Bucs Beat

Rick Stroud, Greg Auman and Matt Baker

Ward wants to be a 'leader,' returns to OTA's following 'dental issue.'

Running back Derrick Ward, vowing to become a team leader, returned of voluntary off-season workouts Monday after missing four of the first six Organized Team Activities.

Ward said he was unable to participate last week because of a 'dental issue.' On Monday, he looked sharp working during the team's two-minute offense period.  

"Last week, I had a dental issue,'' Ward said. "I was back home getting that handled. Now I'm here for the rest of the OTA's and the minicamp and just getting ready to go. (OTA's) are voluntary, but it's good for the whole team to be working together and getting ready for the upcoming season.''

Ward, 29, was a backup to starting tailback Cadillac Williams last season. He gained 409 yards on 114 carries (3.6 avg). But the seventh-year pro says he knows what he has to do to prepare for the upcoming season.

"I've been doing this for seven years, so I know what I have to do,'' Ward said. "I'm in pretty good shape and ready to go out there and participate and be part of my teammates. We have a great bond here.

"I'm here to compete, I'm here to help this team win and hopefully get to a Super Bowl. I'm just here to be a leader. I'm one of the old guys on offense. It's funny looking back on it now, but it's just a good opportunity for me to become more of a vocal leader on the field and in the locker room and lead by example.''

[Last modified: Monday, July 19, 2010 2:41pm]

    

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