- Pat Yasinskas, ESPN Staff Writer
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I’m in Charlotte, covering the Carolina Panthers’ minicamp. But the Tampa Bay Buccaneers also are holding their minicamp this week. Let’s turn to some links to see what’s going on in Tampa Bay.
Scott Reynolds reports that Tampa Bay cornerback Eric Wright has missed some of the offseason program due to an undisclosed health issue. Reynolds reports that Wright has responded well to medication for the condition and participated in Tuesday’s minicamp. Wright was a big free-agent signing this offseason and the Bucs would like him to start opposite Aqib Talib. There is some question about Talib’s future because he’s facing trial on an assault charge in Texas later in June. If Talib draws prison time or an NFL suspension, it will be even more crucial for Wright to be completely healthy.
Tampa Bay defensive tackle Amobi Okoye reportedly was scheduled to have minor knee surgery Tuesday. All indications are Okoye should be healthy for minicamp. Okoye’s signing didn’t draw nearly as much attention as the signings of Wright, receiver Vincent Jackson and guard Carl Nicks, but it could turn out to be very important. The Bucs need Okoye healthy. At worst, he’ll be part of a rotation with Gerald McCoy and Brian Price. At best, Okoye could end up being a starter because McCoy and Price each have had injury problems in the past and Price currently isn’t with the team. Price recently lost his sister in a car accident. With the team’s blessing, he’s been working out with a personal trainer in California. The obvious hope is that Price will be with the team for training camp, but nothing is guaranteed when you’re talking about an emotional loss like this.
Tampa Bay coach Greg Schiano said the Bucs will have some tight competition for roster spots at some positions when it comes down to getting to 53 players at the start of the season. Schiano pointed to the defensive backfield as one area where the Bucs may have to cut some players capable of playing for another team. Given the uncertainty about Talib and the fact that cornerback Ronde Barber appears headed for a permanent move to safety, it’s not a bad thing that the Bucs currently have a deep collection of running backs.