The Tampa Bay Buccaneers held their fourth and final mandatory mini-camp practice on Thursday at One Buccaneer Place.

Bucs head coach Jon Gruden said he was generally pleased with his team’s effort and performance over the past three days.

“I don’t know what scale I’m rating on, but good, very good,” Gruden said. “A lot of guys have made improvements. Collectively, we’re getting better in all three phases of our football, and I think we’re getting to know each other, and that’s a good sign. And we’re healthy.”

Although One Buccaneer Place will still be open for business, many of the Bucs players and coaches will begin taking vacations until the team reports to training camp on July 28 in Lake Buena Vista. While he’s looking forward to taking his own vacation, Gruden is also excited about the upcoming season.

“We’re looking forward to going out there and playing,” said Gruden. We’ve got a good group of guys, and interesting collection of players. Young, eager and some young, talented eager players, which is something we need here. We’ve got the return of some very prideful veterans.”

CAP CUTS COMING?:
The Bucs have yet to sign one of their 12 draft selections, and while those contracts will likely be inked sometime next month, general manager Bruce Allen still needs to create the salary cap room necessary to sign the rookies.

That money will likely be freed up by releasing some veteran players, with tackle Todd Steussie, who was excused from the three-day mandatory mini-camp, getting cut as early as next week.

“We’re going to release some players next week, maybe,” said Allen.

Running back Charlie Garner is another player who has been rumored to be on the chopping block. He’s still rehabbing his knee, which might suggest that the Bucs are waiting to see where Garner is health-wise when they report to training camp before they make a decision on what to do with him.

“He’s a guy who is a very good player,” said Gruden. “He took a pay cut, by the way… he makes the minimum now. It’s a credit to him in what he wants to do. He wants to continue to keep on playing. He kept his salary all the way down to the stinking league minimum to be here. If he’s ready to go, he’ll be in the mix.

“He looked good bowling yesterday. I’ll make no predictions. He says he feels good and he says he’s on schedule. We’ll find out on July 28.”

Allen has also approached several veterans, including linebacker Derrick Brooks, defensive tackle Anthony McFarland and defensive end Simeon Rice, about the possibility of restructuring their deals, but to no avail. According to Allen, the team has a plan to clear out the cap room necessary to sign their draft picks without having to depend on more players reworking their deals.

“It it’s necessary we’ll address it, but as of right now we have a plan for what we want to do,” said Allen.

Despite the fact that they need to free up about $5 million in order to have the cap room to sign their draft picks, Allen said the Bucs still have their eye on free agents.

“There’s still a couple of players out there,” said Allen. “There’s some other teams out there that will make some roster reductions, and we might have some interest in some of those players. As that develops, we’ll pursue each player we think can help us.”

Tampa Bay currently has 102 players on its offseason roster. The Bucs must trim their roster to 90 before they report to training camp next month.

5TH ANNUAL “BOWL WITH THE PROS” FUNDRAISER TO BE HELD THIS SATURDAY IN TAMPA:
Several former and current Tampa Bay Buccaneers will participate in the 5th Annual “Bowl With The Pros” Fundraiser on Saturday, June 25.

Quarterback Brian Griese, defensive end Ellis Wyms, personnel executive Doug Williams, former tackle Paul Gruber and several sports and television personalities will bowl with over 350 underprivileged youth in the Tampa Bay area from noon to 4:00 p.m. at Regal Bowling Lanes in Tampa.

Celebrity bowling tickets are available for $50, and participants receive a bowling pass, T-shirt, refreshments and a raffle prize ticket.

VIP tickets are also available for $100 and include bowling and the celebrity reception on Friday, June 24 from 7:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. at Yuengling Brewery in Tampa.

Donations can be made payable to NFL Players Association Tampa Bay and can be sent to “Bowl With The Pros” c/o NFLPA P.O. Box 26085, Tampa, FL 33623.

Call 727-821-6323 or click here for more information.

If you liked this story, be sure to get the inside scoop and more detailed information on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ offseason plans regarding roster changes, free agency and the NFL Draft with a Pewter Insider premium subscription.

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