Bucs' Sapp goes for the green
By ROGER MILLS, Times Staff Writer
© St. Petersburg Times
published June 17, 2003
TAMPA - For Pro Bowl defensive tackle Warren Sapp, it's been an incredible 10 months, if not an incredible career as a Buccaneer.
Now, it's time for the incredible promotion.
As part of a campaign for Friday's release of the movie The Hulk, Sapp will join 150 children from the Florida Citrus Sports Summer Camp program for a ride on the Hulk roller coaster at Universal Studios' Islands of Adventure on Thursday in Orlando.
But here's the trick: Sapp apparently has agreed to be painted green in keeping with the Marvel comic book character's color.
Sapp, 30, will spend the day with camp members who also are regular users of the Orlando-based Warren Sapp Computer Lab. Sapp, who is from nearby Plymouth, donated $25,000 to outfit the lab with new computers.
CALLING MR. JONES: As of Monday afternoon, running back Thomas Jones had not arrived at One Buc Place, but the team was getting ready to welcome him. Coach Jon Gruden, who scouted at the University of Virginia, said he is eager to see the newest acquisition on the field.
"We remembered him and we studied him hard coming out of Virginia," Gruden said of Jones, who was acquired Friday in a trade with Arizona for receiver Marquise Walker. "He's only 24 years old, it's not like he's 30. He's a young guy who has the talent. Now, whether or not he can max out is going to be up to him."
Though the team has not turned its back on running back Michael Pittman, who was indicted on two felony counts of aggravated assault stemming from a domestic dispute and faces arraignment Thursday, Jones appears a solid insurance policy. He played sparingly through his first three years in Arizona, losing carries to Pittman and last year to second-year running back Marcel Shipp.
KICKING GAME: Gruden hinted last week that the team still might add a veteran in preparation for training camp. Veteran punter Tom Tupa, who had an up-and-down 2002 season, is close to re-signing. . Undrafted free-agent Andy Groom out of Ohio State is the only punter on the roster. The team may need another leg in camp considering the extra week of training camp and the extra preseason game against the Jets Aug. 2 in the American Bowl in Tokyo.
QBs downplay rivalry
DAVIE - Jay Fiedler expects Miami fans to think he and Brian Griese are rivals, each seeking to emerge as the leader of a team with Super Bowl aspirations.
So shortly after Griese signed a two-year deal with the Dolphins last week, Fiedler called his newest teammate and invited him to his home for some barbecue.
"We just got to know each other and bonded a little bit," Fiedler said. "I expect us to become pretty good friends around here."
Griese's process of getting to know the rest of the team began Monday when Miami opened a three-day quarterback camp.
"It felt good to be back out and playing with the guys," he said. "It was kind of like recess for me, getting a chance to get out on the field and have some fun again."
Coach Dave Wannstedt, who repeatedly has confirmed that Fiedler is the starter for this season, said he liked what he saw from Griese, who spent his first five NFL seasons with Denver.
COLTS: A former detective said she told the NFL about owner Jim Irsay's prescription drug problem as early as 1995, an Indianapolis TV station reported. Rene Conder, who was a prescription drug investigator for the Indianapolis police department, told WTHR she began looking at Irsay's behavior as part of an investigation of a local doctor who wrote prescriptions for him. NFL spokesman Greg Aiello referred to a November statement in which the league acknowledged that Irsay had voluntarily sought treatment to help overcome prescription drug dependency.
JAGUARS: J.J. Stokes was signed to a one-year contract, meeting the team's need for a No. 2 receiver.
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