Bucs Take Cover For Thursday Afternoon Practice

September 5 – The Tampa Bay Buccaneers moved its practice indoors on Thursday afternoon. While a heavy rainstorm hovered over One Buccaneer Place, the Bucs moved its practice next door inside a four-story parking garage, which was a first for the franchise.

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are focused on its first opponent of the 2002 season – the New Orleans Saints. In fact, they're so focused that they refused to let some lightning and heavy rainstorms stop them from practicing on Thursday afternoon. They took the practice indoors.

Tampa Bay moved its practice from One Buccaneer Place over to a four-story parking garage next door. The Bucs occupied the third-floor of the parking garage for about two hours.

"I have never done that before," said Bucs tackle Lomas Brown. "It was definitely the first time. I've practiced in a gym, inside the facility and even an auditorium but never before in a parking lot."

While the Bucs practiced, they didn't wear pads or helmets. Instead, they practiced in jerseys, shorts and sneakers, which the players thought they benefited from.

"Sometimes you have to make the best of situations and I think we did it," said Bucs strong safety John Lynch. "We actually got a lot of work done. You look at the positives of the situation. It gets our legs fresh and I thought we got what we needed to get accomplished."

While it was the first time in Tampa Bay Buccaneers history that the team had practiced in a parking garage, it wasn't the first time for at least one of the Bucs' players.

"I have (practiced in a parking garage)," said Bucs tight end Ken Dilger. "It was the 1995 East-West Shrine Game, we were rained out a couple of times. We practiced in an airplane hanger and a parking garage. I played for the East team and we lost on a last-second touchdown by Michael Westbrook."

Assuming the weather permits them to, the Buccaneers will resume practice at the team headquarters on Friday. But if the weather is a problem again, at least the team knows it has other options.

"We went through everything with a fine-toothed comb in the garage so it was worth it," said Bucs wide receiver Keenan McCardell. "We needed a mental aspect like that with the weather. You can't just go home. You've got to do something, and going in the parking garage was good for us."

Bucs head coach Jon Gruden cut his players some slack on a number of occasions during training camp by canceling several practices, but he said the team couldn't afford to miss a practice session when they're just three days away from playing their first regular season game of the 2002 season.

"There's a first time for everything, but we got some work done and we have no excuses," Gruden said after the indoor practice. "The weather was scary today, a lot of lightning. Rain is one thing but lightning's another, and without a doubt this was the right thing to do. Our players concentrated and we got some work done."

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