Caddy likely sidelined for start of camp
Running back Cadillac Williams wasted no opportunity during the offseason to reinforce how far he has come in his remarkable and inspiring rehabilitation from last season's devastating knee injury.
By all accounts, the coaching and medical staffs agree, but that doesn't mean they're willing to take chances and rush the recovery of 2005's No. 5 overall draft pick.
Though no announcement has been made, indications are Williams is headed for the Physically Unable to Perform List when camp opens next week in Lake Buena Vista.
Because players who begin the preseason on the active roster cannot subsequently move to the PUP list, the Bucs must to make the designation before they begin their first practice, scheduled for July 26 at Disney. But in the preseason, PUP isn't nearly as restrictive as during the regular season. In fact, Williams would be eligible to be activated from the list at any time during the preseason. Furthermore, he won't count toward the 80-man cap on the active roster, giving the Bucs some relief from today's stricter roster limits. The drawback for Williams is that he will not be permitted to practice with the club while listed on PUP.
Williams' continued recovery will be one of the stories we'll be watching intently during training camp. If he truly is as close to resuming his career as he has indicated, the Bucs will perhaps have to make some tough decisions about their stable of running backs, one that already includes Warrick Dunn, Michael Bennett and Earnest Graham.
If Williams -- who suffered a torn patellar tendon last September -- remains on the PUP list once the regular season begins, additional restrictions take effect. He must remain there for at least the first six weeks, after which the team would have a three-week window in which to evaluate the player in practices and decide whether to activate him.
In an unrelated development, keep an eye on negotiations between first-round pick Aqib Talib and the Bucs, as the team seems to have prioritized Talib's deal over the remaining unsigned rookies. Tampa Bay's first-round pick has typically been the last to sign in recent seasons, but there appears to be a great deal of ongoing dialogue between general manager Bruce Allen and agent Todd France. If they can make a breakthrough, the Bucs could have their man signed with time to spare.