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Barrett Ruud appears to be no longer in Tampa Bay Buccaneers' plans

TAMPA — General manager Mark Dominik says he plans to wine and dine some of the Bucs' unrestricted free agents this week in an effort to re-sign them.

Barrett Ruud won't have a seat at that table.

The Bucs apparently have too many other reservations about Ruud and Dominik all but stuck a fork in the future of their middle linebacker in Tampa Bay.

Dominik announced the Bucs moved quickly Tuesday to sign linebacker Mason Foster, a third-round pick from Washington, to a four-year deal.

When asked if the team had made preparations for life without Ruud, who led the Bucs in tackles the past four years, Dominik barely mentioned the former Nebraska star and turned the focus to Foster and former USF star Tyrone McKenzie.

"We have done things over the last couple of months and certainly in the draft this year that will certainly help us move on," Dominik said.

"I have high expectations for Mason Foster and what he'll be for this football team. I also think that Tyrone McKenzie learned a lot at the (middle) linebacker position."

Asked if he believed he'd played his last game for the Bucs, Ruud was noncommittal.

"That's tough to say," Ruud said. "I'm just going to wait until all this stuff is finalized before I really delve into it. I want to wait until when everybody is signed, when the actual picture comes out. I have no idea in all honesty."

Ruud missed the offseason in 2009 as a restricted free agent, hoping to force the Bucs to offer a contract extension. Before last season, he attended every offseason workout but was visibly upset that the club signed left tackle Donald Penn to a new contract while bypassing him again.

But Ruud joined former linebacker Derrick Brooks as the only player in club history to lead the team in tackles four straight seasons, finishing with 118 stops, two sacks, one interception and two fumble recoveries.

Ruud said he received interest from several teams Tuesday, the first day teams could contact free agents.

"It's early in the process," Ruud said. "A lot of people say you shouldn't reflect what you feel about somebody and just let it play out. We've gotten a few calls but I want to wait and hear everything. That's the great thing about this process, you can hear from everybody. It's a crazy time, no doubt. We've never seen anything like it."

Dominik declined to say whether he has had discussions aimed at re-signing Ruud.

"I would say an important element for us long-term is that we got Mason Foster signed to a four-year contract," Dominik said. "Obviously, I think it's important your (middle) linebacker, a young guy we drafted, is here on this football team and trying to learn the system as fast as possible and any kind of discussions with Barrett or his agent I would leave out of the picture right now."

The Bucs also signed Arkansas-Pine Bluff receiver Raymond Webber. Dominik said the team will wait until this morning to release its full list of 15-20 undrafted free agents.

The first- and second-round picks — defensive end Adrian Clayborn of Iowa and Clemson defensive end Da'Quan Bowers — arrived at One Buc Place eager to work with coaches despite not being under contract. Bowers, who led Division I-A with 16 sacks last fall but fell in the draft after knee surgery, will be ready to practice, "Day 1,'' according to Dominik.

The Bucs' priority in free agency is to sign guard Davin Joseph and perhaps several other players, such as linebacker Quincy Black.

"We had good discussions, but right now we're just in the middle of negotiations and recruiting," Dominik said. "We'll be taking our own players out for dinner. I think a lot of clubs sit around and you think about when you go to another town, you get wined and dined and you get to see the facility. Well, we're doing that with our own players in Tampa because they need to know we appreciate them."

Ruud might be waiting a long time for his invitation.

Barrett Ruud appears to be no longer in Tampa Bay Buccaneers' plans 07/26/11 [Last modified: Wednesday, July 27, 2011 12:11am]
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