After Thursday's organized team activity Buccaneer Joey Galloway addressed the media for the first time in some months. Galloway explained the end of his season, and also talked about some of his Buccaneers teammates. The veteran wide receiver spoke about quarterback Jeff Garcia, who is unhappy with the pace of his negotiations for a contract extension. Garcia has mentioned avoiding team activities and possibly retiring.
"We would be disappointed if he's not there, but we would understand if he's not there," said Galloway about his starting quarterback. "As far as changes in the offense we've had to play with two or three quarterbacks per season, so our offense has been faced with that, a situation where you have to adjust to another guy. Now I don't know who will be the second and third guy but whoever it is we will go about our business in the same way that we always have. It is more up to the coaches to adjust to what that quarterback wants to do."
Since Galloway's emergence as the Buccaneers number one wide receiver in 2005, Tampa Bay has been looking for one of the other wide receivers to form an effective tandem with Galloway. Last year, second in touchdown receptions to Galloway was tight end Jerramy Stevens with four. In 2004, wide receiver Michael Clayton had a banner rookie season. Since then Clayton has had more struggles than production. Galloway said if Clayton does not bounce back it would not be due to a lack of effort.
"I don't know. Its always hard for one player to talk about what another player needs to do," said Galloway of Clayton. "I know that he's working extremely hard. I know he's doing everything he can. In my opinion he's working as hard as anybody out here."
Clayton was starting to come on at the end of last season, just as Galloway was cooling off. Galloway indicated that in the Buccaneers loss to the San Francisco 49ers in Week 16, he landed awkwardly while being tackled and tore his labrum and rotator cuff in his shoulder. The next week Galloway sat out the final game of the regular season against the Carolina Panthers. In the playoff game against the Giants, Galloway tried to play through the injury, but was not his normal self.
“I knew it wasn’t going to be good leading up to the game, then it was going to depend on how good it was going to be,” said Galloway. “You come into the game you try to give it everything you have. At the end of the day I think the way you go to bed at night is if you can look back and say ‘I gave it everything I have.’ Whether that was 80 or 70 percent of what I could’ve been as long as I went out there and gave everything that I have to give then I’m okay with that. I’m very disappointed with the way it ended up of course. I gave it what I had but it wasn’t good enough.
“We had to, well, its one of those things when you have a shoulder you go in and try to clean it out. I had some tearing in my labrum and my rotator cuff and they cleaned it out. Hopefully that’s behind me and we’re ready to go this year.”
Galloway also talked about second-round pick Dexter Jackson. The rookie wide out will have a mentor in Galloway. The are both speed players. Jackson will be able to learn from Galloway in a number of ways this season.
“When you’re a young receiver in this offense it’s sort of tough because there is so much mental stuff going on to try and grasp the offense," said Galloway. "Now you can see the athletic ability is there and it will take some time for him to learn this system and once he does I think he’ll be very good.”
Aside from playing receiver Galloway has big expectations from Jackson as a punt returner. Those expectations came with a warning, however.
“That’s tough to say," said Galloway as to whether Jackson would be a good returner. "It is one thing to catch a punt in practice and return it. Then it’s completely different in game time and guys are coming at you. Now we expect him to be very good at that but we’ll see.”
Galloway was also eager to play with new running back Warrick Dunn after many years of playing against each other in the NFC South.
“I am a football fan,” said Galloway. “Anytime that there’s guys that have played as long as he has and accomplished what he has accomplished it always exciting for me number one as a fan to have chance to meet him, play with him, and get in a huddle with him. I think we’re all excited about what he brings and what he adds to the offense also what he brings as far as leadership goes.”
Galloway will turn 37 in November. Not many receivers play at his age, let alone produce as highly as he has in their mid-30's. Galloway became the first Buccaneer to produce three 1,000-yard seasons. Last year, Galloway made 57 receptions for 1,014 yards and six touchdowns. Galloway is fifth in Buccaneer history with 29 total touchdowns, and his 28 touchdown receptions are third in team history. With seven touchdowns in 2008, Galloway will be the team's all-time leader in touchdown receptions. The savvy veteran did not have a reason for his staying power in the NFL, and why he hasn't hit a wall in his production.
"I don't know to be honest with you because I haven't been faced with it yet," said Galloway. "I can't say I avoided it because I don't pay attention to it. The only time my age comes up is when [the media] brings it up. There's a certain amount of aches and pains that go along with playing this many years in the NFL, other than that I don't look at it as I'm trying to accomplish something that's never been done before. I get up and go to work everyday like I always have. As long as I continue to do that then I haven't faced that wall yet, if I do then I'll let you know.
"Number one I've been blessed. I've done a pretty good job of taking care of myself. I work extremely hard in keeping my speed and strength in certain times of year. Right now is where I will hone in on where I want to be when I go to camp, and that's just part of what I do. It's my job and it is what I've always done."
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