The start of free agency has been delayed several times and is tentatively scheduled to begin at 12:01 a.m. ET on Thursday, but that isn’t stopping the Tampa Bay Buccaneers from scheduling visits with players.

Former Tennessee Titans left tackle Brad Hopkins is scheduled to visit with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at One Buccaneer Place on Thursday.

Hopkins, who has 13 seasons and two Pro Bowls under his belt, turns 36 in September but intends on playing in 2006 and beyond, according to his agent, Mark Bartelstein.

“He’s definitely going to play this year,” said Bartelstein. “He’s healthy as could be and he had a great year last year. He’s looking forward to playing several more years.”

The 6-foot-3, 305-pound Hopkins met with the New York Jets Wednesday and is scheduled to meet with the Atlanta Falcons on Friday.

The Bucs are interested in upgrading their left tackle position, where Anthony Davis started 17 games for the team last season. However, Tampa Bay has discussed the possibility of moving Davis over to right tackle as it anticipates losing Kenyatta Walker in free agency.

Hopkins, who entered the NFL in 1993 as a first-round draft pick, started 188 of the 194 games he played in as a Houston Oiler/Tennessee Titan, including 15 starts in 2005. He’s apparently intrigued by the idea of playing for Bucs head coach Jon Gruden.

“They’re real close to being a Super Bowl contender,” Bartelstein said of Tampa Bay. “I think Brad would like to play for Coach Gruden. He played for him in the Pro Bowl and developed a relationship with him. I think Tampa Bay is definitely a place he wants to take a good look at.”


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