Make us your home page

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Barrett Ruud sitting out Tampa Bay Buccaneers' practices

TAMPA — Middle linebacker Barrett Ruud, the centerpiece of a young Bucs defense in the midst of an overhaul, is key to the unit's success in 2009.

But Ruud did not participate in either of the voluntary workouts this week — the first of 14 such practices this offseason — even as he spoke Wednesday during a radio interview about taking ownership of coordinator Jim Bates' new scheme.

Given his contract status — he is entering the final year of his rookie deal — and because talks aimed at an extension are in their infancy, the reason for his nonparticipation is the subject of much speculation.

Ruud was present Tuesday but absent Wednesday. Reached Wednesday, Ruud said "everything's fine" and gave no specific reason for his absence. The team indicated he simply took some personal time.

But for a player who has no history of missing the voluntary but critical practices and has been asked by coaches to take a greater leadership role, it was a departure from the norm.

Ruud is set to make $1.6 million in base salary. The sides have not exchanged numbers.

Coach Raheem Morris didn't comment specifically on the players absent Wednesday, saying only each had been in contact with the club. That includes tight end Kellen Winslow, who the team said is dealing with a personal matter and will join the club soon.

"It's voluntary," Morris said. "It wouldn't be right on my part to call anybody out for missing a voluntary workout."

Ruud's agent, Ethan Lock, said only, "It's a nonissue. I don't want to talk about this."

It's common for players who are in contract talks or seeking new deals to sit out offseason workouts.

Running back Earnest Graham was absent for most of the 2008 offseason. Then in June, he signed a four-year, $11 million deal.

And last month, as general manager Mark Dominik was putting the finishing touches on Winslow's $36 million extension, Winslow was encouraged by Dominik to sit out the final two days of a three-day minicamp, likely to avoid injury.

In Ruud's situation, there was no hint of acrimony from either side.

But it's clear the team would prefer to have its defensive star on the field. Ruud, a second-round pick in 2005 who turns 26 on May 20, racked up a team-high 178 tackles in 2008 and might be in position to increase that total in his new role this fall.

The Bucs' next session is scheduled for Tuesday, the first of three workouts next week.

Stephen F. Holder can be reached at or (813) 226-3377. Rick Stroud can be reached at

Talking Bucs

Join Bucs beat reporter Stephen F. Holder for a live chat today from noon to 1 p.m. at

Barrett Ruud sitting out Tampa Bay Buccaneers' practices 05/13/09 [Last modified: Thursday, May 14, 2009 6:59am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Rays DFA Danny Farquhar to make room for Brad Boxberger


    The Rays continued shuffling their bullpen, dumping RHP Danny Farquhar after Wednesday's game to make room for RHP Brad Boxberger to be activated off the DL.

    Farquhar, who worked an inning in Wednesday's 6-2 loss, had a 2-2, 4.11 record for 37 appearances, working primarily in lower leverage situations. In …

  2. USF to face Indiana in men's basketball next season


    The USF men's basketball team will get an early test from a Big Ten powerhouse next season.

  3. Rays employee helps save suicidal woman near Pirates stadium


    A Rays front-office employee joined umpire John Tumpane in saving a woman threatening to jump from a bridge near PNC Park on Wednesday afternoon in Pittsburgh.

    Multimedia production manager Mike Weinman, 32, was walking across the Roberto Clemente Bridge with Rays broadcasting director Larry McCabe when he …

  4. Blake Snell struggles in return as Rays fall to Pirates

    The Heater


    Blake Snell talked a good game ahead of his return to the Rays rotation Wednesday night, but he didn't pitch one.

    The Pirates’ David Freese scores on a Blake Snell wild pitch during the first inning against the Rays.
  5. Marc Topkin's takeaways from Wednesday's Rays-Pirates game

    The Heater

    Corey Dickerson is doing everything he can to garner All-Star votes heading into tonight's voting cutoff, going into play Wednesday leading the AL with 101 hits and rapping two more his first two times up, and scoring two more runs.