Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Rain Delay (August 22)

The Bucs were pushed off schedule, but only slightly, by a sudden storm Tuesday


S Damien Robinson took his normal turn with the starting defense on Tuesday

As it turned out, Tuesday was a wash, not a washout, for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Scheduled to practice from approximately 2:00 to 4:00 p.m. Tuesday afternoon, the Bucs were delayed by a very intense, if brief, summer storm that featured lightning in very close proximity. After getting in a few punt drills, the team sprinted off the field about 10 minutes into the workout.

From there, they went into the classroom, and made the time count. The team was scheduled to watch film of their opponent's last game after practice, anyway, so the change in schedule didn't amount to much of a real delay. After the storm had passed, the team took the field again.

Among those testing the wet turf after the rainstorm were safety Damien Robinson, T Jason Odom and CB Floyd Young. All are returning from injuries of varying lengths.

Odom was the great experiment on Tuesday. He had not practiced since July 25 thanks to continuing pain in his lower back, where he had undergone surgery last November. After Odom experiencing significant progress last week, he was slated to return to near full participation in practice on Tuesday, and the Bucs stuck to that course of action.

"It was kind of the plan to go through the individual period and nine-on-seven, the run work, and he got through that okay," said Head Coach Tony Dungy. "We'll see how he is tomorrow. Hopefully, he doesn't have a setback, and if not, that would be encouraging. The big test will be tomorrow morning when he comes in and we see how he feels.

If he feels the same tomorrow as he did today, then we'll do a little bit more."

On the other hand, Dungy wasn't so sure that Odom would progress enough to play on Friday. "That's a little premature," he said. "I doubt that he would play. We're going to see how it is and see how he progresses. But right now, I would say it's doubtful."

Robinson, however, is expected to play on Friday and his work on Tuesday made that seem likely. Robinson took his normal turn in all team drills and felt no pain in the hamstring that had shelved him on the first practice of training camp, August 24.

"I feel real good today," said Robinson, still breathing hard from some extra wind sprints he self-prescribed after the practice was over. "Basically, I just wanted to get in there and take some reps and try to do something on it. It felt real good, for the most part."

Dungy saw his starting free safety on the field, a welcome sight for a team that has since lost both its second and third-string players at that position, Dexter Jackson (ankle) and Shevin Smith (toe).

"He did well," said Dungy of Robinson. "That's a good sign for us. Hopefully, he's going to be okay. He got through all the drills fine, took his regular work.

"I think we'll probably do him like we did Mike (Alstott) when he came back (on Sunday). We'll set a prescribed number of plays, probably 20.

Robinson was in good spirits and was confident he would be fully back in stride soon.

"I've done a little conditioning," he said of his down time. "It's different when you get out there with the pads on and everybody running around and trying to get off blocks. I was just trying to get back into football, the physical part of the game."

Robinson said the only thing he was really missing was that 'extra gear', that second level of speed that many athletes believe they can kick into. "I haven't got the turbos yet," he said.

Maybe by Friday. In any case, he'll be back on the grass, patrolling centerfield and happy for it.

"Sitting on the sidelines has been kind of frustrating, watching guys go to war without you," he said. "I think right now I'm ready to go out there and play."

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