Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Anticipating a New Home

Bucs Head Coach Jon Gruden expects to report to work at his usual pre-dawn time on Sunday morning…but at a brand new address that will have a huge impact on his team’s future

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The Bucs' new state-of-the-art facility? Yeah, you can just about see it from here

It may seem almost ridiculous to suggest this, but Jon Gruden might want to get out of bed a few minutes earlier on Sunday morning.

You see, he might need the extra time to find his new office.

Gruden reports to work every day while most of us in the same time zone are still in the clutches of R.E.M. sleep. Does he really need to set his infamous alarm any earlier on Sunday? Of course not. But if he wants to adjust his schedule to be sitting at his desk at the same time as usual, then he'll have to adjust to the fact that his office is not where he last left it.

Gruden and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are about to move into their new, state-of-the-art training facility located just east of Raymond James Stadium. After a Friday split between the team hotel and MacDill Air Force Base and a game at the stadium on Saturday, the schedule calls for Gruden and his staff to invade the new facility on Sunday. The head coach himself won't see the sun rising over the five-story football that marks the facility's entrance; he'll be in well before dawn.

And everything he sees will be new to him.

"No, I have not [been there yet]," he admitted on Wednesday, with his team still at training camp in Central Florida. "I've wanted from the very beginning to be excited and surprised by everything. I've told the players that this is a rumor, this is really a library that's not for you guys. I just want to be surprised and I refuse to listen when people talk about it. I'll see it with my own two eyes when we get back. Once again, I'm as excited as the players are."

The excitement level was dialed up a notch Tuesday night when General Manager Bruce Allen stopped by the team meeting at the Celebration Hotel and filled everyone in on the imminent move into their new digs. It's safe to say the players are ready to bid farewell to One Buccaneer Place.

"That went over well last night," said Gruden. "I think Bruce got a standing ovation when he left. That's why he doesn't talk to the team that much unless he has really good news. We're very excited and again very appreciative of the Glazers for the extent that they went to in building this facility. It's going to be the best in all of sports and we're very fortunate."

It is always exciting to move into a new home, especially when you're moving up. Maybe the place has an extra room for the new baby, or an office for mom, or a game room for the kids. The Bucs will have plenty of room in there 145,000-square-foot home, and they expect the place to make some very real contributions to their future success.

"When you think about rehabbing players at One Buccaneer Place, as opposed to a state-of-the-art rehab center, that will help the football team," mused Gruden. "When you think about installing game plans in a theater-type atmosphere as opposed to a box, that's going to help. I think your meetings will have every reason to be better. The weight room? You've got to be kidding me. The training facility for these guys to improve their strength and flexibility is 10 times greater [than before].

"That's why people are building these facilities. It also helps build camaraderie. These players have somewhere to go on their day off where they can study tape. Years past around here, we haven't had a chance to let players come in on their day off during the season even to study film, because there are no rooms to study tape. I could keep going on and on but this state-of-the-art complex is going to certainly help us and give us every reason to improve."

Still, it will be strange to leave venerable One Buc behind. That address has been the team's home for not only Gruden's four-and-a-half years at the helm but the entire 31-year history of the franchise…until now. With the demands of training camp and the onset of preseason games, Gruden said he hasn't had time to think about what will happen to the team's former home now.

He quickly thought of a suggestion, however:

"We'll just leave it there and make that the visiting quarters for the opposition when they come in."

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