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Tampa Bay Buccaneers rookie receiver Mike Williams works with starters

TAMPA — Rookie Mike Williams wasn't the first receiver taken by the Bucs in the last draft, but he is the first to earn a spot with the starting offense in training camp.

Williams, a fourth-round pick from Syracuse, is working as the starting X receiver (or split end on the line of scrimmage opposite the tight end).

"He's been out there a lot of the time. You also see Sammie Stroughter at the X position," coach Raheem Morris said. "Mike Williams had a dynamic offseason. He's come in, he's done everything we've asked. He's been one of the guys who has caught the ball, he's stood out and he's been standing out since he's been here.

"He's a big, tall, fast guy who can go out there and make plays, and right now he's running with the ones. So he'll have an opportunity to go out there and prove himself in the preseason. Depth charts don't come out until we play Cleveland (the first regular-season game). But right now, he's running with the ones (first team), and he's having a ball and his teammates are having a ball with him."

Arrelious Benn was the first receiver taken by the Bucs in April when they selected him in the second round out of Illinois. But he didn't impress as much in the offseason and has some catching up to do. Both players are expected to figure prominently in the offense this year.

"You don't want to compare him to Mike, because Mike is having a little earlier success than he is," Morris said of Benn. "But he's doing a good job, he's doing everything we've asked. You saw flashes of him at the end of (organized team activities). At the beginning, he struggled, then he got better and better as he practiced."

WEIGHTY ISSUE FOR PENN: A "significant amount" of the $20 million in guarantees in LT Donald Penn's new long-term contract is tied to him keeping his weight under control.

Penn signed a six-year, $48 million deal Saturday and reported. But a key component of the negotiations centered on Penn agreeing to tie a chunk of the payouts to keeping his weight down.

Penn will be weighed six times a year and must keep the scales between 330 and 335 pounds. GM Mark Dominik had said Penn gained 40 pounds during the 2009 season, reportedly reaching between 360 and 380.

Penn says he has lost about 30 pounds since but planned to do it regardless of the directive.

"In January I hired a nutritionist and a trainer," Penn said. "I had that set up before negotiations were set up, before I got tendered, because I wanted to better me as a person and better my health.

"It's not healthy to be this size and be out there in that heat. So I did it for me, because when I get older I want to be able to go out there and run and play basketball with my son (Donald Penn III)."

CADDY TWEAKS A WHEEL: It's always a scary thing when RB Cadillac Williams has to leave practice with the trainer.

Williams suffered a mild sprain ankle midway through Sunday's practice. Morris said Williams will be day to day.

Tight ends Kellen Winslow (knee) and Jerramy Stevens (entering his ninth season) were held out of practice as part of a plan to keep them healthy. Winslow has participated in one of the three workouts. He had his sixth knee surgery in the offseason.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers rookie receiver Mike Williams works with starters 08/01/10 [Last modified: Sunday, August 1, 2010 9:14pm]
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