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Bucs Beat

Rick Stroud, Greg Auman and Matt Baker

Some thoughts on missed OTAs

Much has been made of Bucs players who haven’t attended offseason workouts, with absences often leading to suggestions that they’re not sufficiently committed to the team.

But there’s a fundamental problem with this way of thinking: It’s not necessarily true.

Take, for instance, the situation with defensive tackle Brian Price last week. When the media was permitted to watch Tuesday’s workout and subsequently reported that he was not there, there were some assumptions among fans that he was slacking off. We now know that nothing could have been further from the truth; he was in the hospital after an emotional and physical breakdown related to the death of his older sister.

It’s fair ground to report who is and isn’t there on days media are allowed to view practice. I personally have done this. But drawing conclusions is reckless.

Here’s the thing: It’s voluntary. Everything in the offseason is except for the three-day mandatory minicamp that caps offseason work next month. Players can’t be penalized for not showing up, nor should they be.

Does it help if they do attend? Of course. Do they miss much if they’re absent? Certainly, especially with the Bucs installing a new offense and defense under this new coaching staff.

That said, 10 practices in May and June are not the end all. Anyone who thinks Kellen Winslow was traded simply because he didn’t show up this offseason is pretty gullible. Was that a factor? Maybe a small one, if at all. But it certainly appears Winslow was traded more because of his reputation and history of having a different set of rules than for his failure to attend three optional OTAs.

And remember this: Coach Greg Schiano seems to be in the loop on most, if not all, of these absences. He asked his players to keep him abreast of their attendance plans, and he indicated they’re doing so.

“My whole thing is communication,” he said. “As long as everybody communicates” everything is fine.

Schiano said something else of note on this subject on Tuesday. He added that, sometimes, players miss workouts because “life is messy.”

That seemed to be a reference to a certain player who has missed workouts for very valid personal reasons. Neither the team nor the player feel an explanation is necessary because -- again -- it’s, you know, voluntary.

“Guys have different things come up,” Schiano said. “There’s family issues. There’s things. . . I wish life were just clean, but it’s not. Life is messy. So we work together and work through situations.”

[Last modified: Wednesday, May 23, 2012 8:19am]

    

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