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GM rules out nothing as trade deadline nears

By ROGER MILLS
Published October 16, 2004

TAMPA - Linked to possible trades involving holdout receiver Keenan McCardell and veteran quarterback Brad Johnson, Bucs general manager Bruce Allen said Friday the team isn't ruling out anything that could help the team.

But Allen said there is nothing new to report on McCardell's contract stalemate.

"I'll do what's right for the Bucs, but maybe people are playing possum," Allen said. "Things will heat up, but we don't want to get the drumroll up to a crescendo."

With the trading deadline at 4 p.m. Tuesday, less than 12 hours after the team returns from St. Louis, the personnel department will be busy looking at scenarios.

"Really, the big day is on Monday," Allen said. "All the other teams are off. And their injuries are known, and we'll have a pretty good idea. It should work out."

Aside from the McCardell situation, the Bucs could use help at punt return and running back. They also wouldn't ignore getting draft picks.

"Nothing has changed from the first week, really," Allen said. "We're always having dialogue with teams regarding their situations. We chart teams' strengths and weaknesses, and you just have some dialogue.

"It seems each year there's a big drumroll leading up to the trading deadline in the NFL, and then there's not many trades made. But if there's something that will help the Bucs win, we'll make it."

Are the trading of McCardell or Johnson remote possibilities?

"I don't know," Allen said.

ADDED INCENTIVE: Not that receiver Charles Lee needs any extra motivation, having been cut three times. But an article printed the week of April's draft in Pro Football Weekly remains taped to the door of the cubicle in his locker as a reminder of what his reputation once was.

"It says, "He lacks bursts of speed, may have trouble beating the bump and does not have an extra gear or run after the catch ability,"' Lee said, pointing to the article. "It's things like that that (inspire me)."

Lee, a physical receiver who has proved this season he can turn a 5-yard catch into a 15-yard gain, has 11 catches for 169 yards. Sunday, 18 of his 76 yards came after his four catches. "I've had it up ever since the season began," Lee said. "But I know that some of the people who write this stuff don't know anything about football. You take it for what it is. It's chalkboard material. Put on the tape and show me where you don't see (those skills).

"I don't really care. As long as my teammates and coaches know that I'm a guy that can be counted on to make plays. That's all that matters to me."

Bucs coach Jon Gruden said the Bucs depend on Lee's ability to pick up extra yards.

"That's one of the reasons he made our team," Gruden said. "It's one of the reasons why he's playing. I don't care what kind of offense you're in. You have to make yardage after the catch. He has generated some after catches for us. He takes pride in that."

THE NOISE FACTOR: The crowd noise Sunday in New Orleans was manageable, but it likely won't be the same Monday in St. Louis.

"It's going to be loud. So we have to make sure you tap the guy and pass (the signals) on, center to guard, guard to tackle, tackle to tight end, that kind of thing," center John Wade said. "It's got to trickle down the line. We've got a lot of guys who have played in noise before, and St. Louis is going to be a loud place. It's a fact of life. But it's no excuse for miscommunication."

To help prepare, the Bucs played loud noise during practice this week.

"You can listen to all the speakers and the noise, but it's still going to be loud," Wade said.

SIMEON SAYS: Here's something to look forward to: Charismatic defensive end Simeon Rice will have a book out in a couple of weeks. The book, titled Rush To Judgment, will chronicle Rice's life from his childhood in Chicago. Rice said the book will be entertaining because, "I speak my mind."

INJURY UPDATE: Linebacker Shelton Quarles (quad) practiced and likely will play Monday. Receivers Joey Galloway (groin) and Joe Jurevicius (back) are out but could return to practice next week. Quarterback Chris Simms (shoulder bruise) is listed as doubtful though Gruden said it was likely "very doubtful" Simms will be active.

[Last modified October 16, 2004, 01:01:20]

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