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Amobi Okoye misses opening of Tampa Bay Buccaneers minicamp

TAMPA — Injuries have flattened another Bucs defensive lineman, but the news is not all that deflating.

DT Amobi Okoye missed Tuesday's opening of a three-day mandatory minicamp after having arthroscopic knee surgery, the team announced.

Okoye elected to have the relatively minor procedure done to prevent further complications with his knee later on. He is expected to make a full recovery and be on the field for the start of training camp in late July.

The Bucs are leaning heavily on Okoye to provide depth along a defensive line that already has suffered a major loss after E Da'Quan Bowers' ruptured Achilles' tendon.

The only other player to miss Tuesday's mandatory minicamp was DT Brian Price, who has been excused, coach Greg Schiano said.

WRIGHT STUFF: CB Eric Wright is a big part of arguably the most heralded Bucs class of free agents. But he has been an irregular attendant during the offseason, particularly during workouts in recent weeks.

That wasn't the case Tuesday as Wright was back for the first day of the Bucs' mandatory minicamp, beginning to catch up as the team continues to install its defense.

"I had a few personal issues that I had to deal with," said Wright, who wasn't with the team for the three recent workouts open to media. "That's typical for the offseason. But most importantly, I'm here for minicamp and feeling good. So, I'm out here running around."

Wright seemed to be taking a bit of a back seat in certain situations Tuesday, giving way to lesser-known players such as Anthony Gaitor and E.J. Biggers. But the Bucs expressed no concern about Wright's progress in learning the scheme.

"(He's behind) a little bit," Schiano said. "But I think because of his experience, he can catch up pretty quickly."

The Bucs have high expectations for Wright, who signed a $37.5 million contract.

"It's a big responsibility," Wright said. "I'm going to go out there and work as hard as possible to make them right."

PARKER IMPRESSES: Preston Parker cradled a perfect pass from QB Josh Freeman in the corner of the end zone and made sure he got both feet down in bounds during a team red zone period.

He leaped to chest bump a few teammates on the way back to the sideline, a reminder that Parker's game is on the rise.

Last season, Parker, 25, played a vital role as the Bucs third-down specialist and finished second among wideouts with 40 receptions for 554 yards and three touchdowns. He also was the team's primary kickoff and punt return man. Freeman has singled him out as one of the Bucs most improved players.

"It's great to hear that," Parker said. "I'm glad he's saying my name and I'm going to show him he can come to me on third down or any down."

Schiano said the receiver position is among the most competitive on the team, along with defensive back. In addition to Parker behind starting WRs Vincent Jackson and Mike Williams, the Bucs have Arrelious Benn, Sammie Strougher, Dezmon Briscoe, Tiquan Underwood and Ed Gant, among others.

BARRON UNSIGNED: S Mark Barron is the team's last unsigned draft pick. But the first-round choice from Alabama does not anticipate any problem reaching an agreement. "It's just a few things that have to get worked out and that's it," Barron said Tuesday.

Because of the rookie salary cap, holdouts are mostly a thing of the past. The Falcons and Panthers have already signed all their draft picks. Tampa Bay has $3.536 million left under this year's rookie pool.

Amobi Okoye misses opening of Tampa Bay Buccaneers minicamp 06/12/12 [Last modified: Tuesday, June 12, 2012 9:32pm]
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