Gruden has little to say about Simms

Want to know what Jon Gruden thinks about keeping Chris Simms on the roster? Well, keep on guessing. He had little to say about Simms after Sunday's practice.

Jon Gruden preferred not to talk about why the Tampa Bay Buccaneers chose to keep quarterback Chris Simms after Sunday's practice at One Buc Place.

Gruden seemed more in the mood speak about Jeff Garcia, the starting quarterback, one day after the Bucs finalized their 53-man roster.

"We're going to talk about Jeff Garcia, he's our quarterback," Gruden said. "We're going to take a look at our roster today and tomorrow and continue to try to improve it. What we have today are 53 guys we think can help us, and I'll just leave it at that."

Gruden said later that he would allow general manager Bruce Allen to comment on the roster cuts. Allen was expected to speak later on Sunday.

Simms' status drove up speculation about the Bucs' roster cuts in the days leading up to Saturday, with that speculation split down the middle.

By keeping four quarterbacks, Gruden has done something unprecedented in his 10 years as a head coach.

Simms appears close to returning.

"He's just finishing whatever rehab he's doing," Gruden said. "He's supposedly going to be ready soon."

Gruden did address the return situation, one day after the Bucs chose to cut ties with Mark Jones, their only pure returner. Gruden praised Jones, saying he was a "NFL return man," but really gave no good reason why Jones was cut.

He said Joey Galloway, Ike Hilliard and Phillip Buchanon would form the committee for punt and kickoff returns for the foreseeable future.

"We have three guys that can catch it, and that's the decision at this time," Gruden said.

Tight end Alex Smith, guard Arron Sears and tackle Jeremy Trueblood all returned to practice on Sunday, with right defensive end Patrick Chukwurah the only Buccaneers player that didn't work out.

"I also saw [Patrick] Chukwurah got his knee brace off so he's closing in on his return," Gruden said. "I think other than Patrick Chukwurah, we're about 100 percent ready to go."

The Buccaneers practice again on Monday before taking their day off on Tuesday. The Bucs travel to Seattle for the season opener on Sunday.

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Matthew Postins covers the Buccaneers for and the Charlotte Sun-Herald in Port Charlotte, Fla. He is a member of the Pro Football Writers Association and has won national awards for his Buccaneers coverage from the PFWA, the National Newspaper Association and the Associated Press Sports Editors. He is also a contributor to the Scot Brantley Show from 4-7 p.m. weekdays on WHBO 1490-AM in Tampa-Clearwater.

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