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Bucs' Graham shows for minicamp, Simms stays away

Bucs running back Earnest Graham, who wants a new contract after his breakout 2007 season, catches a pass on the first day of minicamp.

BRIAN CASSELLA | Times

Bucs running back Earnest Graham, who wants a new contract after his breakout 2007 season, catches a pass on the first day of minicamp.

TAMPA — Earnest Graham showed. Chris Simms skipped.

The biggest news Tuesday on the first day of the Bucs' mandatory minicamp was who was and wasn't there. Graham backed down from his standoff with the team over his lack of a new contract and reported for the first time this offseason.

Simms, a week after going public with his disenchantment with coach Jon Gruden and calling for the team to release him, stayed away. The team has the right to assess fines of $8,000 per day but general manager Bruce Allen declined to say whether the Bucs would exercise that right.

Graham was present, likely as a show of good faith as he and the team negotiate a contract extension. The Bucs have offered a deal and Graham's agent, Drew Rosenhaus, has made with a counteroffer.

"It needs to get done," Graham said of an extension. "I'm not really stressing the time frame or anything like that. It just needs to get done. They know that, I know that. And I think because of that, it'll happen."

Graham, scheduled to earn a veteran minimum of $605,000 in the final year of his deal, stopped short of committing to reporting to training camp in July, saying, "Hopefully something will get done before then. I won't say anything whether or not (I'll be there). I'm being optimistic."

Of Simms, Gruden said, "I don't have any comment. I don't have much knowledge other than he said what he said. I don't agree with all the things that he said, but I can only comment on the guys who are here working."

ROOKIE QB DEBUTS: Rookie quarterback Josh Johnson made his debut — sort of. The first-year player from San Diego has not been participating in team drills because Gruden wasn't satisfied with his command of the intricate offense. But Tuesday, Johnson got under center for the first time and looked fluid and comfortable. Flushed from the pocket a couple of times, he used his speed (4.5-seoncd 40-yard dash) to take off.

"It's been hard to get him reps," Gruden said. "I think he came out here and completed all five of his throws today and was sharp."

BOYD SITS: Running back Cory Boyd (knee), a seventh-round pick, continued to sit out drills.

Bucs' Graham shows for minicamp, Simms stays away 06/17/08 [Last modified: Thursday, June 19, 2008 9:50am]
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