For the first time in four days, veteran left tackle Luke Petitgout suited up with the Bucs during Saturday morning’s practice. Petitgout was limited to doing some warm-ups and then became a spectator for the rest of practice. He didn’t participate in any 11-on-11 drills and had no contact during practice.
Petitgout was signed during the offseason to a three-year, $15 million contract as a free agent. Petitgout played eight seasons with the New York Giants, but missed six games last season after being placed on injured reserve with a fractured fibula. In 2003, Petitgout missed six games with an injured back and has struggled with his back during training camp.
Head coach Jon Gruden didn’t hesitate when asked if Petitgout will be held to limited contact for the remainder of training camp.
“No, when he goes there will be contact,” Gruden said. “You can’t limit contact with a tackle, you can limit contact with a quarterback or kicker, but not with a left tackle. He’ll be involved in contact drills. Today he got back in with individual portion of practice and the group type things and he’ll get into the full team stuff tomorrow.”
The absence of Petitgout has moved Anthony Davis, who was projected to battle for the left guard position, back to left tackle where he started last season. It also has allowed Donald Penn to get an extreme amount of reps at left tackle and Gruden has taken notice of the performance of the Utah State alum.
“Donald Penn has done a good job for us,” Gruden said after Friday’s practice. “Anthony Davis is still a guy who has played a lot of football at left tackle.”
FAMILY DAY FOR PLAYERS AND COACHES When head coach Jon Gruden took over the Bucs in 2002, he implemented a Family Day during training camp and created a tradition that has been enjoyed by the players and coaches during Gruden’s tenure. Saturday morning’s practice was held in front of packed stands and sidelines, with many of the players’ wives and children in attendance.
After practice had been concluded, players such as Mike Alstott, Ike Hilliard and Michael Clayton could be seen walking hand-in-hand with their children, pushing strollers or tossing the football around. The smiles on the players faces showed the joy of having their loved ones in attendance for a day at training camp.
“We bring the families in after a week of training camp, and I think it’s a good thing,” Gruden said. “The guys do need to get mentally rejuvenated and reacquainted with their families. It’s good to see the turnout that we have today, wives and kids. It’s a great affair. We’ve got a great group of guys who are working extremely hard, and they deserve a night off with their loved ones.”
Gruden, however, has figured out who is married or engaged and who’s trying to pull a fast one over on the head coach.
“Some of our players are claiming to be engaged,” Gruden said. “They’re trying to get a night off tonight, but that won’t happen.”
GRUDEN SHOWING HIS SKILLS Jon Gruden played a little cornerback during passing drills in the end zone and gave the crowd a little stir when he lined up across from wide receiver Joey Galloway. Gruden followed Galloway into the end zone and was able to intercept a pass from Jeff Garcia. In unusual Gruden fashion, after catching the interception he turned around and heaved the ball into the crowd.
Gruden’s skills at the cornerback position drew some loud cheers from the fans in attendance.
“It was a great play, obviously,” Gruden said. “I was out there by myself with no help. You saw it. I thought I made a nice play on the ball, and I did what Galloway does and threw it to the crowd. I was going to return it, but I had a late night last night with these scripts. I had some fun though.”
BUCS SIGN TE LEAK, DE WHITE The Bucs announced the signing of two players – tight end C.J. Leak and defensive end Greg White – on Saturday. With the two signings, linebacker Evan Benjamin and defensive tackle Justin Frick were released.
Leak was a member of the Bucs during their OTAs and mini-camp this season and also participated in a three-day rookie minicamp from May 4-6. White played for Jon Gruden’s brother, Jay, with the Orlando Predators in 2007 and set an Arena Football League record with 15 sacks.
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