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)

Former Tampa Bay Buccaneers running back Derrick Ward criticizes team

Besides poor line play, Derrick Ward also says the Bucs don’t want to win and told other teams he was overweight.

Associated Press

Besides poor line play, Derrick Ward also says the Bucs don’t want to win and told other teams he was overweight.

TAMPA — Former Bucs RB Derrick Ward stirred up the Tampa Bay locker room with critical remarks about the team.

In an interview with the Newark (N.J.) Star-Ledger, Ward said his new team, the Texans, "actually wants to block for their running backs (and) actually wants to win." He also alleged the Bucs bad-mouthed him after releasing him in August by telling other clubs he was overweight.

"It's the same across the entire offensive line. We have a job to do," Bucs C Jeff Faine said. "Most of the time, I don't even know who's back there. I'm not even looking in the huddle.

"For him to say we blocked differently when he's in the game, I think that's pretty far from the truth. He's still a friend of mine, and it's unfortunate he's decided to go this way and say the things he's saying. But we didn't block any differently with him in there than we did with any other running back."

Ward spent five seasons with the Giants, rushing for 1,025 in his final one, before signing a four-year, $17 million deal with the Bucs in March 2009. Last season, he rushed for 409 yards and one touchdown then was released Aug. 31. In four games as Houston's backup to Arian Foster, he has 14 carries for 84 yards and one touchdown.

Bucs RB Cadillac Williams took particular offense to one comment. Ward said, "I feel like I went straight from New York to Houston," suggesting he has blocked out his season in Tampa.

"I'm not surprised he would say something like that," Williams said. "The guy is a good friend, and I wish him the best. He's happy (in Houston), but I don't know if he really bought into the whole Tampa thing.

"This here is a team sport. So when things aren't going right or aren't going well, the worst thing you can do is start pointing fingers."

ANOTHER OPTION?: With the Bucs looking to involve more backs in the running game, the notion of FB Earnest Graham getting a few more carries can't be dismissed.

The attention has been focused mostly on Kareem Huggins and rookie LeGarrette Blount, but Graham is a potential option with converted defensive end Erik Lorig now working at fullback. The Bucs also have a backup fullback in Chris Pressley.

Still, Graham said he hasn't been told anything about a change in his role.

"I don't have a sense about anything," Graham said. "I know things change. Blount looked good (Sept. 26 against Pittsburgh). You've got to find a way to get him some carries."

But Graham has experienced the unexpected before and knows anything is possible. In 2007, he went from the third-string tailback to the starter after injuries mounted.

"I don't really think about it. I'm having a good time," he said. "I'm helping coach up Blount. All I know is that in the flow of the game, things happen. And we have 13 games left. I'm just here to serve in any capacity they want."

TIME FOR BENNETT: As the Bucs look to increase the heat on opposing quarterbacks, they might turn to DE Michael Bennett, who has been inactive for the first three games.

The former Texas A&M standout appeared in seven games for the Bucs last season after being claimed off waivers from Seattle on Oct. 12. But he had some flashes during the preseason, leading them with two sacks and showing good burst off the ball.

Bennett has played mostly at left end, but he has worked at right end and, occasionally, as an interior pass rusher.

Times staff writer Rick Stroud contributed to this report. Stephen F. Holder can be reached at

Former Tampa Bay Buccaneers running back Derrick Ward criticizes team 10/07/10 [Last modified: Thursday, October 7, 2010 9:32pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Why Ryan Fitzpatrick may solve the puzzle for Bucs at backup quarterback


    Ryan Fitzpatrick will have to leave One Buc Place following Thursday’s off-season workout and fly home to New Jersey in time to teach a class of 10 second and third grade students how to solve the Rubiks Cube.

  2. For starters: Rays vs. Angels, with Cobb leading the way


    Rays veteran RHP Alex Cobb had a lot to say Monday about the team needing to focus on getting past .500 and building a winning record.

    And after the disappointing 3-2 loss that …

    Alex Cobb will start tonight when the Rays play the Angels.
  3. Family a driving force for University of Tampa pitcher David Lebron


    TAMPA — For University of Tampa junior pitcher David Lebron, baseball reminds him of family. He uses it to help honor the memory of his father, who taught him the game. One day, he hopes his career can help support his mother and allow her to rest.

    University of Tampa junior pitcher David Lebron (Courtesy of University of Tampa)
  4. L.A. delay could re-open Super Bowl chance for Tampa in 2021


    Construction delays on the NFL's new stadium in Los Angeles mean the Rams and Chargers won't be playing there until 2020, a year later than expected, and the ripple effect could give Tampa another …

    Tampa and Raymond James Stadium last hosted a Super Bowl in 2009, when the Pittsburgh Steelers edged the Arizona Cardinals.
  5. Bucs' Gerald McCoy, Jameis Winston honored in NFL top 100


    Helping fans pass time through the offseason each summer, NFL Network has been unveiling its top 100 players for 2017 as chosen by the players, and the Bucs' Gerald McCoy and Jameis Winston are the first Tampa Bay players revealed, coming in at No. 52 and 57, respectively.

    Bucs quarterback Jameis WInston and defensive tackle Gerald McCoy, shown in the 2016 season finale against the Panthers, have both been named to the NFL Network's top 100 players for 2017.