TE Patrick Hape (middle) re-signed in time to join teammates Dave Moore (left) and Mike Alstott at the first meeting of training camp
There will be no countdowns in the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' training camp, no press room lists of unsigned players. Once again, the Bucs will concentrate strictly on football in camp, with no holdouts to offer distractions.
General Manager Rich McKay had asserted that would be the case for some time, but it wasn't officially true until Sunday afternoon, when the team revealed agreements that had been reached with rookie guard Cosey Coleman and fourth-year tight end Patrick Hape.
Coleman agreed to terms on a four-year deal while Hape signed the one-year tender offer extended to him in February as a restricted free agent.
Coleman was the last of the team's five draft picks to come to terms, Hape the last of a long list of returning free agents to come back into the fold. By early Sunday afternoon, the Buccaneers had all 88 players signed and ready to begin camp, which they did with a 3:00 p.m. meeting called by Head Coach Tony Dungy.
Coleman, taken 51st overall in the second round of April's NFL draft, was Tampa Bay's first selection after the team had traded both of its first-round picks to the New York Jets in exchange for Pro Bowl WR Keyshawn Johnson. The Bucs also traded up in that second round, relinquishing a fourth-round pick to Carolina, in order to secure Coleman. He is listed third on the Bucs' depth chart at both right and left guard.
Hape, originally drafted in the fifth round in 1997, assumed the Buccaneers' number-two tight end slot for the past two years and became an integral part of the team's blocking scheme. A strong lead blocker, Hape has also snared 13 passes for 61 yards and two touchdowns in his three NFL campaigns. Last year at Seattle (11/28), Hape was on the receiving end of quarterback Shaun King's first career touchdown pass.
To make room for Hape on the Bucs' 88-man roster (the team is allowed to exceed the 80-man training camp roster limit thanks to eight exemptions earned by NFL Europe League players), Tampa Bay also announced the release/injury settlement of long-snapper Mitch Palmer. Palmer suffered a season-ending knee injury after four games in 1999 and was replaced in the long-snapping role by Morris Unutoa, who remains with the team.
Tampa Bay's first training camp practice will begin Monday morning at 8:30 a.m. Coleman and Hape will be there with pads on.