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McKay is not bothered by Ray Lewis' new deal

By Times staff writers
© St. Petersburg Times
published August 4, 2002

LAKE BUENA VISTA -- In light of Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis' new seven-year, $50-million contract, complete with $19-million signing bonus, is the market getting out of hand? Are signing bonuses that large, that scary?

"It doesn't bother me because contracts in this league have never gone south, they have never gone small," general manager Rich McKay said. "You can never worry about a team doing a contract that they think they need for their player. I've done them. I did them for Keyshawn (Johnson). I did them for (Warren) Sapp. To me, you deal with it when you have to deal with it."

McKay said he didn't "do the wave" when he read about Lewis' contract on Friday, but he added the NFL's salary cap is a balancing mechanism for teams willing to shell out that kind of money. If the Bucs opted to give a player such a bonus there would be a trickle-down effect, he said.

"The one thing about contracts in our league is that one contract always impacts another," McKay said. "Lewis' contract has an impact on their football team. Realizes this, when we do this, there are consequences X, Y, Z (on the other end). It's like going to the grocery store with $10. If you decide to buy the first item that is $9.50, then (with the rest) you might get some gum and that's about it. That's the one thing that people have to keep sight of. I have a cap, I'm going to allocate certain money to certain players and at the and of the day I just can't keep allocating."

NO CONTROVERSY: Rob Johnson lined up with the first-team offense for red-zone drills, but coach Jon Gruden reiterated that Brad Johnson, who also got significant reps, is his starter and not to read anything into which quarterback lines up where. "Brad is the starting quarterback. I don't speak Spanish or Russian or all these other languages, but if I did, I'd let the world know he's our starting quarterback."

MORE QB DEPTH: There are only three quarterbacks on roster, but punter Tom Tupa took reps behind center, as he has throughout his 14-year NFL career.

"I started off my career as a quarterback, so I enjoy that part of it. It keeps me involved," said Tupa, who did not attempt a punt in five of his first six NFL seasons.

Tupa's versatility makes the fake punt a greater possibility. He completed the only pass he attempted last season, gaining 9 yards on fourth and 2. He last lined up at quarterback in 1999, when the Jets' Vinny Testaverde was injured. Tupa played 2 1/2 quarters, completing 6 of 11 passes for two touchdowns and 156 yards.

He had a 2,000-yard passing season in 1991, giving him as many for his career as Shaun King or Rob Johnson. But with 18 NFL pass attempts in the past decade, he's content to watch the offense. That hasn't kept him from developing an appreciation for Gruden's offense.

"It's similar to one we had in New York, with a West Coast flavor to it, but this has its own wrinkles and a lot more motion," he said. "The terminology is different so you've got to stay up on it so you know what's going on."

GOING, GONE: Single-game tickets sold out in 25 minutes Saturday morning, with seats for the Rams and Packers games disappearing in two minutes. Tampa Bay's preseason date with Steve Spurrier's Redskins sold out, though tickets are available for the preseason opener Aug. 12 against the Dolphins.

-- GREG AUMAN, ROGER MILLS


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Bucs
  • Roman knows
  • Brown is here to compete
  • McKay is not bothered by Ray Lewis' new deal
  • Giants' Strahan lashes out at Sapp
  • Lott's LB son rookie standout
  • Southern Fryed

  • Gary Shelton
  • Finally, youth is conserved

  • Rays
  • Injection of speed helps Rays win
  • Abernathy's slump puts him on bench
  • Rays tales
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    Motorsports
  • Home cooking warms Gordon
  • Jarrett, Harvick top IROC at Brickyard
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  • Dilfer will get chance to open it up with Seattle

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  • Indians' trades could portend bright future
  • Mariner DH ties mark with three sacrifice flies

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  • Game is team's focus, not protest

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  • Sunshine Skyway piers hold attention of pompano anglers
  • Daily fishing report

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  • Sapp continues to show he is all talk, no action
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