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Bucs' Dunn makes deal to reacquire jersey No. 28

TAMPA — Warrick Dunn was back with the Bucs on Tuesday for their first official offseason practice.

He had the same understated personality and the familiar quick moves. But his return to Tampa wouldn't be the same had he worn a different jersey number.

After approaching second-year safety Tanard Jackson recently with an intriguing proposition, Dunn got his No. 28 back, making his return complete.

"Let's just say he came with an offer I couldn't refuse," said Jackson, who wore a wide smile while refusing to divulge the details of the arrangement.

Jackson will now wear No. 36.

Dunn said it didn't cost much, but whatever the price, it apparently was worth it. He has worn the number since his days at Florida State then in his first stint with the Bucs and, later, with the Falcons.

"I think everyone really knows me from the number, so it would be kind of strange being on the same team I was on and not having 28," Dunn said.

"He understood that, and it was easy."

So, too, was the decision to come back to Tampa, said Dunn, who re-signed with the Bucs last month after six seasons in Atlanta.

"When I got released, I talked to coach (Jon) Gruden right away, and I just really wanted to take my time and check out the (landscape)," Dunn, 33, said. "I just felt really comfortable with what he was saying and how he wanted to utilize me and what role I would have on this team.

"I like the area, the city of Tampa and the Tampa Bay area. I love the fans. They've always been great to me over the years."

HAYE STILL UNSIGNED: Defensive tackle Jovan Haye said he still hasn't signed his restricted free agent tender of about $2-million for one year, his hope being that he and the team can come to terms on a long-term deal before the April 18 deadline.

While that appears unlikely, the sides can continue to explore an extension even after Haye signs the tender.

Haye, who registered six sacks in 2007, still showed up for Tuesday's voluntary workouts. His only recourse is not to show up or sign an offer sheet with another team that Tampa Bay would have seven days to match.

The latter is a long shot considering the other team would be required to compensate the Bucs with a first-round pick.

"Everything's cool," Haye, 25, said. "I'm just playing football and enjoying life right now."

TAKING ROLL: Quarterbacks Chris Simms and Brian Griese, running back Earnest Graham and receiver Ike Hilliard were no-shows for the voluntary workouts.

Simms has said he intends to skip offseason workouts while awaiting word on his future. Griese had a commitment with his charitable organization.

Stephen F. Holder can be reached at sholder@sptimes.com.

Bucs' Dunn makes deal to reacquire jersey No. 28 04/08/08 [Last modified: Monday, April 14, 2008 10:35am]
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