Bucs Release Two Quarterbacks

April 28 - The Tampa Bay Buccaneers couldn't bring six quarterbacks into this weekend's three-day mini-camp, so the team trimmed its quarterback corps to four Monday when they released first-year QB Greg Zolman and 10th-year veteran QB Shane Matthews. The Bucs also released wide receiver Ramondo North.

In somewhat anticipated moves, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers released first-year quarterback Greg Zolman and 10th-year veteran QB Shane Matthews on Monday.

Bucs head coach Jon Gruden hinted toward both of Monday's roster moves on Sunday evening during his final press conference of the 2003 NFL Draft.

"Historically on the teams I've been on, we've normally taken four guys to training camp," Gruden said Sunday from One Buccaneer Place. "There is a good chance that that is the number we take to Orlando this summer as well."

Zolman's release was expected because of his lack of experience, but Matthews' departure might have come as a surprise to some.

Tampa Bay inked Matthews to a one-year deal worth the league minimum on March 14, but that was before the Bucs created the cap room to sign Bears free-agent QB Jim Miller and re-sign QB Shaun King.

Matthews, who played with Washington last season, turned down a more lucrative offer from Minnesota for a chance to play for Gruden, but it was Tampa Bay's head coach that decided to release both quarterbacks.

Gruden, of course, intended on coaching Matthews in 2003 until the Bucs had the opportunity to select Texas QB Chris Simms with the last pick of the third round on Saturday.

The addition of Simms gave the Bucs a whopping six signal-callers on its roster, which was double the amount Gruden's club took to mini-camp and training camp last year.

Bucs general manager Rich McKay said Sunday evening that the team would have to release at least one quarterback in order to give Simms and the team's other signal-callers enough reps.

"It won't be done because of the numbers," McKay said Sunday of the possibility of the Bucs releasing quarterbacks. "It may be done because of the reps. You want to be sure that everyone gets enough reps and gets enough work."

With Matthews and Zolman gone, the team will take four quarterbacks into this weekend's three-day mini-camp, but only Brad Johnson, King and Simms will be throwing since Miller is still recovering from offseason rotator cuff surgery. Miller is expected to be able to throw at full velocity in late-June or July.

In other news, the Bucs released wide receiver Ramondo North.


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