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Tampa Bay Buccaneers expected to play regular-season game in London against Chicago Bears

Here's how far the Bucs are willing to go to sell out a home game: more than 4,400 miles to London.

For the second time in three years, Tampa Bay is expected to move a regular-season game from Raymond James Stadium to Wembley Stadium.

While the league would only confirm Tuesday that the Bucs are among the teams being considered to play a regular-season game in London in 2011, they are expected to "host" the Bears when the league releases its regular-season schedule this month.

In 2009, the Bucs lost 35-7 to the Patriots in London during coach Raheem Morris' first season on their way to a 3-13 record.

Bucs spokesman Jonathan Grella referred questions about the possibility of the Bucs playing in London to the NFL office.

"There are many teams under consideration to play in London in 2011," said Mike Signora, NFL vice president of football operations. "We look forward to an announcement in the days ahead."

Meanwhile, the Chicago Tribune confirmed the Bucs will play the Bears in London.

It's not surprising that the Glazer family, which owns the Bucs, would be receptive to moving a regular-season game from Tampa to London. The Glazers own the Manchester United soccer club in England, and Tampa Bay was the only team to have all 10 home games blacked out last season.

While season-ticket sales were crisp in January and February, the NFL labor situation and the lackluster economy in Tampa Bay prompted the Glazers to be receptive to another London game. And it's an opportunity for the Bucs to market young stars such as quarterback Josh Freeman, receiver Mike Williams and defensive tackle Gerald McCoy to a national and international audience.

"I have no problem with that," said Bucs backup quarterback Josh Johnson, who made his fourth career start in London. "If they fixed the playing field, it would be something nice. But the field was unsafe. It's a soccer field, and players were slipping all over the place. Of course, I'd much rather play the game in Tampa, but I guess it is what it is."

Players' attorneys meet with judge

MINNEAPOLIS — Attorneys for NFL players met with the federal magistrate who will oversee court-ordered mediation with the league as the lockout reached one month and counting.

Attorneys and Hall of Fame defensive end Carl Eller sat with U.S. Magistrate Judge Arthur Boylan in a session that lasted well into the afternoon. All declined comment.

NFL attorneys are set to meet with Boylan today before mediation begins Thursday.

U.S. District Judge Susan Richard Nelson ordered the mediation and is still considering a request from the players to lift the lockout.

Information from Times wires was used in this report.

Preseason foes

If the NFL resolves its labor crisis, the Bucs will have an interesting slate of preseason games.

The NFL preseason schedule was released Tuesday, and the Bucs open with a nationally televised game at Kansas City, followed by home games against the Patriots and Dolphins then at the Redskins.

The opener Aug. 12 at Kansas City will air nationally on Fox (Ch. 13). Exact dates for the remaining games will be released later.

• Aug. 12: at Kansas City

• Week 2 (Aug. 18-22): New England

• Week 3 (Aug. 25-28): Miami

• Week 4 (Sept. 1-2):

at Washington

Tampa Bay Buccaneers expected to play regular-season game in London against Chicago Bears 04/12/11 [Last modified: Wednesday, April 13, 2011 11:14am]
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