini-camp practices with a left knee injury, might not be 100 percent healthy when training camp starts on July 27.
“We have one player who had an injury last week,” said Allen. “Charles Bennett is a candidate for the PUP (Physically Unable to Perform list). Other than that everybody else will be ready to go.”
TAKING CARE OF BUSINESS Not everyone from the Bucs organization will be on vacation between now and July 26, which is when the Buccaneers are scheduled to report to Celebration Hotel for the start of training camp.
Tampa Bay will attempt to sign its 10 picks from the 2007 NFL Draft sometime in July. How difficult will it be for Bucs general manager Bruce Allen to get all 10 of those players under contract in time for the start of training camp?
“I don’t think that will be that difficult,” said Allen. “This is a group of great young men. There’s already been some good work done on some parameters of the contract negotiations.”
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