Ronde Barber, who did his job extremely well in 2000 with little fanfare, chose the low-profile route after getting a new deal from the Bucs
Befitting the blue-collar approach that typifies each player's approach to the game, neither Ronde Barber nor Jerry Wunsch green-lighted a formal press conference on Tuesday. Barber and Wunsch agreed to terms with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on respective new contracts on Monday, but neither wished to overplay what are in fact key maneuvers for the Bucs.
However, both Barber and Wunsch made themselves available to the assembled media on Tuesday at 2:00 p.m., a Q&A session that was carried live on Buccaneers.com. Taped versions of each player's words, plus some thoughts shared by Head Coach Tony Dungy will be available in the Broadcast Network section later on Tuesday.
Barber and Wunsch were the team's top two remaining free agency priorities heading into this week, as both had been unrestricted free agents on the open market since March 2. Each was free to sign with any team in the NFL, but both had openly expressed a desire to remain in Tampa, if possible. Those wishes were fulfilled on Monday with a six-year pact for Barber and a five-year deal for Wunsch.
Workout Attendance Soars
Voluntary and informal workouts continued on the One Buccaneer Place practice fields on Tuesday. In facts, the ranks of players participating in the work has swelled even larger this week after an already impressive first few days.
Among the players getting extra work in with their coaches on Tuesday were:
- Running backs Rabih Abdullah, Mike Alstott, Charles Kirby and Aaron Stecker;
- Wide receivers Reidel Anthony, Jacquez Green, Keyshawn Johnson, Frank Murphy and Karl Williams;
- Tight ends Dave Moore, Damian Vaughn and Todd Yoder;
- Quarterbacks Joe Hamilton, Brad Johnson and Ted White;
- Offensive linemen Cosey Coleman and DeMarcus Curry;
- Defensive linemen Chartric Darby, Marcus Jones, Anthony McFarland, John McLaughlin, Simeon Rice, Warren Sapp, Ron Warner and Steve White;
- Linebackers Derrick Brooks, Jeff Gooch, Shelton Quarles and Jude Waddy;
- Defensive backs Antonious Bonner, David Gibson, John Lynch, Anthony Midget and Eric Vance.
Each group worked under the watchful eye of a position coach, and most concentrated on specific skill drills. For instance, after throwing a few rounds worth of timing routes with the receivers on hand, Hamilton, Johnson and White removed themselves to a different corner of the field and worked on various footwork drills with coach Jim Caldwell.
Elsewhere, Offensive Line Coach Chris Foerster barked out snap calls to help Coleman and Curry practice firing off the line, then lined the two young players up against each other for some drive-blocking work. New Defensive Backs Coach Mike Tomlin used the early part of the workout to drill his players on sudden changes of direction, an obviously important area for members of the secondary.
The Amsterdam Admirals of the NFL Europe League continued to use the far field behind One Buc Place for their training camp practices, but a few of the Bucs had annexed a portion of that surface for their own work. And really, who was going to argue with the fearsome foursome of Sapp, Jones, McFarland and Rice?
Those four first-rounders, who many believe will form the league's most dangerous pass rush in 2001, were together on the practice field for the first time on Tuesday. Coach Rod Marinelli started them with some drills involving tackling dummies, then had them practice their rush moves against each other.
The voluntary workouts the Buccaneers are currently engaged in resemble the early portion of an in-season practice. Generally, during mini-camps, training camps or the season, the team begins with individual position drills before drawing offensive and defensive units together for seven-on-seven or team drills. Here in April, when mandatory practices are not allowed by the NFL, the players who voluntarily show up are concentrating on technique basics, in order to lay a groundwork for the formal work that lies ahead.