Tampa Bay Pro Bowl weakside linebacker Derrick Brooks was held out of Tuesday morning's practice with a strained calf muscle. Brooks was hampered by a nagging foot injury for the most of the 2001 season, but the calf strain has nothing to do with last year's injury.
"I strained it (the calf muscle) yesterday running," Brooks said after the morning session concluded. They decided to hold me out this morning and I'll come back this afternoon."
Brooks did not, however, participate in the afternoon practice. He was held out only for precautionary reasons, but is expected to return to practice on Wednesday morning.
ADDITIONAL INJURIES: Tampa Bay tight end Ken Dilger sprained the thumb on his right hand during the morning practice. He was held out of Tuesday afternoon's practice.
"Ken Dilger will be probable tomorrow morning," said Gruden. "It looks like he has a jammed thumb. We're going to have several other people look at this X-ray to see if there is a chip in there or a tiny chip of the bone. But we don't think it's anything serious and he should be on the field tomorrow morning."
Bucs running back Michael Pittman, who sprained his ankle on Monday, is expected to return to practice this week, possibly as early as Wednesday or Thursday.
GRUDEN HINTS WHAT HE'S LOOKING FOR IN HIS 53-MAN ROSTER
Tampa Bay has stiff competition at several positions in training camp. Bucs head coach Jon Gruden hinted Tuesday that his final 53-man roster probably won't be made up of the best players, but rather the most versatile ones.
"I don't think it's about keeping the best 53 players," said Gruden. "It's about keeping the right 53 players. Their versatility, their role on special teams will be a big part of it."
The Buccaneers signed running back Dicenzo Miller to a one-year contract on Tuesday. The former Mississippi State Bulldog entered the NFL as an undrafted free agent with the Tennessee Titans in April. Miller rushed for 676 yards and averaged 5.1 yards per carry in nine games as a senior. He will sport jersey No. 39.
To clear room for Miller on its roster, Tampa Bay released guard Howard Duncan.
GRUDEN CRITICAL OF TIGHT ENDS' PLAY ON TUESDAY
"I called those guys Beavis and Butthead today," Gruden said of Dilger and Battaglia. "They kind of made me mad."
Former Tampa Bay head coach Tony Dungy used to tell the media that it would take his offenses until at least Week 8 to consistently execute the systems. Dungy's three offensive systems were, however, never consistent.
So, how long will it take Gruden's troops to digest and execute the new offense this season? It might not take as long as some think it will.
"He'll (Gruden) will make sure we're a great team from Day 1 when we play Miami," said Bucs TE Marco Battaglia. "I think the offseason program was very important. We got a lot done during that period. The offense is very complicated, but it's football. The terminology is different, but once you get that, everyone will be fine."
It's no secret that Gruden encourages his players to get excited out on the football field. But what do players do if they don't like to show their emotions on the field?
"He (Gruden) likes enthusiasm," said Bucs QB Rob Johnson. "He says, 'if you don't have it, fake it'."
BUCS PUT PADS ON WEDNESDAY
Tampa Bay has sported shorts, jerseys and helmets for the first two days (four practices) of training camp, but on Wednesday, the team will put the pads on.
"Tomorrow is the first padded practice," said Gruden. "We've had two good solid beginning days here in Orlando. Tomorrow is going to be a little different, but we're looking forward to it."
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