Tampa Bay wide receiver Keenan McCardell is happy to be a Buc, but he's just as happy to be returning to what some might say was the scene of the crime, i.e., Jacksonville, where the Jaguars cut the popular and productive receiver during the offseason in a salary cap maneuver.
"I don't even worry about it anymore," McCardell said of the Jaguars cutting him on June 1. "I'm in a better place, better time. It's over with. People always say it's salary cap. You can work around the salary cap. You can make it work if you want to make it work. I just wasn't their cup of tea anymore. I don't think they enjoyed my playing for them anymore, so it's time to move on."
McCardell played in Jacksonville from 1996-2001, so needless to say, he's looking forward to seeing some familiar faces and he's hoping his new team will come away with a win in his old home stadium.
"It's going to be great to go back," said McCardell. "Just being in that south locker room. I haven't been in that south locker room since '95, my last year in Cleveland. But it will be great to get back in the stadium, great to see some friends and great to see some of the fans there. I made a lot of friends with a lot of fans there, so I get a chance to talk with them before the game."
McCardell, who ranks second on the Jaguars' career list for receptions with 406, has already given Bucs defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin some tips on how to stop Jacksonville's offense.
"Yeah, I can. I gave [Defensive Coordinator] Monte [Kiffin] some things," McCardell said about Jacksonville's offense. "I think I know that offense pretty well. I saw a little of the game last Friday, and I saw little subtle changes, but nothing much. I can probably calls the plays out from the sideline and tell you what's coming. It's going to be fun."
BUCS ROOKIE DE KIPPS MOVES OVER TO OFFENSE
Tampa Bay signed undrafted rookie free agent Kyle Kipps on May 30 in hopes he'd be able to add depth to the Bucs' defensive end position, but on Wednesday, Kipps moved to the other side of the ball in order to try and secure a spot on Tampa Bay's 53-man roster.
Kipps, who had sported jersey No. 74, now sports jersey No. 48 and is competing for a roster spot at the tight end position. Kipps chances of securing a roster spot have, however, not increased as Ken Dilger and Marco Battaglia are locks to make the team while Todd Yoder and Tracey Wistrom are competing for the No. 3 tight end spot.
Kipps split playing time during his four-year college career at LSU between the tight end and defensive end position. He caught four passes for 45 yards and one touchdown in 1999. As a freshman, he hauled in 16 passes for 180 yards and three touchdowns, which earned him a spot on the All-SEC Freshman team.
Bucs CB Dwight Smith (hamstring), DT Warren Sapp (knee) and WR Marquise Walker (ankle) were held out of the afternoon practice with minor injuries.
"We held Dwight Smith and Warren Sapp for the most part this afternoon," said Bucs head coach Jon Gruden. "They have some bumps and bruises. Dwight has a hamstring, and we expect him to play. Warren has a little swelling on his knee."
Bucs G Marcus Jenkins (ankle) also didn't participate. Tampa Bay guards Cosey Coleman (knee) and Kendell Mack (knee) are out for at least one month and DE John Stamper (hamstring) will be sidelined for at least 10 more days.
BUCS CUT AFTERNOON PRACTICE SHORT
Tampa Bay sported shorts for its afternoon practice. While Gruden cut the practice 10 minutes short due to lightning, he felt his troops got a lot of work done in terms of preparing for Jacksonville.
"I think this is a very important part of practice today," said Gruden. "We previewed the Jaguars' blitz package, and we exposed our defense to some of the concepts that the Jaguars are running from an offensive standpoint. Our guys were dialed in, and it will be good work for us for Friday night."
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