Allen on Graham: "I'm sure it's going to work out"
Bucs general manager Bruce Allen appeared optimistic Friday when discussing the current contract saga involving running back Earnest Graham, who skipped the team's series of voluntary workouts as hopes for an extension.
Allen, speaking in front of about 200 fans at a breakfast for the St. Petersburg Area Chamber of Commerce in Palm Harbor, responded to a question about Graham by saying that both sides have made offers, while later adding, "I'm sure it's going to work out."
Graham is expected to attend next week's mandatory minicamp, Tuesday through Thursday.
"Earnest Graham performed very well for us last year," Allen said. "We had addressed Earnest's situation two years ago because we loved the kind of leadership he provided for us in special teams and his work ethic. As with any negotiation, we made an offer, they made an offer, and we haven’t agreed. But I think Earnest is looking forward to this season, and no matter what happens, (he) will give us his best effort..
When asked if he expects as training camp - and the season - grow closer, if it will impact the talks, Allen responded:
"Right now in the league, it's not a unique situation for people to discuss these type of things in the offseason. And that’s fine. Earnest is a great young man and I’m sure it’s going to work out."
Allen, coach Jon Gruden, along with three players - Barrett Ruud, WR Maurice Stovall and CB Aqib Talib - attended the breakfast at Innisbrook, which featured Q&A with fans.
As for the other elephant in the room - the status of quarterback Chris Simms, who made his frustrations with Gruden and the Bucs public this week - his name wasn't mentioned once. Though Gruden did talk about the rest of the quarterbacks, including draft pick Josh Johnson, whom Gruden labeled a "project" with "a long way to go."
Though Jeff Garcia is the unquestioned starter, Gruden raved about Brian Griese and Luke McCown, who went 1-2 as a starter for the Bucs.
"We’ve got three quarterback that have won for us," Gruden said. "And we’ve got one guy (Johnson) in the laboratory right now."
- JOE SMITH