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On the sideline

ROGER MILLS
Published August 7, 2004

REG-GIE, REG-GIE: Former Packers defensive end Reggie White addressed the Bucs following practice Thursday morning at the invitation of coach Jon Gruden.

White, a certain first-ballot Hall of Fame player for the Packers and Eagles, told Bucs players to make the best of their playing days because they pass very quickly.

"There are things that are more important than this," White said. "This is important right now. But when you go home, you've got a wife and kids, you've got to serve your God the best way you know how. Throughout my career, I was outspoken and people didn't accept what I said because they wanted to regulate me as a football player.

"I have a lot of people who see me now and may not recognize me and ask, "Are you a football player?' I say, "No.' They come back and say you lied to me. I say, "No, I didn't lie to you. Football is what I did, not who I am."

White is the second NFL great to meet the Bucs this year. Rams defensive end Deacon Jones was a guest of Gruden's during the off-season.

"We had Deacon Jones in a few weeks ago in Tampa and I think he was introduced as the greatest pass-rusher of all-time," Gruden said. "Reggie got mad, to be honest with you. He came down here to set me straight. Reggie had a real impact on me as a coach. He single-handedly came in - he and Brett Favre - and ignited a franchise and united a football team with leadership and playmaking. I just think he's a special guy, not only a great player but a special guy who has helped me a lot over my career. I wanted to share him with some of the guys.

"He misses the game. I think Reggie will tell you that himself. You can't get these days back. No matter what the critics say, whether you have a good year or a bad year, it's still an unbelievable rush. It's a great experience, it's a lot of fun, these are the times of your life. Those are the reminders that he hit on today and that hopefully struck a lot of th guys."

QUOTE OF THE DAY:

"He grabbed my arm and said, "I think you can play.' And I said, "It's not as hard as it used to be.' - Reggie White.

INJURY UPDATE

Defensive end Ellis Wyms sustained a sprained ankle and will be out a couple of days, though the team doesn't think it'll be too serious. "Knowing him, he might practice (today)," Gruden said. Left tackle Todd Steussie left practice with swelling and soreness in the back of his knee and is listed as day-to-day. Offensive guard Sean Mahan return to limited drills and receiver Joey Galloway took part in half of the practice in order to rest his legs.

FRESH FACE

NAME: DERRICK DEESE

HT/WT: 6-3, 289

POSITION: Left tackle

AGE: 34

COLLEGE: Southern Cal

BACK IN THE DAY: Talk about a journey. Originally an undrafted free agent, Deese's career trademark has been his versatility. The native of Culver City, Cali., has played every position on the offensive line. "My best season, I feelm in one of the seasons where (in a game) I started at left tackle, in the third quarter I moved to right tackle, in the fourth quarter moved back to left tackle. And I did that all season long," Deese said.

TO HAVE AN IMPACT: Though he can play all five positions on the line, Deese is penciled in as the starting left tackle and that's where he'll be needed. The Bucs felt it necessary to upgrade the offensive line across the board and brought in Deese, who hasn't given up a sack in over two seasons. A technician of sorts, Deese's impact will depend on his ability to stay relatively healthy. The Bucs have fewer options at backup, having traded starter Roman Oben to the Chargers and having decided to work newcomer Todd Steussie strictly at right tackle.

LITTLE KNOWN FACT: In an era of dominating defensive ends, Deeses enters the 2004 season with a streak of 34 consecutive games without a sack. "To me, the streak's not really the big thing," Deese said. "To me, it's being able to play more than one position. It's being able to be one of the guys, one of the few guys in the league to play all five positions."

QUOTE: "I came into the league as a guard. I won a Super Bowl as a guard. So, I was naturally built to play guard and just my ability alone has allowed me to play tackle. I've been blessed with that... It's one of those things where I do whatever it takes to win." - Deese on what is his natural position.

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