Bucs Beat

Rick Stroud, Greg Auman and Matt Baker

Culpepper visits with Bucs

19

July

   Jon Gruden apparently could use another quarterback.

   Would eight be enough?

   The Bucs coach met Thursday with former Vikings and Dolphins free agent Daunte Culpepper, the team confirmed.

   Although the Bucs had no comment on the meeting, it is believed to have taken place at the corporate airplane hangar at Tampa International Airport. Also greeting Culpepper was Bucs general manager Bruce Allen and Doug Williams, the team's senior pro personnel assistant.

   Culpepper, who missed most of last season recovering from knee surgery, had his contract terminated Tuesday by the Dolphins.

   The Bucs already have seven quarterbacks on the roster, a list that includes Jeff Garcia, Bruce Gradkowski, Chris Simms, Luke McCown and Jake Plummer.

   Garcia already has been declared the starter for the 2007 season while Simms has struggled to regain his form since undergoing surgery to remove his spleen last Sept. Pummer has announced his intentions to retire.

   The meeting with Culpepper came one week before the Bucs report to training camp at Disney's Wide World of Sports in Lake Buena Vista. 

   Culpepper, 30, became expendable when the Dolphins traded for Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Trent Green about six weeks ago. Culpepper, who serves as his own agent, could not be reached for comment. He won his release because the Dolphins chose not to contest it in a grievance that was scheduled for Wednesday. 

    But upon being released, Culpepper said he was anxious to find a new team.

   ""Now that I have won my freedom and I get to choose my next team, I am just like many other people who have to go out and find employment so that I can take care of my family,'' Culpepper said in an e-mail.

   There are still several questions surrounding Culpepper. One is his health. The Dolphins would not allow him to participate in team drills and he has spent 21 months rehabbing from torn ligaments in his knee. The other is salary. Culpepper was due to earn $5.5-million this season, although his value has been reduced dramatically as two teams have given up on him in the past two years.

   But Culpepper is only a few years removed from one of the best seasons in NFL history, when he threw for 4,717 yards and 39 touchdowns in 2004 with the Vikings. In 84 games as a starter, Culpepper has completed 64.2 percent of his passes for 21,091 yards and 137 touchdowns.

   The Bucs could have competition for Culpepper. Jacksonville has already informed their quarterbacks of their interest and former Vikings coach Mike Tice is on the staff there. St. Louis also could be another landing spot because quarterback Marc Bulger will be a free agent and coach Scott Linehan was the Vikings and Dolphins' offensive coordinator.

   Check back for further details as the story develops.

            

[Last modified: Wednesday, May 26, 2010 2:46pm]

    

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