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Tampa Bay wide receiver Joey Galloway, who suffered a torn groin in Week 1 of the 2004 season, participated in his third straight practice at One Buccaneer Place Monday, but he’s still considered questionable for Sunday’s home game against Kansas City.

“I would say he’s very questionable,” Bucs head coach Jon Gruden said of Galloway. “His status is very much in limbo. We’re pleased to have him out here moving around. He’s still somewhat methodical and the chances of him playing in this game are probably very, very questionable.”

According to some of Galloway’s teammates, the speedy receiver looks like he’s ready to return to action on Sundays.

“We’re excited about Joey, but I don’t want him to go out there too fast and tweak it,” said Bucs quarterback Brian Griese. “They’ve being pretty cautious with him, but he looks like he’s running great to me. It’s just a matter of him getting back into football shape.”

Galloway is still experiencing some discomfort in the injured groin area and said he will likely have to play through pain for the rest of the season.

“Overall, I think it’s a six-month thing before it’s back to normal,” Galloway said of the injury. “Up until then I think I’m just going to have to deal with the pain.

“As I run and do things out here it hurts, but I think that’s just going to be part of it. When it’s ready to go — when me and the trainers all decide it’s ready to go — then we’ll be out there full blast.”

Galloway landed in Tampa Bay during the offseason in a trade that sent WR Keyshawn Johnson to Dallas. Needless to say, he is anxious to show the Bucs what they traded for.

“I’ve been working extremely hard and I’m excited to get back,” said Galloway. “Hopefully it happens this Sunday. In not, then hopefully the Sunday after that.”

Quarterback Chris Simms, who suffered a left shoulder sprain on October 10 in a game against the New Orleans Saints, is getting healthier, according to Bucs head coach Jon Gruden.

“On the positive side, he’s able to throw and we think on Wednesday we’ll put him through his first rigorous workout in some time,” Gruden said of Simms. “We’ll get a much more defined picture on where he is at that stage.”

The Bucs currently have four quarterbacks — Brian Griese, Simms, Brad Johnson and Jason Garrett — on their 53-man roster.

Tampa Bay guard Matt O’Dwyer, who was placed on the reserve/physically-unable-to-perform list in September after suffering a pectoral tear during a weight-lifting accident in the summer, is scheduled to return to practice Wednesday.

According to Bucs head coach Jon Gruden, the Bucs will have 21 days to evaluate O’Dwyer’s progress before having to make a decision on him.

“Twenty-one days we get,” Gruden said. “So he’ll be able to return to practice on Wednesday, and we’ll see where he is. But we’ll have 21 days to determine whether or not we’ll activate him or if the injury is one which will put him on injured reserve for the season.”

Part of the reason Tampa Bay is close to getting injured players like wide receivers Joey Galloway and Charles Lee, quarterback Chris Simms and guard Matt O’Dwyer back is because of the team’s bye week, which came and went over the weekend.

Not only could the Bucs get some of their injured players back from the infirmary for Sunday’s game against the Chiefs, but head coach Jon Gruden’s teams have had some well-documented success when coming off of the bye.

In fact, Gruden’s teams are 5-1 when coming off the bye, and his only loss came last season when Tampa Bay lost to Indianapolis in overtime on Monday Night Football, 38-35.

“We’ve played pretty good off the bye,” said Gruden. “I thought we had a really good game, at least we had a good start to the game last year against Indianapolis. Of course, we didn’t finish very well. I think the bye week is what it is. You can use it as an excuse to play bad or a reason to play good. You have to prove that you managed the bye properly to get some men healthy and obviously advance your team a little bit on the upcoming opponent. Hopefully, we’ve done that. We know we’ve got a great challenge coming in here Sunday, a juggernaut on offense and a much improved, confident defense.”

Tampa Bay spent Monday, which is normally a day for game review and rest, practicing at One Buccaneer Place in an effort to get a head start on the 3-4 Kansas City Chiefs, who have scored a whopping 101 points in the process of putting together a two-game winning streak.

Kansas City running back Priest Holmes, who has rushed for 833 yards (4.6 avg.) and scored a total of 14 touchdowns this season, is the main reason why the Chiefs have the No. 1 ranked rushing offense in the NFL. In fact, the Chiefs have the No. 3 ranked offense in the league.

Despite those impressive feats and stats over Kansas City’s past two games, Tampa Bay, which has the NFL’s second ranked defense, is confident in its abilities to slow down the Chiefs’ potent offensive attack.

“You respect, obviously, what Kansas City has done,” said Bucs linebacker Derrick Brooks. “But as always, the issue is about us. We worry about the things that we control, and that’s how we play. We respect what they’ve done, but at the same time, those teams [that lost to Kansas City] are not us. That’s where our focus has been, getting back to the basics of what we do and making sure we operate and execute our offense, our defense and our special teams.”

Bucs head coach Jon Gruden didn’t hesitate to acknowledge what the Chiefs have accomplished over the past two weeks — knocking off 6-2 Atlanta and 4-3 Indianapolis — but he believes Tampa Bay’s defense can earn some much-deserved respect by halting Kansas City’s offense on Sunday.

“I’m going to be very complimentary of Kansas City on offense and what we’ve seen from their football team,” Gruden said. “They were a team that got off to a 1-4 beginning but has really had two great victories back-to-back against good football teams, Atlanta and Indianapolis. I’m also going to be very complimentary and confident in our defense. We don’t feel like we’re chopped liver here. We think that we play pretty good against the run and the pass and we feel like we’ve got a good defensive team with a chance to become great. These are the kind of games that give you a chance to become a great football team yourself, certainly on defense.”

Bucs head coach Jon Gruden on voting for the 2004 presidential election:

“I’ve already voted in absentee. I take pride in the election and the state of our country, and I hope everybody takes the time to vote. I think it’s a great opportunity that we have in this country to vote; that’s just my opinion.”

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