We’ve had some system-wide technical problems much of the day, so I haven’t been able to provide a report from the Bucs’ "minicamp" in Bradenton, Fla. -- until now. Some other items that were delayed by the technical problems also should be popping up. We’ll keep this one to the basics and will share some other Tampa Bay stuff with you down the road.
The Bucs began a series of three-day workouts at IMG Academies Tuesday morning, organized largely by quarterback Josh Freeman. IMG football director Chris Weinke, a former member of the Carolina Panthers, and some members of his staff supervised the on-field activities and IMG strength and conditioning coach Jeff Dillman supervised the weight-lifting session and the stretching session before the players began workouts.
Approximately 50 players were in attendance, highlighted by cornerback Aqib Talib. He’s been in the news this offseason as he faces an assault charge in a March incident in Texas. But it’s not that big a surprise that Talib attended the session. He took part in some of Freeman’s earlier workouts in Tampa, according to teammates. Talib is awaiting trial and also could face discipline from the Bucs or the NFL. But, as long as the lockout remains in place, the league and the team can’t issue any punishment for Talib. He talked briefly with reporters on his way to the practice field and again as he walked off. He declined to discuss his case and said he wanted to simply focus on football.
Although IMG also is hosting the National Football League Players Association rookie event that has been called the NFL’s rookie symposium in previous years, at least two of Tampa Bay’s draft picks took part in the morning session. Defensive end Adrian Clayborn and linebacker Mason Foster went through drills with their new teammates. Some others apparently elected to attend the rookie event.
The notable players not on the field for the morning session included running back Cadillac Williams, linebacker Barrett Ruud, cornerback Ronde Barber and defensive end Stylez G. White. Williams, Ruud and White are expected to be unrestricted free agents when the lockout ends. Freeman said some players stayed away because of their contract situations and others ran into scheduling conflicts or travel problems. Freeman said some more players could be joining the workouts this afternoon or Wednesday.
When asked who was paying for the use of the facilities and lodging for the players, Freeman said that IMG had been very generous in making the event possible. He then added that he and several veterans are chipping in to pick up the tab.
Several players recovering from major injuries were in attendance but not taking part in the on-field activities. They included running back Kareem Huggins, defensive tackle Brian Price and wide receiver Arrelious Benn.