The Tampa Bay Buccaneers took the field as a team for the first time this year on Tuesday.
The Bucs conducted their first organized team activity at One Buccaneer Place on Tuesday morning. The two-hour workout was voluntary, and several players exercised their right not to participate in the practice session.
Three of the six quarterbacks on Tampa Bay's offseason roster were missing. Brian Griese, whom the Bucs traded for this offseason, had a previous commitment, and Jake Plummer remains retired.
Perhaps the most notable no-show was QB Chris Simms, who is opting not to participate in workouts due to the fact that he believes his future is not in Tampa Bay.
Simms, 27, originally entered the NFL with the Bucs as a 2003 third-round draft pick out of Texas. He has completed 59.1 percent of his career passes for 3,087 yards and tossed 12 touchdowns and 17 interceptions.
However, Simms has not played in a regular season game in nearly two years due to a spleen injury he suffered in Week 4 of the 2005 regular season vs. Carolina.
Tampa Bay has since acquired three quarterbacks – Jeff Garcia, Griese and Plummer, which has led to speculation that Simms, who is entering the final year of his contract, has asked to be released or traded.
Bucs running back Earnest Graham was another player that opted against participating in Tuesday's voluntary workout. Graham, who is entering the final year of his contract, rushed for 898 yards (4.0 avg.) and 10 touchdowns while filling in for injured running backs Cadillac Williams and Michael Pittman.
While Graham is interested in receiving a new contract, it is unclear whether his decision to not participate in Tuesday's voluntary workout is contract-related.
Speaking of contracts, Bucs restricted free agent defensive tackle Jovan Haye participated in Tuesday's voluntary workout despite the fact that he has not yet signed his one-year tender offer from the Bucs.
A few other Bucs players, including cornerback Phillip Buchanon and safety Will Allen, missed Tuesday's voluntary practice for unspecified reasons.
SEVERAL BUCS ON THE MEND
Tampa Bay had over a dozen players finish the 2007 regular season on injured reserve, but several of those players, including safeties Tanard Jackson (knee) and Sabby Piscitelli (foot), cornerback Torrie Cox (knee), tackle Luke Petitgout (knee), wide receivers Maurice Stovall (forearm), Paris Warren (ankle) and Joey Galloway (shoulder), linebacker Antoine Cash (knee) and tackle Jeremy Trueblood (shoulder), were back on the practice field on Tuesday.
Galloway and Cox went into the locker room about one hour into practice, but it was part of Tampa Bay's plan for keeping both players healthy and getting them ready to go for 2008.
Bucs team trainer Todd Toriscelli worked with running back Cadillac Williams (torn patellar tendon) and linebacker Cato June (broken foot) on the far right practice field during Tuesday's voluntary workout. Neither player practiced as they still are rehabbing their respective injuries.
In addition, Bucs linebackers Quincy Black and Ryan Nece watched Tuesday's workout in street clothes due to undisclosed ailments.
McCOY INJURED IN OTA
One of Tampa Bay's newest players, linebacker Matt McCoy, left the practice field about 25 minutes into Tuesday's workout after lacerating his hand.
The 5-foot-11, 230-pound McCoy signed with Tampa Bay on Mar. 4 as a free agent. He originally entered the NFL in 2005 as a second-round pick out of San Diego State.
McCoy came back out on the practice field with his injured right hand wrapped up. He did not return to action.
Tampa Bay is scheduled to conduct two more voluntary workouts this week on Wednesday and Thursday, respectively.
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