INDIANAPOLIS — The NFL Scouting Combine isn't just about the NFL Draft. It's the perfect time for teams to get together to talk trades and free agency.
Could that have been what Tampa Bay Buccaneers general manager Bruce Allen and head coach Jon Gruden were doing on Sunday night?
Bucsblitz.com spotted Allen and Gruden having dinner with San Diego Chargers general manager A.J. Smith at an Indianapolis Champps Restaurant on Sunday night.
Smith actually showed up first at a pair of tables that were reserved for the trio, followed by Allen and Gruden.
What were they talking about? It's impossible to say for sure, but both teams, at the moment, are reportedly the subjects of trade rumors, though not with each other.
The Buccaneers have been linked to several wide receivers in recent days, a major need this offseason. Among those receivers linked to the Bucs were the Broncos' Javon Walker, the Seahawks' D.J. Hackett and the Cardinals' Bryant Johnson.
The Chargers, meanwhile, are trying to deal a player. The San Diego-Union Tribune reported on Saturday that the Chargers would try to trade fullback Lorenzo Neal rather than cut him.
Neal could be seen as a possible replacement for the retired Mike Alstott, though Neal is no youngster himself as he enters his 16th year in the NFL at age 37. Neal is still considered one of the NFL's best blocking fullbacks. And, the Bucs' incumbent fullback, B.J. Askew, struggled with injuries in the latter half of 2007. Neal also has three years left on his contract.
Askew's backup is, at the moment, Byron Storer, the second-year back from California who made three starts in Askew's absence. A player of Neal's reputation and skill could allow the Bucs to breathe a little easier should Askew come up hurt again.
The Chargers and Buccaneers have dealt with each other before. On June 9, 2004, the Buccaneers sent G Roman Oben to the Chargers for a fifth-round pick.
Of course, it could have just been a couple of old friends getting together for a drink. Smith worked for Allen's father, George, when George ran the Chicago Blitz in the USFL in the early 1980s.
The conversation appeared friendly, with the trio laughing on several occasions.
At one point Allen unfolded a piece of notebook paper, put it in front of Smith and Smith looked at it thoughtfully before Allen retrieved it.
Matthew Postins covers the Buccaneers for BucsBlitz.com and the Charlotte Sun-Herald in Port Charlotte, Fla. An award-winning member of the Pro Football Writers Association, he appears frequently on Scot Brantley Show from 3-6 p.m. weekdays on WHBO 1470-AM in Tampa-Clearwater.