Gruden waits for Plummer no more

PALM BEACH — It appears even Bucs coach Jon Gruden has given up on the possibility of Jake Plummer reconsidering his retirement plans.

"He's retired, man," Gruden said of the estranged Plummer on Wednesday, the final day of the league's owners meetings.

Plummer, 33, was acquired from the Broncos in March 2007 but has never reported, maintaining his intent is to retire. Gruden made at least one visit to Plummer's home in Idaho in hopes of influencing him to return.

But after Wednesday's comments, Gruden seems resigned.

"We tried, that's all I can say," Gruden said. "I think still he's one of the top quarterbacks on the planet, personally. I think his performance (and) his won-loss record speaks for itself. We traded a seventh-round draft choice basically for Jake Plummer and unfortunately he's decided to stay retired."

The Bucs aren't completely done with him, however.

The team filed a grievance in August to try to recover about $7-million in previously paid bonus money that is applicable to the unfulfilled portion of his contract. Tampa Bay inherited the provisions of his contract in the trade. The case is expected to be heard in arbitration later this year.

NO PLAYOFF CHANGES: The Bucs got their wish Wednesday when a league proposal to alter the playoff seeding format was defeated.

The competition committee, at the request of commissioner Roger Goodell, sought to make late-season games more competitive by ensuring teams that qualified early for the playoffs had further incentive to win remaining games. The measure would have kept first-round byes and home games for the teams with the two best records in each conference, but would have arranged seeds Nos. 3-6 according to overall record.

That would have created the potential for a division winner to play a first-round game on the road against a wild-card club — an issue that did not go over well.

After a brief debate, the committee took an informal poll by a show of hands. It was immediately clear the proposal was going nowhere and a formal vote never happened.

"There weren't a lot of hands up," said committee co-chair Rich McKay, the Falcons' president. "That required us to go ahead and withdraw the proposal for now."

Other methods of accomplishing the goal will be considered for future debate.

"I asked the committee what other alternatives do we have to make sure that every game we have is as competitive as possible and we give incentive for teams to win?" Goodell said. "That's what we're focused on."

ODDS, ENDS: In other legislative matters, teams voted in favor of eliminating the 5-yard face mask penalty and "force-out" rule on pass completions while expanding instant replay to include field goals and extra-point attempts.

Also approved was an amendment to trade rules that will require players who have previously agreed to sign a renegotiated contract with new teams do so within 72 hours of the deal's approval. If not, the trade can be reversed.

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

Gruden waits for Plummer no more 04/02/08 [Last modified: Monday, April 7, 2008 3:25pm]

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