Nearly one and a half years after their nine-week old son passed away, Joe and Meagan Jurevicius welcomed a new baby into their lives on Monday morning.

Meagan Jurevicius gave birth to a baby girl on Monday morning. The couple named her Caroline Elizabeth Jurevicius. She was born weighing in at 9 pounds and 1 ounce, and is said to be in good health.

“Joe had a baby today,” said Bucs head coach Jon Gruden, who received the news via the telephone. “He had a daughter today, we talked to him this morning and we’re really excited. The baby is healthy, he had a daughter and everything is great. Joe’s back is coming along quite well. We had an understanding that after the birth of his child he would come back and be around the team again. We assume we’ll have him back here within the next 24 hours.”

Meagan Jurevicius gave birth to Michael William on Jan. 14, but he was born prematurely with an incurable cell disease that eventually took his life on Mar. 24, 2003.

Michael Jurevicius’ fight to live inspired Joe Jurevicius during Tampa Bay’s run to the Super Bowl, where the receiver caught a 71-yard pass in the NFC Championship Game against the Philadelphia Eagles and four passes for 78 yards in Super Bowl XXXVII.

In Week 2 of the 2003 season, Jurevicius suffered a torn MCL that eventually landed him on injured reserve and required surgery. During the 2004 offseason, Jurevicius suffered a setback when he suffered a herniated a disc in his lower back, which recently required surgery and has sidelined him for at least 2-6 weeks.

Needless to say, the Bucs were happy to hear that some good luck came Jurevicius’ way on Monday morning.

“Joe Jurevicius has had a lot happen to him in the last year emotionally, mentally, physically, and we’ve got to be here for him,” said Gruden. “We’ll continue to help him through this rehab and in the time being it’s great to enjoy the birth of your child. We’re really excited for him and hopefully he brings us all cigars.”

Gruden suggested the birth of Caroline could inspire Joe Jurevicius to get back on the field sooner rather than later.

“You lose a child, it’s hard to ever overcome that,” said Gruden. “Fortunately, he’s blessed and able to enjoy the greatness of having a child of his own. If that doesn’t motivate Joe to get off the bed and get out there and start running dig routes pretty soon, then nothing will.”

Tackle Matt Stinchcomb (calf), fullback Jameel Cook (knee), wide receiver Charles Lee (hamstring) and linebacker Jeff Gooch (shin splint) were held out of practice Monday.

Until his recent injury, which has sidelined him for two straight days of practice, Gooch was having one of the most impressive camps of any player on the team, according to Bucs head coach Jon Gruden.

“He’s probably working too hard,” Gruden said of Gooch. “The guy is playing every (linebacker) position on every team. If there’s one guy who is going up the charts in my eyes it’s Jeff Gooch. I don’t know how we ever let him go in the first place. He’s one helluva football player. He gives our football team not only versatility, but an added dimension of speed and he’s an old school Buccaneer defender. He’s really a good player.”

Defensive lineman Ellis Wyms, fullback Deon Dyer, tackle Todd Steussie, defensive end Reinard Wilson and wide receiver Joey Galloway returned to practice on Monday morning.

Left tackle Derrick Deese, who limped off the field during the Monday morning practice, didn’t participate in the afternoon workout and will be sidelined for days with the same foot injury that kept him out of a few practices last week.

“Derrick Deese will be out a few days,” said Gruden. “His foot is bothering him a little bit, but it’s nothing serious.”

Things got heated during Monday morning’s full-padded practice when fullback Greg Comella and safety Dwight Smith got into a skirmish.

The altercation occurred during a four-minute drill when Smith blitzed and was picked up by Comella, who wouldn’t let Smith get on his feet. The two players were separated by teammates, but not before Smith could get in and land a punch on Comella’s helmet.

“If you’re going to compete against Dwight Smith you’re going to have to go at it,” said Bucs head coach Jon Gruden, who actually had to stand in Smith’s way of getting to Comella at one point. “Greg Comella and Smith went at it a couple of times in a key situation. We worked hard in what we call the four-minute drill, where the defense is four points behind with 2:15 remaining. They’ve got to get the ball back. Offensively, we’ve got to run the ball and chew up the clock. There was some real physical plays off that corner where Smith likes to blitz. Fortunately for the offense, Greg Comella was able to neutralize a couple of those charges. Dwight Smith is a seriously disruptive guy.”

According to Smith, both he and Comella made amends shortly after the morning practice ended. Both players are looking forward to playing their first preseason game on Saturday night against the Cincinnati Bengals.

“It was just two guys with competitive spirits going at it,” said Smith. “In the second week of camp, you usually get tired of seeing your own jersey hit your own jersey. Sometimes skirmishes happen.

“We were just over there shaking hands and lifting weights together. It ain’t nothing.”

On Monday morning, Tampa Bay head coach Jon Gruden and general manager Bruce Allen talked about the Buccaneers’ interest in signing free agent wide receiver Tim Brown, who was released from Oakland last week. According to published reports, Brown said he was interested in playing for Tampa Bay and Denver and would likely make a decision on where to play this week.

“I’ll just let the Tim Brown situation resolve itself,” said Gruden. “If you know Tim, he’s a sought-after guy. I know there’s a lot of people who would sure like his services.”

Bucs general manager Bruce Allen said Brown is indeed interested in being reunited with Gruden, who coached the nine-time Pro Bowl receiver in Oakland from 1998-01.

“Having Jon as the head coach is the attraction,” Allen said of Brown. “He knows the system. He’s flourished in the system. We talked about a number of things, much of it had nothing to do with the contracts. Everything is moving forward in his time frame.”

Allen has contacted Brown’s agent and the two sides plan to continue to negotiate in hopes of getting a contract done.

“I’ve talked to Tim and his representatives but that’s it,” said Allen. “We are going to talk again in the near future.”

Last year, Tampa Bay used defensive tackles Warren Sapp and Anthony McFarland as tight ends and even had plans to use cornerback Ronde Barber in certain situations as a receiver.

During the June mini-camp, the Bucs were using defensive linemen Chartric Darby and Ellis Wyms as tight ends in goal line and short yardage situations, as first reported.

Injuries prevented Barber from playing on offense in the 2003 regular season, but Bucs head coach Jon Gruden suggested on Monday morning that Barber and some other players, including Darby and Wyms, and tackle Derrick Deese, could be used in some different ways this season.

“He might be (that versatile guy),” Gruden said of Deese, who could take some reps at tight end. “Obviously, we’ve been working Ellis Wyms and Chartric Darby into some offensive sets (as tight ends). On Thursday, Ronde Barber will once again have his package of plays. With the injuries we had in the secondary last year we were unable to launch some of these ideas, so they stayed in the lab. Hopefully we can get them ready to go again.”

During the June mini-camp, Bucs wide receivers Joey Galloway and Charles Lee took snaps from the shotgun formation, and on Monday afternoon, Galloway did the same thing in 11-on-11 drills, taking a snap from center and completing a pass to running back Michael Pittman.

The secret is out, but shortly after practice, Gruden downplayed his attempt to use Galloway as a quarterback.

“I didn’t see it,” Gruden said jokingly. “He’s an amazing talent. You’ve got to have a contingency plan in case you lose a quarterback. We might only have two quarterbacks active during the season. You never know, so you want to have a guy that can get you out of the game in some key situations. We spent some time working on that.”

Starting safety Dwight Smith could be another player the Bucs use in different ways. Smith, who is one of the team’s most versatile defensive backs, took some reps as a kickoff returner on Monday morning.

“He’s always trying to keep me sharp back there,” Smith said of Bucs special teams coach Richard Bisaccia. “You never know what could happen, so he’s trying to keep as many guys as ready as possible. I hope I get a chance. The first time they gave me a chance I messed it up back in my rookie year, but I had some things going on off of the field then. I’m always looking for an opportunity to get my hands on the ball.”

Bucs S Dwight Smith on which receivers have caught his eye in training camp:

“You’ve been out here so you know. Joey Galloway, Michael Clayton and Edell Shepherd. The thing about this league is everybody is good. It’s just a matter of who gets the opportunity to make plays. If you get your opportunity you’ve got to take advantage of it. I think Charles Lee showed that last year after we let Keyshawn (Johnson) go about his business. Charles Lee stepped in and did better than what Keyshawn did in terms of yards after the catch. It’s just a matter of receiving opportunities and taking advantage of them.”

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