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Kellen Winslow misses Tampa Bay Buccaneers' first practice

TAMPA — Kellen Winslow, the Bucs' biggest offseason acquisition, did not attend the first day of practice Tuesday.

GM Mark Dominik said the team wasn't surprised Winslow missed the voluntary workout, saying the tight end was taking care of some personal matters and would rejoin the team soon.

Coach Raheem Morris wasn't available.

"It's nothing that the team or our fans should be alarmed about," Dominik said.

QB Luke McCown said Winslow's absence will not be a setback.

"I don't think so, not this early," McCown said. "Kellen is a professional, he's a Pro Bowler, he knows how to get his body ready. I talk with Kellen weekly and make sure we're on the same page."

QB Brian Griese didn't attend either.

SAPP SPEAKS: Ex-Buc Warren Sapp visited One Buc Place Tuesday afternoon, saying he needed a "football fix."

Sapp, now an NFL Network analyst, said a phone conversation with Derrick Brooks last season left him with the impression that Monte Kiffin announcing his departure for the University of Tennessee had "a definite connection" to the defensive collapse in the final four games (all losses).

"I never heard Brooks that distraught on a telephone call, and I've known him since we were 17 years old. We went to the Florida-Georgia game together," Sapp said. "Once I knew he was upset, it had to filter down because that's the way this place is always built. You get your tone from your head man and Brooks was the head of it. He was absolutely out of his rock about it."

Speaking of Brooks, Sapp said it was hard to see how the long-time Bucs leader was let go. "It's an ugly situation for any 30-something dude in this league," he said. "It's just not an opportune time to, you know, be way under the cap or have a number that's not worth worrying about. It's just the economics of the game. … That's the business of the game, but it's hard to see that guy, in this place not be here. Forever and a day, that was the one piece that was going to be here. I mean, I knew my day was coming. But not his."

BACK IN ACTION: LB Angelo Crowell, who missed the 2008 season with the Bills after left knee surgery, said he participated fully in Tuesday's workout and is ready to go. Crowell, who signed as a free agent in the offseason and could become the starter at strongside (replacing Cato June), said seven months of rehab has him healthy and reinvigorated.

QUOTABLE: C Jeff Faine, on all the changes made during the offseason, from coaches, to coordinators, to letting go Brooks:

"You can't help but be shocked with all the changes that have been made. But it's been something that, it was going to eventually have to happen. … A lot of the guys that have been here forever were going to eventually have to move on. (The Bucs) just kind of went with an ax head instead of a scalpel. It's one of those things where you have to drink the Kool-Aid a little bit and jump in with it."

Joe Smith can be reached at joesmith@sptimes.com.

Kellen Winslow misses Tampa Bay Buccaneers' first practice 05/12/09 [Last modified: Wednesday, May 13, 2009 9:52am]
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