TAMPA — One day before training camp began, the Bucs approached RT Jeremy Trueblood and gave him a choice: take a $1 million pay cut for 2012 and his base salary becomes guaranteed or be released.
Trueblood took the pay cut.
After hitting his playing-time bonus last season, Trueblood could have earned as much as $5.25 million in salary and incentives this season. His deal now includes a guaranteed $4 million base salary and $250,000 in playing-time incentives, according to information on file with the players union.
Trueblood signed a two-year, $8 million deal before 2011 that included no signing bonus but incentives that could have increased his compensation by $1 million in 2012.
Trueblood, 29, can become an unrestricted free agent in March.
"I think when you're an offensive tackle, if it's uneventful, it's good," coach Greg Schiano said of Trueblood. "So if you're not getting called out for a holding penalty and you're not getting whooped on a pass rush, that's a good thing. I think what he's done has been steady. He's working his tail off; great attitude."
HOT STUFF: The Bucs flag that flies at team headquarters is almost large enough to be seen from space. But with no wind to speak of, it wasn't on full display Friday. Cloud cover was scarce, and Schiano said it felt like the hottest day of camp.
"It was without a doubt the toughest day physically since we've been here," Schiano said. "It was a good day. I was proud of the way they fought through it. It wasn't pretty, but we fought through it."
Schiano has said he wants to make the heat an ally, but it has been an enemy for numerous players as they enter the second week of practice. The former Rutgers coach knows how tough Raymond James Stadium can be on opponents, especially in September.
"I coached in that place when it was just unbearable as an opponent," Schiano said. "We need to get it back to that. I know our performance will help us do that; get fans in there. But get a day like today in September, get a packed house, and you'll see people crack.
"We've just got to make sure we're conditioned to handle it and we can take advantage of it."
Situational work: The Bucs finished practice with situational football during the team period, including several two-minute scenarios.
With the team needing to run out the clock to preserve a slim lead, TE Dallas Clark caught a pass from Josh Freeman, turned it into a big gain and remained inbounds. Then with the offense needing to convert a fourth and 1 near midfield, CB Myron Lewis laid a big hit on rookie RB De'Anthony Curtis, separating him from the ball.
Schiano said it was a clean hit by Lewis, but defensive players aren't supposed to take teammates to the ground.
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"You love it because you love hitting, but we've just got to protect each other," Schiano said. "It's a long year, and I'd rather see that one against Miami than us."
Overall, Schiano liked the two-minute work.
"We're learning, staff and players," he said. "Those situations in four-minute and two-minute, we could spend a whole afternoon on that. We won't, but we could. That's what a coach has to do. He's got to shrink it down to a 20-minute presentation and move on. But it's good stuff."
Participation Updates: DEs Amobi Okoye (knee) and Michael Bennett (undisclosed) did not practice for the second straight day while safeties Ronde Barber and rookie Mark Barron (foot) were limited to individual work. A 16-year veteran, Barber is getting consecutive days with no work during the team period.
LT Donald Penn (strained calf), WR Arrelious Benn (right MCL sprain), CB E.J. Biggers (broken left foot) and DE Da'Quan Bowers (torn Achilles) remain on the physically unable to perform list.
Times staff writer Stephen F. Holder contributed to this report.