Tampa Bay will report to Celebration Hotel for the start of training camp on Friday, but not all of the Bucs players will be there.
Bucs starting quarterback Jeff Garcia has been excused from the first two days of training camp (July 26 and 27) so he can attend a function for his father's former football team.
"The only person that has been excused is Jeff Garcia," said Bucs general manager Bruce Allen. "He's going to be at his father's 35th-year anniversary reunion for his junior college championship, so he'll miss the first two days."
Garcia, 38, made the Pro Bowl in his Buccaneer debut. He and his agent, Steve Baker, have been attempting to get a new deal in place for Garcia, but to no avail.
Towards the end of the 2007 regular season, the Buccaneers told Garcia and Baker they would attempt to sign him to a new contract since he had performed well and missed out on approximately $1 million in incentives due to Tampa Bay's decision to rest him once the team had clinched the NFC South division title.
The Bucs have offered Garcia several contracts this offseason, but the two sides disagree on what the veteran signal caller is worth.
Garcia vented his frustration with his current contract, which has one year remaining on it and is scheduled to pay him $2 million in base salary and has $2.5 million in unlikely to be earned incentives, through the media earlier in the offseason.
Despite being unhappy with his current deal, Garcia participated in all of Tampa Bay's voluntary workouts and the team's mandatory mini-camp.
When asked if any progress had been made in negotiations between the Bucs and Garcia's agent, Allen said:
"I wouldn't try to quantify it or qualify it," said Allen. "The great thing about training camp is a lot of the offseason is behind you. We need to focus on the task at hand, which is getting ready to play football games. We don't have as much time to worry about things that are inconsequential to playing the New Orleans Saints the first game of the season."
Garcia has suggested earlier in the offseason that no new contract could serve as a distraction to him in training camp, but he said holding out was not an option.
With or without a new deal in place, the Bucs believe Garcia will be focused on football when he takes the practice field at Disney's Wide World of Sports complex on July 28.
"We're very confident that this is one of the better competitors in the NFL," said Allen. "Jeff Garcia likes to play football and he's prepared to play football, so we're not concerned about that."
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