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The Tampa Bay Buccaneers appear to be unphased by the controversial comments made by wide receiver Keenan McCardell on ESPN’s “Monday Night Countdown.”

McCardell, who is holding out for a new contract that would pay him more than the $2.5 million he’s scheduled to earn this season, made it clear that he wanted out of Tampa Bay since the Buccaneers are refusing to give in to his contract demands.

“Trade me or release me,” McCardell said on Monday night. “Yeah, why not? They don’t want me back there, so it’s time to move on.

“These guys don’t want to talk, don’t want to negotiate. If you want to pay me, pay me, but if not, then let’s just move on. The Bucs said they’re ready to move on, and I’m ready to move on, too.”

When asked about McCardell’s comments”, Bucs head coach Jon Gruden didn’t seem to have much of a reaction and suggested McCardell had not burnt too many bridges in Tampa to rule out the Pro Bowl receiver’s return.

“I didn’t see the reports in the news yet but I’m sure I will at some point,” Gruden said after practice. “He has plenty of bridges left in Tampa. We’ve got the Howard Frankland Bridge, we’ve got all kinds of bridges. All bridges are in operation here, man. We’d love to have him back.”

As for McCardell’s threat to sit out the entire 2004 season if he doesn’t receive a new contract, Gruden suggested he’d rather focus on the players he has to work with than the ones that aren’t working out with the team at One Buccaneer Place.

“I don’t have any thoughts,” said Gruden. “I just hope to get him back. His comments stand. He’s made his statements and I understand and appreciate where he’s coming from. At the same time, I have no comment because I’ve got other concerns right now with the players who are in camp.”

Tampa Bay linebacker Derrick Brooks (knee), running back Charlie Garner (groin), linebacker Jeff Gooch (shin splint), guard Matt Stinchcomb (calf) and tackle Kenyatta Walker (knee) practiced Tuesday.

Wide receiver Joey Galloway missed practice for the second straight day with a sore groin, and tackle Derrick Deese (foot) and WR Charles Lee (hamstring) were held out of Tuesday’s workout and probably won’t play against the Dolphins.

Bucs head coach Jon Gruden on what he’s looking for in Saturday night’s game vs. the Dolphins:

“Well, we’re looking to win the game, number one. We want to find a way to win, we’re going to look at a lot of players and we’re playing a good team. Defensively, they’ve been in the top five or 10 in total defense for a long time. Offensively, they’ve got some major changes, obviously, but they’ve still got a good nucleus of players. We want to keep competing. We want to see some guys emerge and make this football team, make our decisions easy.”

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