Plummer could face fines for taking a knee
The Bucs aren't going to let Jake Plummer stiff-arm them much longer.
Plummer is subject to being fined for missing the Bucs' three-day mandatory minicamp that concluded Thursday and indications are the Bucs will ask him to repay about $7-million in pro-rated signing bonus if he fails to play this season.
Tampa Bay acquired Plummer in a trade with Denver March 3 for a conditional draft pick, prompting him to announce plans to retire from the NFL. Bucs general manager Bruce Allen said Thursday he recently has spoken to Plummer and the team still hopes the 32-year-old quarterback reports to training camp July 27.
""You can't unilaterally retire as a player in the NFL,'' Allen said. ""Because you have a contract. He is under the same obligations as every player our the team.
""It is resolved. We've traded for him and it's no different than if he elects not to report to camp, no different than when Keenan McCardell didn't report to camp or when you see other players hold out. There's no difference.''
McCardell, who failed to report to training camp in 2004, was ordered to repay $1.5-million of his signing bonus to the Bucs after eventually being traded to the San Diego Chargers.
""We're not getting into personal conversations,'' Allen said of Plummer. ""We traded for him with the intent of him playing for the Buccaneers. He knows that and we've been very clear what we see for him and his future. We'll just have to see if we have a meeting of the minds.''
The Bucs have six quarterbacks working in the off-season, including Eagles free agent Jeff Garcia, Chris Simms and Bruce Gradkowski. Sources close to Plummer have said he is steadfast in his plans to retire, although he has not formally filed his papers with the NFL office.
Allen said the Bucs have not entertained the idea of trading Plummer to another team.
""The intent is the absolute same. We want him on our team,'' Allen said.
""He's on our salary cap right now and he missed minicamp. By contract, there's certain obligations a player has. We're going to have further talks with him.''
Allen wouldn't specifically address what sanctions they may seek against Plummer for not attending the mandatory minicamp.
""We've never really discussed what we do disciplinary-wise publicly,'' Allen said. ""He's aware of where we stand with that and hopefully reports to training camp.
""Obviously, we haven't missed a beat with him not here. We're preparing for our season. The quarterback competition, as you all know, has been very lively and we feel good with the players we have here. So we're not waiting for anybody. We're going forward.''
Meanwhile, Simms still is struggling to regain his throwing motion following surgery to remove his spleen last Sept. Allen said Simms has been medically cleared to play and insists he still has a future with the team.
""I see Chris' future no different than it has been the last few years,'' Allen said. ""He's one of the hardest workers you'll find. He loves the game of football and he will regain his stroke because he's dedicated to the game. He'll get better with time. He's a young man who's got a good future.'''
Coming off a 4-12 record, the Bucs' third losing season in the past four years, Allen said that he and coach Jon Gruden feel no additional pressure to win in '07.
""That pressure is constant in the league because you want to win,'' Allen said.
""That did occur, we didn't have a good season last year. We had a good season the previous year and we had a bad season the year before that. What we're looking to do is win and build the team from the ground up to a winner. You feel that pressure no matter what you do in life and it doesn't matter what team you're on. And you love it.''
Gruden rewarded his team Thursday by cancelling the final practice of the mandatory minicamp.