Joey Galloway won't be late for training camp. But he's certainly been distracted lately.
The co-owner of the Columbus Destroyers is enjoying his team's run to ArenaBowl XXI, the Arena Football League's championship game, in New Orleans July 29. His Destroyers will be taking on the San Jose SaberCats for the championship.
It's a taste of the other side of the football world that Galloway has relished since he bought a stake in the team four years ago.
"It's helped me learn what goes on on the other side (of the game)," Galloway said. "It gives me a chance to see it from someone else's eyes — evaluating talent, putting a team together, ticket sales, promotions, attendance. It's given me a well-rounded view of the business side of sports and how it works."
Galloway also called it a "wanted and needed" distraction from the preparations for his 13th training camp in Orlando. The Buccaneers report for camp next Thursday. He may or may not miss the championship game.
Galloway is the Buccaneers' most dangerous weapon in the passing game, and his newest partner will be Jeff Garcia. The 37-year-old quarterback has been all but named the starter this season. His name is expected to be at the top of the depth chart when it's released at the start of training camp.
Galloway is hoping for some consistency at the position, as Garcia would be his sixth quarterback since his arrival in Tampa — Brad Johnson, Chris Simms, Brian Griese, Bruce Gradkowski and Tim Rattay.
But Galloway's numbers haven't suffered from the shuffle. He's coming off the best two-year stretch of his career, catching 145 passes for 2,344 yards and 17 touchdowns.
And all of this at age 35.
"We've added a lot of talent to this team and I believe we'll be a much better team," Galloway said. "We expect to be a lot more successful and I expect to be a better player this season."
Galloway was hesitant to comment on Garcia's progress at first, saying he felt head coach Jon Gruden's and Garcia's opinions was more important. But Galloway did say he's liked what he's seen so far.
"Our offense is probably as complex and difficult an offense as I've ever been around," Galloway said. "From what I've seen I think he has a pretty good grasp on it, and we'll find out here next week."
For now Galloway is relishing his role as team owner. He actually sat with one of his former bosses — Dallas owner and general manager Jerry Jones — as his Destroyers beat Jones' Dallas Desperados in the previous playoff round. He's been instrumental in bringing several former Bucs to the Destroyers, including wide receiver Marcus Knight. And once he finally retires, he intends to live in Columbus and get more involved with the team.
But for now, there's just the natural high of being a fan.
"Once the game starts I get the chance to really go to be a fan," Galloway said. "I don't attend many sporting events, but at our home games I let me emotions run wild. I get to cheer like a true fan."
Matthew Postins covers the Buccaneers for BucsBlitz.com and the Charlotte Sun-Herald in Port Charlotte, Fla. He is a member of the Pro Football Writers Association. Included among his more than two dozen writing and editing awards are national awards from the PFWA, the National Newspaper Association and the Associated Press Sports Editors, and state awards from the Florida Press Club and the Florida Sports Writers Association, for his coverage of the Buccaneers since 2004.