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Bucs still playing coy about Gerald McCoy

The Pro Bowl defensive tackle was told not to bother coming to the off-season program, but nobody is talking about him

TAMPA — Bucs coach Bruce Arians said last month he wanted to continue to evaluate Gerald McCoy, who still appears to be a candidate to be cut or traded.

“It’s very hard because we can’t get in pads,” Arians said at the NFL owner’s meetings. "You still see it. You still see his enthusiasm for the game. If he still has all that, I’m fine. As a coach, I coach who I’ve got. I coach the guys that are there.”

McCoy isn’t in the Bucs off-season workout program. One reason is that Arians told him not to attend.

So how can Arians evaluate a player who isn’t on the practice field?

"You know, there’s other ways to evaluate a player,'' general manager Jason Licht said Tuesday. "I mean, Gerald is not here. But there’s plenty of players around the league that aren’t at this voluntary part of the off-season and Gerald is the last person I would worry about. He’s a consummate pro. He’s always been one. He’s always worked very hard.''

When asked why Arians told McCoy not to attend the off-season program, something he probably didn’t plan to do anyway, Licht said, "That you’d have to ask Bruce.''

One thing becomes more clear each day: McCoy won’t be with the Bucs in 2019. When asked if the team planned to trade McCoy, Licht said, "That’s a hypothetical. Right now we’re focused on the draft.

"You know, I talked about Gerald at the combine, I answered some questions at the owner’s meetings. There really hasn’t been any developments. I mean, Gerald is on our football team. I was hopefully going to keep this to pre-draft questions.''

Contact Rick Stroud at Follow @NFLStroud