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Tampa Bay Buccaneers expect some TV blackouts

TAMPA — Bryan Glazer looked around at the animated crowd at Raymond James Stadium and smiled, taking pride in the turnout for a Bucs open practice Saturday night that filled about half of the venue's lower bowl.

But the team's co-chairman didn't attempt to mask reality: filling RJS on game day remains a chore despite a team that has Glazer thinking big.

"We're hoping (for sellouts) this year," Glazer said. "Obviously, the economy here is still in bad shape in the Tampa Bay area. But we think as the team wins and we move forward and the plan continues, the fans will start coming back."

Asked about the early signs from single-game ticket sales, which began Friday, Glazer said: "There's an increase, obviously, with the popularity of the two night games (Oct. 3 against the Colts and Dec. 17 against the Cowboys). But there's still a ways to go."

That seemed to be his way of saying blackouts remain likely one year after the Bucs were the only team in the NFL to see all of their home games blacked out on local television. Per NFL rules, games that do not sell out at least 72 hours before kickoff are not shown in the local market.

But Glazer, like the rest of the organization, continues to stress long-term objectives. He believes the team is on pace to accomplish its goals.

"We got the pieces we needed," he said. "We keep adding to it, and we have a young team that's going to be good for a long, long time."

Equally important is selling the fan base on the plan, which includes building through the draft and eschewing free agents who might be a quick fix.

"I think (fans) saw what happened at the end of last year," Glazer said, referring to the 10-6 season and playoff push that fell just short. "I think there are some people waiting to see what happens this year, but the plan continues to roll along. Each day, more and more people buy into it."

Many such people showed up Saturday.

"The turnout is fantastic," Gla­zer said. "Look at all these people on a Saturday night. We're having a good time. We're trying to make the team as accessible as we possibly can to all the people in the community, whether you can afford to come to a game or not. They're still a Buccaneer fan."

McCOY HELD OUT: DT Gerald McCoy's injured right shoulder is not a big concern, but the team was cautious enough to hold him out.

McCoy strained his right rotator cuff during Friday's practice but participated in the walkthrough Saturday morning.

The third overall pick in 2010 declined to give specifics, saying only, "Tell them you shook my hand and he was fine."

Coach Raheem Morris indicated the team wants to limit McCoy's exposure to contact.

"He's practice to practice, day to day," Morris said. "We'll check on him and see what's going on with the banging and stuff like that."

ROCKY TOP: Former Tennessee QB Jonathan Crompton already has been under the throwing wing of two of the NFL's best passers, the Chargers' Phillip Rivers and the Patriots' Tom Brady.

Now he will get a chance to learn from the Bucs' Josh Freeman after signing a three-year deal Friday.

Crompton, a fifth-round pick by San Diego in 2010, spent time on the Chargers' and Patriots' practice squad last season.

"I was learning behind (Rivers) and then (Brady), so it's two of the best in the game right now," Crompton said. "It was a good experience, but now it's time to move on and have another opportunity. That's part of the business, and I'm just looking forward to getting in here and having fun."

Crompton is expected to compete with Rudy Carpenter for the No. 3 spot. Josh Johnson is entrenched as the No. 2 but is in the final year of his contract.

Soccer sale? The Glazer family is preparing to sell up to a quarter of Manchester United, its English soccer team, in a move that could raise more than $654.5 million, London's Daily Mirror reported. The sale would enable it to reduce its debt of about $818.2 million that currently costs it about $73.6 million per year in interest.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers expect some TV blackouts 08/06/11 [Last modified: Wednesday, August 10, 2011 4:44pm]
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