Bucs News And Notes: Thursday

December 5 – Tampa Bay wide receiver Keyshawn Johnson was excused from both practice and a team meeting Thursday due to what Buccaneers head coach Jon Gruden called "personal reasons". Bucs defensive end Ellis Wyms was held out of practice for the second consecutive day with a sprained ankle, but defensive tackle Anthony McFarland practiced for the second straight day. In Atlanta injury news, QB Michael Vick, who had the flu, practiced Thursday and will likely play against Tampa Bay on Sunday.

Buccaneers wide receiver Keyshawn Johnson was excused from both practice and a team meeting Thursday.

While Johnson's absence was attributed to what the team called "personal reasons", Pewter Report has learned that Johnson filed for divorce from his wife, Shikiri, on Wednesday.

Gruden is hopeful that Johnson will return to practice on Friday, but he said the team has to prepare to play without him just in case that doesn't happen.

"This is a personal matter that Keyshawn is dealing with," said Bucs head coach Jon Gruden. "We're going to support him, but at the same time we've got to prepare to play without him in case this does not resolve itself in a timely fashion."

Gruden said Johnson's absence/personal issue will not serve as a distraction as the Bucs prepare to face the Falcons this Sunday at Raymond James Stadium.

"We have a mature team," said Gruden. "We're not worried about the players being distracted. I think a lot of them understand his situation and we all realize it's classified, it's personal. We're going to let Keyshawn Johnson deal with this matter and come back as soon as he can."

In other injury news, Bucs defensive tackle Anthony McFarland practiced for the second consecutive day and he will play against the Falcons Sunday.

"I love it," said Gruden of McFarland's return to practice. "I love that guy. I'm really happy to see him and I think he's going to help our team. I'm really excited about what (Chartric) Darby did in his absence, and Ellis Wyms. Those guys really stepped up while Anthony was away, but McFarland gives us another key ingredient in the middle of our defense. We're very excited to have him back."

For the second straight day, Bucs defensive end Ellis Wyms, who is dealing with a sprained ankle, was held out of practice. Tampa Bay running back Michael Pittman was also added to the Bucs' injury report due to a sore neck, but he is listed as probable for Sunday's game and is expected to play against Atlanta.

Gruden, who seemed angry with his team as they left the practice field after Wednesday's practice, was very pleased with his team's workout on Thursday.

"It was intense today, to say the least," said Gruden of Thursday's practice. "It was a real physical practice today and I was impressed by that. The guys are on it, they're excited to play and they know they've got to be at their best because Atlanta is one hot football team."

In Atlanta injury news, Falcons quarterback Michael Vick, who was listed as questionable on the team's injury report due to the flu, was cleared to practice with his team Thursday and is expected to play against Tampa Bay on Sunday.

"It was kind of a 48-hour thing," Vick said Thursday. "I had it on Monday and Tuesday and feel a lot better today."


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Want to sound off on this topic? You can talk about it now with dozens of other Buc fans on the PewterReport.com Red Message Boards and/or you can talk about it with fans and the PewterReport.com insiders in the PewterReport.com Chat Room on Wednesday nights from 9-10 PM.

Looking for the largest selection of Bucs merchandise on the internet? Check out BucGear.com.


Become an insider today with a subscription to Pewter Report or by becoming a Club Insider. You can also become a subscriber to Pewter Report by calling 1-800-881-BUCS(2827).

All PewterReport.com photos are courtesy of Pewter Report director of photography Cliff Welch unless otherwise noted.


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