Again, McCardell A No-Show At Workouts
By KATHERINE SMITH email@example.com
Published: May 19, 2004
TAMPA - A league commitment prevented Keenan McCardell from attending the Bucs' first round of voluntary workouts in April.
Not feeling appreciated kept him from the second round that began Tuesday.
The Bucs' No. 1 receiver was noticeably absent from One Buc Place and isn't expected to attend the remaining workouts, which conclude Thursday.
``Obviously, anytime a really good player is not here, you're concerned,'' Coach Jon Gruden said. ``We're confident that this will all resolve itself.''
At issue is McCardell's contract. The 13-year veteran has two years remaining on a deal that will pay him $2.5 million this year and $2.75 million in 2005.
McCardell's representatives said they are seeking an extension that matches his production.
Last season, McCardell earned a Pro Bowl berth after finishing 10th in the league with 84 receptions and eighth in receiving yards with 1,174. Four other receivers who also finished in the top 10 in both categories are scheduled to make more than $5 million this season and two are expected to make more than $3 million.
Reached at his home in Houston, McCardell didn't want to comment on his contract situation but did say, ``The ball is in their court.''
Bucs General Manager Bruce Allen said McCardell's situation isn't ``unique'' and ``there's not a player in the NFL or NBA or Major League Baseball who wouldn't like a raise.''
``Right now he has elected to not come to the voluntary camp, and there's nothing that anybody can do,'' Allen said.
Gruden used McCardell's absence to evaluate the other receivers.
``We're very, very excited with what Joey Galloway did [Tuesday] and very pleased with where Michael Clayton is,'' Gruden said. ``Joe Jurevicius' return is right around the corner. We'll use this time to get Edell Shepherd, Marcus Knight, some newcomers like Sylvester Morris and Mark Jones opportunities to take advantage of.
``And obviously work hard at getting Keenan back in here.''
BUCS NOTES: Defensive end Simeon Rice also missed the workout. Gruden expects him at practice today. ... Gruden hired a local group of officials to be at the workouts to help combat one of the Bucs' biggest problems last season - penalties. Tampa Bay was penalized 117 times for 1,104 yards. ``We had a lot penalties last year. The officials are going to help me help our staff interpret the rules, enforce the rules, make it more game-like, more realistic for our players,'' Gruden said.