The activation of QB Luke McCown gives the Bucs a third healthy passer for game days
A pair of roster moves on Friday will give the Tampa Bay Buccaneers three healthy quarterbacks on the roster for the first time since Chris Simms suffered a spleen injury on September 24.
The Bucs placed Simms on injured reserve, the expected move but one that ensures the team's opening-day starter will not play again in 2006. However, the QB position was also bolstered on Friday when Luke McCown was activated from the reserve/physically unable to perform list. McCown simply takes the roster spot opened by Simms' move to IR.
Simms will now concentrate on recovering from the splenectomy that was performed following his injury against the Carolina Panthers in Week Three.
Through three games, Simms completed 58 of 106 passes for 585 yards, one touchdown and seven interceptions. In 2005, he took over for injured starter Brian Griese after Week Five and led the Bucs to an 11-5 record and the NFC South Championship. Since his injury this season, Simms has been on the game day inactive list each Sunday.
McCown, who was traded to the Buccaneers prior to the 2005 season, originally entered the NFL as a fourth-round draft selection of the Cleveland Browns in 2004. Since the beginning of this season, he has been on the Buccaneers' physically-unable-to-perform list while rehabbing his surgically repaired right knee. McCown was injured during a practice in June.
Players who open the season on the PUP list are not eligible to return to the active roster until six weeks of the season have passed. At that point, teams are given a 21-day period to evaluate the player before choosing whether to place him back on the active roster or put him on the injured reserve list. Over the past few weeks, the third-year quarterback has continued to show marked improvement with regards to his knee and should provide depth at the quarterback position behind starter Bruce Gradkowski.
Last season, McCown served as a backup quarterback on the Buccaneers roster, and the previous year he played in five games, starting four with the Browns. During that stretch, McCown completed 48 of 98 passes for 608 yards, four touchdowns and seven interceptions.
Making Wishes Come True
As a professional running back in the National Football League, Cadillac Williams knows a thing or two about toughness, but Friday after practice he met a true warrior…and in the process made a dream come true.
That's when Williams met Dakota Ford, a 14-year old resident of Crestview who recently overcame a form of bone cancer called Osteosarcoma that caused him to have a hip replacement.
With the help of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Make-A-Wish Foundation, Ford had the opportunity to meet Williams, his football hero, along with several other Buccaneers, including Gradkowski, first-round selection Davin Joseph and Head Coach Jon Gruden.
"He's 14 years old, you know," Gruden said. "He's got a real bad illness, and it's sad. Yet at the same time, you try to give him hope. He got to meet his idol I think today, Cadillac [Williams], which was great. We wish him the best."
As part of his visit, Ford watched practice from the sidelines at One Buccaneer Place, met several players and coaches, received a personal tour of the new facility and enjoyed lunch with Williams.
When asked about his favorite part of the eventful day, Ford said his biggest thrill was just getting the chance to sit next to Williams and eat lunch with the star running back who chatted with him about a variety of topics.
The Make-A-Wish Foundation is a non-profit organization whose mission is to enrich the lives of children with life-threatening medical conditions through its wish-granting work.
The status of all injured Buccaneers players remained unchanged on Friday, Gruden said. Linebacker Shelton Quarles again practiced Friday, but defensive end Simeon Rice and defensive tackle Ellis Wyms sat out for the third straight day.