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Bucs alumni make Gruden wistful

LAKE BUENA VISTA — The Bucs went under the lights Thursday with an evening practice under coach Jon Gruden.

The workout brought out a large contingent of fans and even some familiar faces: former Bucs Warren Sapp and Mike Alstott.

Their presence made Gruden wistful.

"If they want to play, I can assure you we'll have these conversations again," Gruden cracked. "Both of those guys have a lot to do with not only the success that our team has had here, but some of the most thrilling moments that I've had in my life. It's good to have them back.

"I wish they could strap it on and help us out. We could sure use them."

With the two retired greats roaming the sidelines, players responded.

"I feel like we had a little extra juice," receiver Michael Clayton said. "And it's great when that sun isn't out. It felt like a game atmosphere."

MORE QB NEWS: General manager Bruce Allen was asked about the team's quarterbacks, and he remained noncommittal about how many the Bucs intend to keep on their final roster. He declined to speculate even after being reminded that last year's decision to keep four quarterbacks limited roster flexibility.

"I can't answer that right now," he said. "Let's see where our health is and how players perform. The great thing we do here is, we have players compete for jobs. They like competing for their jobs. They don't expect us to give jobs away."

Saturday in the preseason opener against the Dolphins, Gruden said, he planned to play Luke McCown (the planned starter) and Brian Griese extensively. McCown might play the first quarter and Griese at least one quarter.

"In fairness, when evaluating a quarterback, you need to let them play extended," Gruden said. "We'll try to give Chris (Simms) some good looks as well. Then we'll try to change it up next week (for the next preseason game) as we've done in the past."

INJURY UPDATES: Fullback B.J. Askew (foot), receiver Joey Galloway (groin) and quarterback Jeff Garcia (calf) aren't likely to make the Miami trip. They will remain in Tampa to get treatment from the medical staff.

CALLED OFF: The Bucs canceled today's walkthrough at the Disney Wide World of Sports complex. They will return to Tampa this morning and depart for South Florida this afternoon.

Stephen F. Holder can be reached at

Bucs alumni make Gruden wistful 08/07/08 [Last modified: Friday, August 8, 2008 8:33pm]
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