Their goal is to see each other again in January. In hopeful preparation for that showdown, the Bucs and Dolphins have added a second meeting this preseason.
Tampa Bay will trek to South Florida late next month for three days of workouts, capped by a July 29 scrimmage against Miami, tentatively scheduled for 4 p.m. at the Orange Bowl. The Bucs and Dolphins also will close their preseasons against one another Aug. 25 at Orlando's Citrus Bowl.
The scrimmage is scheduled for the Orange Bowl, Miami's former home, due to a conflict with a Florida Marlins game at Joe Robbie Stadium. The Dolphins also are attempting to re-establish a presence in the southern half of Dade County, an area they once considered their fan base.
Tampa Bay, which will open its 20th training camp July 21 at the University of Tampa, will work out with the Dolphins at their training camp in Davie on July 27-28 and scrimmage its intra-state rival for the second time in three preseasons. The teams will not meet during the regular season.
What began in winter and wound through spring is now nearing completion in summer. The long-awaited, much-debated closing of the sale of the Bucs to Malcolm Glazer is expected in the next two or three days.
Bucs general manager Rich McKay said Tuesday he anticipates the club will officially change ownership sometime this week. After getting NFL approval for the sale in mid-March, Glazer, the Bucs and Glazer's financing package have run into a series of delays.
Originally the closing was scheduled for mid-April. But by finishing the sale this week, the Bucs and Glazer still will beat the deal's mid-July closing deadline.
Playing for nothing
He is unsigned, but not uninvolved. Bucs receiver Courtney Hawkins, who began and ended last season on injured reserve, has not missed a day of the three-week minicamp at One Buc Place.
Hawkins and starting fullback Anthony McDowell are both present despite being the team's last two unsigned restricted free agents. Hawkins, for one, is contemplating anything but a holdout.
"I would hope not," he said Tuesday. "I'm here now, having fun, and this is what I love to do. I don't want to hold out. Hopefully things won't go that far. I want to be here July 19 (the first day of precamp minicamp). I love it here. I was drafted here. They showed some confidence in me by picking me. I would love to finish my career here."
The signings of Hawkins and McDowell are not imminent, McKay said, but he predicted neither will turn into holdout situations. "We will definitely get them done before training camp," McKay said. "This would be a nice week to do it."
"(McDowell and I) talk about it, that we're the only stragglers still out there right now," Hawkins said. "We haven't made a wager, but I told him he might beat me in."
_ DON BANKS