TAMPA — Bucs LB Barrett Ruud remains upset about his contract status, and the team's three-time leading tackler briefly considered walking out of training camp over the weekend on the advice of his representatives.
Ruud broke his silence Monday, saying he is disappointed about the team's decision not to sign him to a long-term contract extension despite giving holdout LT Donald Penn a six-year deal.
Ruud was described by people close to him as furious over the situation, primarily because the team led him to believe in spring 2009 that he would get an extension. An offer never came and Ruud staged an offseason holdout last summer as he went into the final season of his rookie deal.
Monday, Ruud said, "You'd like to think your results speak for themselves. I think I've played pretty good for 48 games. … You always want to be rewarded for your performance. That's kind of the bottom line."
Ruud briefly wrestled with leaving after reporting Friday but decided it was too out of character. It's unclear if he might reconsider.
"As of now," he said, "I'm just here working. Kind of doing what I've always done. … I'm going to keep letting my performance talk for me. Whatever happens, happens."
Ruud will be an unrestricted free agent after the season and the likelihood of him signing elsewhere has probably increased.
RBs SQUARE OFF: The Bucs failed in several efforts last season to systematically divide carries among the running backs.
This season, coach Raheem Morris says the club is going back to basics: competition.
Gone is the 2-2-1 approach, in which the Bucs attempted to divide carries with two series for one back, two series for the next and one series for a third back.
Morris said the decisions this fall will be based strictly on performance. Cadillac Williams remains likely to get the majority of the carries, but Derrick Ward can close the gap.
"Now I think the carries are going to be dictated by the hot back," Morris said. "I think the carries are going to be dictated by the guy who's in there getting it done. I think these guys will both have the opportunity to run the football like every team in the league that has two running backs. That's who we are. Ward's come into camp and had a couple of good runs today. He's getting better and better every day. And I think Cadillac's ready to fight. Those guys want to fight for carries and that's a good thing."
But Morris concedes Williams has a special place with the franchise given his rookie feats (he set an NFL rookie record in his first four games) and his battles back from a pair of torn patellar tendons. That, combined with his superior performance in 2009, when he was the club's leading rusher, give him the edge. Williams returned to practice after leaving Sunday with a twisted ankle.
"Caddy has done a lot of things around here," Morris said. "He's done a lot of special things for us.
"He's got some more money in the emotional bank account here in Tampa. Derrick's got to earn a little bit more of that. … He can certainly make a few deposits into the emotional bank account as well if he's able to pick up a few first downs."
RED ZONE READY: Much of the two practices were spent working in the red zone, where the Bucs hope to score more frequently in 2010.
In the morning, QB Josh Freeman had a couple of touchdown passes, but Morris doesn't consider the situation all or nothing.
"(Freeman) had a couple big throws today," Morris said. "Down there, it's all about touchdowns and checkdowns and getting completions and trying to get points. So, the lack of turnovers is really what I was really impressed with. That's where we've got to go when we get in the red zone. We have to get points."