Tampa Bay Buccaneers

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The Answer Man, Series 2, Vol. 13

The Buc fans’ inside source ponders how spread out those fans might be, then latches on to questions on such topics as third-round picks, all-time yardage and extra-point shenanigans

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Near the bottom of this week's column you'll see a question from a reader in Maine who simply wanted to know if his location was the northernmost from which I had ever received a question.

Now, you can probably guess that the answer is no; scroll down if you want the specifics. Perhaps if he had restricted the question to just readers in the contiguous U.S. he might have had a shot.

Anyway, I bring this up because I have recently received several more e-mails trying to convince the Answer Man to reveal his origins. I'm sorry, I just don't feel ready to tell that story yet. However, it occurred to me that it might be interesting to find out some of the more unusual places that Buccaneer fans call home.

Where might the northernmost Buc fan actually be? How about the southernmost? How many countries are represented by readers of this column? Who is currently farthest away from what they consider home? Who accesses Buccaneers.com from the most unusual locations – e.g. from the top of a lighthouse or the bottom of an underground base? Who simply thinks their hometown is an unusual place.

Keep sending in questions in the coming weeks, but if you feel like it and you've got a (brief) tale to tell about where you're writing from, send that, too. It might give your question better odds of making it into the next column.

Okay, now on to the questions.

**

  1. Jamie Dyal of Stanford, California asks:

**Dear Glorified One,

Your column has served as a superb tool for procrastination while working on that degree in "undecided". I regretfully must spend the next four hours reading Dostoevsky rather than the voluminous annals of your column, and so I ask these questions without knowing if it has been answered in a previous column. The third round of this year's draft will clearly be an important one in light of our two picks. How have our previous third round picks developed, and on which position have we used the most third round picks? Finally, did we pick Mr. Irrelevant after we won Super Bowl XXXVII? Thanks, and may all your Christmases be pewter and red.**

Answer Man: This was, without a doubt, my favorite e-mail of the last week. Did you notice how deftly Jamie tweaked me for my tendency to ramble on just a bit? Good stuff.

Like the actual questions, too. The Bucs have actual made some very nice picks in the third round through the years. To name a few: Charley Hannah, Jerry Eckwood, Scot Brantley, John Cannon, Mark Carrier, Lawrence Dawsey, Mark Wheeler, John Lynch, Donnie Abraham, Frank Middleton, Ronde Barber, Jamie Duncan, Martin Gramatica, Nate Webster, Dwight Smith and Chris Simms. That covers a variety of positions, though probably the most prominent players in the group are Carrier, a receiver; Lynch, a safety; Abraham and Barber, cornerbacks; and Gramatica, a kicker.

The most notable third-round misses would be LB Steve Maughan in 1976 (the only third-rounder in team history never to appear on a Buccaneer regular-season roster), DE Reggie Lewis in 1979, CB Fred Acorn in 1984, NT Dan Sileo in 1988 (actually a 1987 supplemental pick), TE Harold Bishop in 1994 (although the team recovered from that one magnificently by trading Bishop to Cleveland in exchange for the second-round pick that was used to draft Mike Alstott) and WR Marquise Walker in 2002.

Seems like more notable booms then busts, so you can justify getting excited about the Bucs' two third-rounders this year. That's especially true if the team decides to use one on a cornerback. Since the team began drafting players to fit Monte Kiffin's defensive style in 1996, the Bucs' best third-round picks have been cornerbacks – Abraham, Barber and Smith. Throw in Brian Kelly, a second-rounder, and you can see that Tampa Bay's coaches and scouts have come to a very good understanding as to what type of cornerbacks this defense needs. Director of College Scouting Ruston Webster made that very point just a few days ago, actually.

By the sheer numbers, the Bucs have most often picked linebackers in the third round, with a total of six. Cornerbacks come in second with five and receivers are third with four.

The Buccaneers did not pick Mr. Irrelevant in the 2003 draft thanks to those insidious "compensatory picks." These picks, awarded to teams following the third through seventh rounds based on net free agency losses, do not conform to the 1-32 order of the rest of the draft. Thus, Super Bowl winning teams are always slotted last in each round, but there are usually a good 10-15 compensatory picks following the last "normal" pick of the seventh round. In 2003, Oakland owned the last pick (and compensatory picks cannot be traded, by the way) and used it on wide receiver Ryan Hoag from Gustavus Adolphus.

All that being said, the defending-champion Patriots will come away with Mr. Irrelevant this year. They were awarded the last compensatory pick this year, number 255.

By the way, I got my Earth degree in "undecided," too. I mean, it was called "communications" at my school but, practically speaking, is there a difference?

**

  1. Joe of Tampa, Florida asks:

**This question might be a little obnoxious, but hey.... What is the all-time total offensive yardage for the Buccaneers? Basically, how many yards have we gained as a franchise? You want trivia? Answer that with no guide! HA! ----- Also, where do we stand as far as yards we've given/gained? Are we still in positive yardage or have we given more than we've gained.... Just trying to keep things fresh after a noticeably thin week of questions.

Thanks.**

Answer Man: I don't really find that question obnoxious. The gratuitous ellipses, dashes and blank spaces...yeah, maybe a little obnoxious. The question itself is just fine, though.

Despite my voluminous memory, I do not have the total number of yards gained and allowed in Buccaneer history memorized. I do know how to look it up in under 10 seconds, though. Before I give you the answers, to your question I must say: "Still?"

Are we "still" in positive yardage? This franchise started out by losing its first 26 games (expansion was much tougher in the 1970s); when exactly do you think we were in positive yardage? As successful as the Bucs have been over the last decade or so, particularly in preventing yards, we still have a big deficit from the early years to overcome.

How big? The Buccaneers as a team have gained 130,186 yards over 29 seasons. Over the same span, they have surrendered 141,596 yards on defense. That's a negative difference of 11,410 yards.

That might not seem like much, but it would take a while to overcome.

In 2002, on their way to the Super Bowl, the Buccaneers gained 5,002 yards and allowed 4,044. That's close enough that we could round it to 5,000 gained and 4,000 allowed. If the Bucs had a year that good – and it should be noted that the offense ranked only 24th that year, so the team could have a better year in terms of differential if the defense stays as good – each season for the next 11 seasons, they would just about erase the deficit. Few teams have ever sustained that kind of success for a whole decade, so the chances are that it will take a bit longer.

By the way, because people like this kind of thing, the total yards gained by the Bucs in 29 regular seasons is equivalent to just under 74 miles. So, in other words, Tampa Bay's offense has basically driven the distance from Tampa to Orlando.

**

  1. Matthew of Sydney, Australia asks:

What is a Buccaneer?

Answer Man: Hey, uh, Matt...just asking...you do see that whole skull-and-crossed-swords-and-red-flag motif, right? You see the ship? The one up there in the upper left corner of the site? The one sitting in the North end zone at Raymond James Stadium? The one on the sleeve of every Buccaneer jersey?

You've seen the mascot, right? Captain Fear? He's a captain. He's got the whole beard, bandanna and drawstring pants look going.

Do you remember the old logo...guy with a knife clenched in his teeth? Do you know where I'm going with all of this?

A buccaneer is a pirate, of course. You could call him a specific subset of the pirate genre, one that has some relevance to Tampa because the Buccaneers sailed (and plundered) the gulf and the Caribbean. The specific name comes from a group of pirates that ended up more or less stranded on the island of Hispaniola. They adopted some of the ways of life from the natives on the island, including a specific way of curing and cooking meat. According to some sources, the knife used in this process was called a "boucan," from which sprung the name of "buccaneers." Those pirates eventually took to the sea again and made buccaneers feared throughout the region. Much like the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are. See?

The name was a natural fit when the Tampa Bay area got its NFL franchise in the mid-70s. The pirate theme is still quite prevalent in Tampa, as evidenced by the hugely popular Gasparilla event every February (think Mardi Gras in Florida).

So, like we said, a Buccaneer is a pirate. Glad we could help with that head-scratcher.

**

  1. Danny of Clearwater, Florida asks:

**Dear Answer Man,

If a punt is blocked by the receiving team, and the kicking team catches the ball that was blocked, can the player of the kicking team now run it for a first down?**

Answer Man: Alright, here we go! A good, old-fashioned rulebook question. I was beginning to think y'all didn't care about crazy scenarios anymore. Remember when we used to do whole columns on stuff like this?

This is a relatively easy one, Danny. The answer is yes, as long as the kicking team recovers the ball behind the original line of scrimmage. If a punt is blocked but still goes over the line of scrimmage, then it still behaves like any other punt. That means that a member of the kicking team can recover the ball, but all he will be doing is downing it at that spot. It would still be the receiving team's ball, first down.

I think what you're asking, however, is what can be done when the punt is blocked and it remains in the kicking team's backfield. At that point, yes, anyone on the kicking team can pick it up and run with it. In fact, the punter could pick it up and throw for a first down (to an eligible receiver) if he so desired.

Let's look in the rulebook under Rule 9, Section 1, Article 1. Here's a scenario described by the book:

A.R. 9.1…The kicking team's punt is blocked and the kicker picks up the ball behind the line of scrimmage and throws a forward pass to end A1. Ruling: Legal play (8-1-1).

That 8-1-1 notation, by the way, simply refers to Rule 8, Section 1, Article 1, which is about legal forward passes.

Okay, I guess I shouldn't have worried about rulebook neglect. Here are two more questions regarding kicks gone awry.

**

  1. Matt of New Port Richey, Florida asks:

**OK... to complete the list of possibilities and beat the failed PAT/conversion to death officially...

Say Jay Taylor kicks a PAT attempt, and it is blocked. Can a Buccaneer then pick up the loose ball and run it into the end zone for 2, providing the defending special teams unit does not gain possession?**

Answer Man: I agree with the sentiment of your opening line, Matt. We have beaten this one into critical condition.

You've given us a new scenario, sort of, but the answer remains the same as before: Once a kick is clearly not going to be good, the extra point attempt is over. When Taylor got blocked, the play ended and it didn't matter where the ball went. This is noticeably different from the rule for punts we discussed above.

So that you believe me, I'll reprint a portion of Rule 11, Section 3, Article 1:

(a) If a Try-kick is good, one point is scored. (The conditions of 11-5-1 must be met.) If a kick cannot score, the ball becomes dead as soon as failure is evident.

Rule 11-5-1, by the way, runs down the criteria for a field goal or extra point to be good – not touching the ground after the kick, the whole ball passing through the goal, things like that.

Furthermore, the book describes your scenario in an example in this same section:

An attempted Try-kick is blocked. Offensive A1 recovers behind the line and advances across the goal line or recovers in defensive's end zone. Ruling: No score in either case. The ball is dead as soon as its failure as a kick to score a Try is evident.

Now, Chad below comes at this same question from a slightly different angle, and we do see a way for a player on a kicking team to score two points.

**

  1. Chad Spangler of Tampa, Florida asks:

Oh knowledgeable one, my question may be a stupid one but I shall humbly ask anyway. I am quite clear on your answer to anomalies during extra point attempts as I quote: "At any point that an extra-point try becomes unsuccessful (a turnover above, a blocked kick here), the play is dead." However; my question is: What if a team lined up to kick an extra point, then, faked it and ran it in for a 2 pt. conversion. If this is legal, then why have I never seen it done- or - would a blocked kick recovered by the kicking team (before it hit the ground) and then run into the end zone count as a 2 pt. conversion.

Answer Man: For the last part of your question, Chad, I refer you to the answer above. However, your first scenario is quite legal.

The difference in the two is that a kick is never attempted in the fake you describe. In effect, lining up for a field goal but then running it in is simply running a two-point play from a different formation. The defense thinks you're going to kick, but you're actually going for two.

Why have you never seen this? You're just not watching enough football, Chad! And that's darn near a sin in the Answer household. Your assignment this fall: Watch more football! (Sorry, Mrs. Spangler).

The Answer Man has seen this occur on multiple occasions. The ones that come to mind belong to Dallas kicker Tim Seder a few years back.

Allllrighty…the Answer Man just looked up those Tim Seder plays and found out that they were actually touchdowns. In other words, the Cowboys had lined up for field goals and ran fakes out of that. I looked over the last five years and couldn't find a kicker who had done the same thing on an extra point, so I guess I owe Chad a bit of an apology. It really doesn't happen very often.

But it can! It is perfectly legal. On at least one of those occasions above, the Cowboys snapped the ball directly to the kicker and he ran right up the middle into the end zone. Another way to do it would be to snap the ball to the holder and have the kicker sprint wide, with the holder pitching it to him. That can work because all 11 defenders are usually intent on either pushing the linemen in front of them or jumping as high as possible.

**

  1. Matt of New Port Richey, Florida asks:

**Answer Man, A long time ago, you answered a question having to do with Hall of Fame players, most notably whether a former Buc that goes into the Hall goes in as a Buc. Your reply was that players go in for every team for which they've played, so if, for instance, John Lynch is enshrined, he would be a Buc n' Bronco.

That being said, I think there is a common misconception. I frequently hear Buc great Lee Roy Selmon referred to as "the only Buc in the Hall of Fame". Surely this isn't the case. I would be willing to wager that several players who were at one point Bucs are enshrined, and I know of at least one: Anthony Munoz.

My guess is that the statistic refers to players -drafted- by the Bucs, but even then, that is no longer accurate now that Steve Young is in.

Can you clarify this?**

Answer Man: Not only can I clarify this, I already have. On several occasions. Let's recap.

I first addressed this question in Volume 11 back in October – or "a long time ago," as you say. I said at the time that Selmon was our only Hall of Famer, but that any player who had played with the Bucs who eventually makes the Hall would increase the team's total. A player who played for multiple teams represents all of those teams in the Hall; he is not made to choose a specific helmet or logo. I used Tim Brown as my example, but Steve Young would have made a better one.

At the time, Young wasn't in yet, so my statement was accurate. Selmon was the one and only Buc in the hall.

When I wrote that column, I knew but chose not to explain the Munoz situation. Munoz signed with the Buccaneers in 1992 and played in two preseason games. However, he was hurt while playing against Miami and never suited up again. He was not on the Bucs' active, 53-man roster at any point, and thus he does not count. While the Hall of Fame does put Young on the Bucs' list on their web site, it does not include Munoz.

I regretted not stating that at the time, because I got a letter much like yours the following week and I had to address it again in Volume 12, though it did give me an excuse to print an old Munoz story I had been saving. In that follow-up discussion, I did mention Young.

After Young won election into the Hall in January, another fan sent in a question about former Bucs who went on to make the Hall in Series 2, Volume 7. That was basically just a rehashing of the previous discussion, as is this.

Despite your skepticism, Matt, there are no other players who were once Bucs who are now in the Hall of Fame. The entire list is Selmon and Young. Of course, some of us expect that to change down the road, when some of the principles from the Bucs' Super Bowl run become eligible.

**

  1. Graysen of Ft. Myers, Florida asks:

I know that the last name "Owens" is a common last name. After the last series of questions, I decided to look up Morris Owens. The resemblance between Morris & Terrell Owens is quite shocking, in my opinion. As I'm sure you have already guessed my question, I would like to know if these two great WR are related at all. Thank you for even reading this!

Answer Man: Why did I decide to answer this one? I'm not even sure. Maybe just because it's so bizarre.

I mean, I looked at pictures of the two and I sure don't see a "shocking" resemblance. My gut instinct was no, but I thought I'd look it up anyway, because, well, you never know.

Anyway, I think we can pretty safely say the two are not closely related. Terrell Owens, the Eagles' productive and controversial receiver, is the son of Marilyn Heard and Tit Russell, according to the Eagles' media guide. He was born and raised in Alexander City, Alabama, and his Eagle bio quotes him as saying that everyone he knew worked there in town for Russell Athletics, including "my mother, my father, my grandmother, my uncles."

Meanwhile, Morris Owens, the Bucs' first standout receiver, hailed from California and played at Arizona State. He was born in Oakland and called Chowchilla, California his home.

I think it's fair to say the two receivers are not related to each other.

**

  1. Matt of New Port Richey, Florida asks:

Answer Man, Is there any obscure subsection of the rules that permits a player to voluntarily waive the veteran minimum salary? In the case of a player like Jerry Rice, who has literally been playing pro football as long as I have been alive, it seems such a rule could be a big help. He obviously is still a valuable situation receiver, but at his minimum salary, a team could (and most likely would prefer to) sign a pretty good 24-year old free agent.

Answer Man: Full disclosure because I usually don't edit questions beyond correcting spelling typos and occasionally editing for brevity. Matt actually had two questions in his original e-mail, but the second one was more of an idea than a question. (By the way, Matt, I thought the "sliding-scale-cap-hit-for-long-running-veterans" concept had some real merit.)

Besides, you'll see Matt represented in questions in two other spots here, so enough is enough. I normally wouldn't field multiple questions from the same person, in the interest of getting to as many readers as possible, but he sent about a billion of them, and most of them were pretty good.

So on to this question. There is a relatively obscure rule in play here, although it's obscurity does not extend to NFL front offices, which make repeated use of it.

No, a player cannot waive the minimum salary requirement and, as you seem to understand, that minimum salary goes up for each year the player is in the league. So a 10th-year veteran has a minimum salary of, say, $750,000, and he has to be paid at least that much. No exceptions.

That's as far as the rule went in the early years of the Collective Bargaining Agreement, which went into effect in 1993. However, as you also seem to understand, it was perceived as unfair in some instances. If a particular 10th-year veteran can't get a team that will employ him at $750,000 but could get a job if he could make the same amount as the rookie the team is going to employ instead, then why can't he choose to make that lesser amount? Is it fair that the veteran's choices are either zero or $750,000 when he's willing to play for, say, $450,000?

No, it's not fair, and the league realized it. So, while the minimum salaries remain in place, there is now a rule called "minimum salary benefit." You still have to pay that player his 10-year minimum, but he can actually count just $450,000 against the cap. Thus, in an era when every cap dollar is treasured, the 10th-year veteran still gets the benefit of his tenure but isn't squeezed out by it at the same time.

All a team has to do is mark that the contract is a minimum salary benefit contract, and there are no limits as to how many players you can sign under this loophole. One note, the player's contract cannot include more than $25,000 in bonus money, total.

**

  1. Drew of Brandon, Florida asks:

**Answer Man, In your last column you made a correction to an error about the Cardinals. Unfortunately, in question 2, you made another. You said, "You see, the Cardinals did indeed beat St. Louis at the end of the 1977 season, and I fully believe that Ken was there."

I believe that one of two things happened here; either you admit that in those days our beloved Bucs couldn't have beaten anyone without their own help, or you meant to say that the Bucs beat St. Louis at the end of '77.

Could the Answer Man be testing us? Could he be making subtle digs at our early days? Could he just be losing control of his facilities? Please tell us it's all going to be OK, Answer Man!**

Answer Man: Notice that I buried this one deep in the column this time around. I put my failures near the top last time, and what did that get me? More failure! Believe me, if I make a mistake while making a correction to my original correction, it's going to be in font size 4 in a footnote.

Anyway, yes, obviously I meant to say that Buccaneers beat St. Louis at the end of the 1977 season. I received about, oh, 13,000 e-mails regarding this little slip, and I did ask the Buccaneers.com folks to fix it right away, which they did. Still, I won't deny that it was there for a little while.

Let's just not talk about 1977 anymore, okay?

**

  1. Buster of Buffalo, New York asks:

Any idea on when you are playing Buffalo?? We are trying to plan a honeymoon!!!

Answer Man: I suppose you sent this before the schedule came out last week. I would not have known any more than you at that time, Buster, but I know now. You probably do, too, but just to be sure: The Buffalo Bills will play the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Raymond James Stadium in Tampa on September 18. It is our home opener. Kickoff is scheduled for 1:00 p.m. You could watch the game and then catch a nice cruise into the Caribbean out of our harbor.

Since that was so easy, let me add one little "Did You Know?" Did you know that this will be the eighth meeting all time between Buffalo and Tampa Bay, and all eight have been set in Tampa. The Buccaneers have never played in Buffalo, and have likely never shed a tear over that fact.

Oh, and happy honeymoon!

**

  1. Rick of Fort Collins, Colorado:

What has happened with John Howell? I see that the Bucs have been upgrading their secondary but he still remains a free agent. Are the Bucs keen on keeping him (he was a star at Colorado State, my alma mater)? He always seemed to play hard. I'll never forget his backfield tackle of Michael Vick in 2002.

Answer Man: Well, technically nothing has happened with Howell, in terms of free agency. He became a free agent on March 2 and has so far neither re-signed in Tampa nor signed elsewhere.

I really can't comment on the Bucs' continuing free agency strategy, but the team certainly could still re-sign Howell. He has been a strong special teams player and valuable reserve safety for the team for four years, and he's also just about the nicest guy you'll ever come across (provided you're not Michael Vick).

In other words, stay tuned.

**

  1. Jim Wolfe of Dixon, Illinois asks:

What's up Answer Man.... Just wondering if you could tell me what happened to Joe Jurevicius?... don't see his name on the roster and have not heard anything since he was not re-signed right away... Thanks......

Answer Man: Joe signed with the Seattle Seahawks on March 25. He had been released by the Buccaneers just before free agency in a difficult, cap-saving move. It's tough to see Joe move on – many of us became big fans in 2002, when he played through the strain of his infant son's illness and made several enormous plays in the Bucs' championship run. Still, it's good to see him move on to another good opportunity.

**

  1. Scott of Atlanta, Georgia asks:

During the course of answering a question in your April 10 article, you said the following: "For this [question], however, I will be using the play-by-play from the 1977 game." Where would a fan who is sorely disappointed by the lack of details given in old media guides find "play-by-play" information on old games? Thanks!

Answer Man: That's one of the perks of working here, Scott – access to things such as every play-by-play in franchise history. They are a treasure of information. Some of the really old ones have John McKay quote sheets stapled to the Buc, and those are a blast. While they're all computer-generated now, they used to be hand-written, with the play-by-play typed on a typewriter and often containing little details about the play. Good stuff.

Where can a fan find this info? You got me. I've looked for it out in cyberspace, too, and never come across it. If any readers out there know of a better answer for Scott, please send it in and I'll print it. You'd think that stuff would be out there somewhere.

**

  1. Adam Chapple of London, England asks:

This is probably one of the easiest questions you've ever answered, but I haven't seen many games so I'm not sure of the answer. I basically just don't know so I thought I'd ask you. Is it possible for a player in a game to get sent off? If not, why not? Thanks

Answer Man: Yes, it is easy, Adam. And that's a good thing. Gotta have some easy ones to pad the column a bit. I'm lobbying the boss to get paid by the word.

Yes, of course, a player can be "sent off," if by sent off you mean "ejected." Actually, the league officially calls it "disqualification." And now, a dramatic reading from the rulebook, Rule 3, Section 6:

A Disqualified Player is one who is banished from further participation in the game and must return to his dressing room within a reasonable period of time for any of the following: (a) flagrant striking, kneeing, or kicking an opponent (12-2-1); (b) flagrant roughing of a kicker, passer, or any other opponent (12-2-6 and 12-2-11); (c) a palpably unfair act (12-3-3); (d) flagrant unsportsmanlike conduct by players or non-players (Rule 13); or (e) repeat violation of a suspended player (Rule 5-3-pen. c)

That last part refers to a player who has to be taken out of the game due to an equipment or uniform infraction. He cannot return until the problem is rectified. If this happens repeatedly, he can be ejected.

Now if what you mean is sent off for a short period of time, such as with a hockey penalty, then no, there is no such rule in American football, besides that little bit in part (e) above.

**

  1. Brandon of Alta Loma, California asks:

Answer Man, I've watched the Bucs for a few years now, but became a "fan" about halfway through their first losing season. Unfortunately for me, living in California has limited me to VERY few games, especially this upcoming year in which they only have one nationally televised game. I had originally planned to terminate my digital cable and order NFL Ticket under DirecTV, but I'm leaving to college and living in a dorm where it is not offered. I know in your last column you left a page where Bucs games are shown in local restaurants/bars, but none apply to my area; and most of the places that COULD show it are bars, and I am obviously under 21. Please Answer Man, tell me what I can do to enjoy the Bucs season. I really don't want to resort to paying a hefty amount for Sirius radio. PLEASE have an answer for me. Thanks, and keep up the good work.

Answer Man: Brandon, have you tried Field Pass?

That's the name of the NFL's subscription radio service, which has been running for the last two years. I think this could be a great solution to your problem.

For $9.95 a month during the season, you can get Field Pass, which will give you the live radio broadcasts for most games over the internet. Buccaneer broadcasts are included in the package. You also get some extras, including video elements such as news and highlight packages.

You can even get Field Pass now during the offseason if you happen to be an NFL Europe nut, or you want to hear every second of the draft. It's only $9.95 for the entire offseason.

They have a 14-day free trial, if you want to check it out. Click here if you want to check out Field Pass on NFL.com.

**

  1. Kim Held in Brookfield…what, Illinois? Connecticut? Washington?...asks:

We'll be at Walt Disney World at the beginning of August and want to receive info about training camp and any practices we can watch. Who do we contact? Thanks!

Answer Man: Kim, you're best bet is to bookmark us here at Buccaneers.com and check back often.

The day-to-day schedule for training camp has not yet been released, so there is no real current source of information to direct you to. However, since we know the first game of the preseason is Friday, August 12, we can say with a fair amount of certainty that the first practice is Friday, July 29.

Like I said, we won't know the exact days and times of the practices for awhile, but the team usually works out twice on most days during the first two weeks, once in the morning and once in the afternoon. All of these practices are free and open to the public at Disney's Wide World of Sports Complex.

So my complete advice to you is, expect to have no problem catching a practice on almost any day in early August, and check back on Buccaneers.com later for more exact details.

**

  1. Mike of Orono, Maine asks:

Hey Answer Man!! First off I would like to tell you what a great job you have been doing answering all of us "little peoples" questions. Alright enough sucking up, here is my question. I go to school at The University of Maine which if you are not aware (not many people are) is located in Orono, Maine. Am I the farthest North fan you have heard from so far?

Answer Man: Not even close, Mike, though I do appreciate your extreme, uh, North-ness. The latitudinal heights you've achieved.

I've actually received quite a few questions from Canada…I know not all of Canada is north of Orono, Maine, but a lot of it is. I know I've had several from Saskatchewan, and it looks to me like most of that province is north of Maine. Also, I've had a handful of e-mails from Alaska.

Oh, and if you scroll up a bit, you'll see a missive from London. I'm pretty sure London is farther north than Maine!

**

The Answer Man is going to have to call it quits, despite a mailbag that is still bursting. It was close to empty two weeks ago, and it's now back to the point where it's threatening to overwhelm me. For instance, I didn't get to a couple questions I wanted to address this week on Super Bowl committees and wide receiver jersey numbers (I'll get them in next week, Chris and Alan), and I didn't even touch e-mails from the last five or six days.

So you'll be hearing from me again soon. For now, let's all enjoy the draft this weekend. I know I will!

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