Tampa Bay reported to Celebration Hotel for the start of training camp on Friday, and quarterback Chris Simms delivered on his promise to be there.
Simms made disparaging and controversial comments towards head coach Jon Gruden to the media earlier in the offseason due to how he believed Gruden treated him last season as he attempted to recover from a season-ending spleen injury in 2006.
The former third-round draft pick skipped Tampa Bay's voluntary and mandatory mini-camp workouts, but reported to training camp on Friday.
Simms, who has completed 59.1 percent of his passes for 3,087 yards and tossed 12 touchdowns and 17 interceptions since entering the league in 2003, has finished the past two seasons on injured reserve due to the spleen injury he suffered in Week 3 of '06.
Simms has one year remaining on his contract, but has asked to be released or traded due to the fact that he does not believe he has a future with the Bucs, who have quarterbacks Jeff Garcia, Brian Griese, Luke McCown, Josh Johnson and Simms under contract and reportedly are interested in acquiring retired Packers QB Brett Favre.
Gruden said he had not yet spoken with Simms, but believes the 27-year-old signal caller still has a future in the NFL.
"No, I haven't, but I'm sure I will," Gruden said. "I've already gone on the record on that. I don't agree with everything he said. I certainly feel for him, but we're eager to get to work and I know that he has a lot of work to do.
" see where he is physically. He hasn't played competitively in a while. He missed the entire camp really last season with the spleen injury. He missed the entire offseason. We've gone forward to a degree with Brian Griese and the drafting of Josh Johnson, but we haven't given up on Chris Simms as a football player. We have invested a lot of our time [in him] and we have confidence that if he returns to health he can play in pro football – no question." RB BOYD FAILS PHYSICAL Tampa Bay seventh-round draft pick Cory Boyd injured his knee during the team's rookie mini-camp back in May. He apparently still hasn't recovered.
Bucs head coach Jon Gruden informed the media on Friday that Boyd had failed his physical and would be waived injured or placed on injured reserve. CADILLAC, PETITGOUT HEADED FOR PUP? Although they've undergone their team physicals, it is unclear whether Bucs running back Cadillac Williams and left tackle Luke Petitgout passed them.
Williams, who is recovering from a torn patellar tendon he suffered in Week 4 of last season, likely will be placed on the physically unable to perform list to start camp.
Petitgout, who is recovering from a partially torn ACL, will be competing with 12-game starter Donald Penn for the starting left tackle spot in camp, but he must be healthy enough to compete first.
"There's a chance Carnell is put on PUP," Gruden said. "I don't know [Luke] Petitgout's status yet. He could start the camp on PUP." BUCS WORKING ON GETTING DE WHITE IN CAMP Tampa Bay defensive end Greg White has yet to sign his exclusive rights free agent contract or report to Celebration Hotel for the start of training camp.
Bucs head coach Jon Gruden said the team still was working on getting White signed and was optimistic he would be on the practice field on Saturday morning. "I haven't seen Greg," Gruden said. "He's an exclusive rights free agent, which I think means we're the only one who can talk to him, which I hope we're exclusively doing right now." GRAHAM IS TAMPA BAY'S STARTING RB Even though he skipped Tampa Bay's voluntary organized team activities during the offseason, Bucs running back Earnest Graham still is the team's starting halfback heading into training camp.
"That's a good question," Gruden said. "Earnest Graham will be our starting halfback. He certainly deserves it. You have Warrick Dunn, a guy that is going to be a huge contributor here and will compete for that position. Depth charts right now are in pencil and I think that is fair to our football players."
Graham rushed for 898 yards (4.0 avg.) and 10 touchdowns and caught 49 passes for 324 yards in place of injured running backs Cadillac Williams and Michael Pittman last year.
Graham, who recently signed a three-year, $10.5 million contract extension, will be attempting to hold of running backs Warrick Dunn and Michael Bennett for the starting role while Williams continues to rehab from a torn patellar tendon injury he suffered last year. JOSEPH EXCITED ABOUT O-LINE Tampa Bay third-year guard Davin Joseph had a difficult time containing his enthusiasm for the start of training camp, and for good reason.
Many believe Tampa Bay's starting offensive line is the best group of O-linemen the team has had under head coach Jon Gruden or even former head coach Tony Dungy.
Joseph suggested he was confident in this unit's abilities heading into camp.
"On paper we look good," said Joseph. "We are young, aggressive, smart guys that are all kind of cut from the same mold. We don't like to lose we like to win. Right now, if we can avoid injuries and play consistent enough, we can be as good as we want to be. I think the offense can build on our play."
Joseph is also excited about the offseason addition of center Jeff Faine, who replaces John Wade as the only new starter along the line.
"I think he can add more consistency," Joseph said of Faine. "I'm a big fan of John Wade of course, but he was in his later years. I think [signing Faine] adds some youth without taking away the experience. I think it adds more aggressiveness and more physical play. With having Arron on one side and me on the other, I think it will help his play also."
Joseph also said that third-year right tackle Jeremy Trueblood has put in a lot of hard work this offseason in hopes of playing at a Pro Bowl level.
Joseph also has big expectations for himself in 2008.
"This year I think will be my year," said Joseph. "I'm being optimistic of course, but I think this is my year to show dominance on the field. I think last year I had it more towards the end of the season. I'd have loved to start off better. Now, it is a new season so now you have a new set of goals, you dedicate your offseason to them. Hopefully I'll be able to show my talents. Playing with guys like Jeff and Trueblood next to me, I'm sure I can have a successful season whether it is a pro bowl or not, playoffs or not, whatever it may be. I think I will be in position to be a good player that is satisfied with his play."
"I'm probably his number one fan," Joseph said of Trueblood. "Trueblood has put in a lot of time into it this offseason getting into better shape," said Joseph. "He is in the best shape of his life. Going into the season, with me there to help him out and a good stable of tight ends that can block, this could be the season where he really makes an impact and really gets his name out there. Playing right tackle in the NFL is not an easy job and he can do it pretty well."
Joseph and his linemates will take the field at Disney's Wide World of Sports complex for their first training camp practice on Saturday morning.
QUOTE OF THE DAY Bucs linebacker Derrick Brooks on the Saints trading for Giants tight end Jeremy Shockey:
"The Saints got better. I honestly feel that. Knowing Coach Sean Payton and how he feels about the passing game that is one of the most underused positions in his offense. We know going against him twice and in the first game, our position as linebackers will be one of focus. We welcome the challenge. [The linebackers] we look forward to going against probably one of the better tight ends in the NFC. I welcome the challenge and I look forward to having him in our division."
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