Derrick Ward back with Buccaneers

There were some raised eyebrows when running back Derrick Ward didn’t show up for Monday’s OTA session with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

After all, he was one of their big free-agent signings last year, wound up in a backup role and didn’t seem very happy much of the season. It wasn’t a stretch to think Ward might try to force a trade or somehow try to get out of Tampa Bay.

But that’s not the case. We’ve just been informed by the Bucs that Ward is at Tuesday morning’s workout and is expected to talk to the media this afternoon. All that said, Ward needs to have a good offseason and preseason to have a shot at adding to the carries he shares with Cadillac Williams and Earnest Graham. Plus, I wouldn’t be surprised if the Bucs try to work Clifton Smith into the backfield rotation a bit more this season.

Ward’s a talented guy and he had some big production in his time with the New York Giants. The Bucs aren’t giving up on him, mainly because they need insurance because of Williams’ injury history. But Ward needs to stay focused to really win over this coaching staff and get a shot at legitimate playing time.