LAKE BUENA VISTA — For receiver Antonio Bryant, sitting idly for an entire season drove home a message even Bill Parcells couldn't deliver.
"I'm a man. I'm going speak my mind," he said. "There's growing pains in knowing when to do that and when not to do that. There's a thing called authority. There's been lots of times that I never really respected the authority that was over me. But when you get older, you learn."
Acquired in March as a free agent, Bryant is attempting to revive his career after remaining unsigned in 2007. Released by the 49ers last year in part because of run-ins with coach Mike Nolan, Bryant also had a widely publicized practice-field spat with then-Cowboys coach Parcells in 2004 during which several players reportedly had to restrain him.
But spending Sundays on the couch while generating no income refocused Bryant on regaining a place in the NFL. And if the Bucs can get him back to where he once was — a 1,000-yard receiver for Cleveland in 2005 — they may have addressed a glaring need.
Ultimately, it's up to Bryant. He claims he's ready.
"I'm always hungry. I'm never satisfied," Bryant said. "You can give me $10-million, $17-million. I don't care. I don't care if you're a rookie or an 18-year vet, I'm not going to let you jam me on the line (of scrimmage)."
Bryant had a mouthful to say in his first interview since joining the Bucs. He had declined repeated interview requests in the offseason and deflected interview-seekers during the first few days of camp. Turns out, Bryant likes to remain something of a mystery.
"Another reason why I don't talk to (the media) is because I'll tell everything," he said. "They forget you know how to play. So, it's like almost reintroducing (yourself)."
BIG-SHOT CARTER: Kevin Carter has been taking a number of snaps with the starting defense at left end, although there are several candidates (including Greg White and Marques Douglas).
But Carter made it clear that though he doesn't intend to give anything up easily, the competition is fierce.
"One thing about our (line), we're all lions in that room," he said. "And if you're not a lion, maybe you don't belong. Everyone in that room should feel the same way about their own individual performance. They should all be wanting to make the game-winning shot. I'm going to help everyone I can, even the guys who are directly competing for my spot. But at the same time, they know that I want to make that game-winning shot."
GALLOWAY STILL SIDELINED: Receiver Joey Galloway missed his third day of practice with a groin strain. But coach Jon Gruden said there is no concern as a result of Galloway missing six games in 2004 with a similar injury because this strain involves the opposite groin muscle.
FULL CONTACT: The Bucs practiced in full pads Monday morning for the first time, but the workout was sort of like full contact light. "Here, we try to keep things face up and try to make it physical, but it's not full-speed tackling," Gruden said.
Stephen F. Holder can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.