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Shoulder forces new QB to sideline
By JOANNE KORTH and RICK STROUD
Published July 29, 2006
LAKE BUENA VISTA - Finally, after all the other players had left the field, veteran quarterback Jay Fiedler threw his first pass wearing a Bucs jersey.
Such as it was.
Fiedler, signed in July after backup Luke McCown had knee surgery, is not fully recovered from offseason surgery on his right, throwing shoulder. Neither practiced after beginning training camp Friday on the Active Physically Unable to Perform list, from which they can be activated at any time.
"It's basically day to day," Fiedler said. "There are no instructions on what I'm cleared to do. It's as much as I can handle, as much as the arm can handle."
Forced to observe practice wearing a baseball cap, Fiedler threw afterward under the watchful eye of position coach Paul Hackett.
"It feels pretty good," Fiedler said. "I'm starting to make some of the intermediate throws, get the ball downfield a little bit more. I just have to build up the endurance in the arm and build up to the deeper throws now."
Fiedler is eager to join his new teammates but wants to be cautious.
"Any time you're out here and watching the guys run around, you have an itch to be out there in the middle of everything," he said. "I want to compete, go out there and practice with the guys and get myself immersed in this team. But I have to be smart about it and not push it too hard so that it sets me back any. We're going to take it at the right pace."
Though starter Chris Simms got the majority of the work, Fiedler's absence left veteran Tim Rattay and rookie Bruce Gradkowski to divide the remaining snaps.
CADDY IN NEUTRAL: Running back Cadillac Williams was held out of the morning practice and skipped the afternoon workout after complaining of back spasms. The injury is not considered serious.
"My neck just tightened up a bit out there," Williams said. "It's really nothing."
Running backs coach Art Valero said Williams had a heavy weight lifting day Thursday that might have contributed to the spasms.
BARBER STILL WAITING: Cornerback Ronde Barber, in the final year of his contract, hoped to have an extension before training camp started.
He remains hopeful a deal can be reached with general manager Bruce Allen but does not know when.
"Ask Bruce where the Cold War stands," Barber said. "I'm not a free agent until the end of this year. I wish I could give you a definite time when it's going to get done, but I can't. I think Bruce wants to see me be a Buc, so it will get done."
Allen said recently the team wants Barber to stay but negotiations are a two-way street and the true deadline for an extension is March, when Barber would become a free agent. Friday, Allen said nothing has changed.
Barber said holding out of camp was not an option.
"I'm not one of those idiots," he said.
ILLNESS RETURNS: Offensive tackle Chris Colmer will miss the season with a nonfootball related illness. A third-round pick by the Bucs in 2005, Colmer apparently has had a recurrence of Parsonage-Turner Syndrome, a nerve condition that forced him to miss the 2003 season at North Carolina State.
"We're really concerned about this because we never really heard of it to start with," coach Jon Gruden said. "We were under the understanding that this was over. Hopefully, he can come back and continue playing again."
NEW STYLE: For the first time in 10 years, the Bucs defensive line practiced without coach Rod Marinelli, who left to be the Lions head coach. Nothing against new line coach Jethro Franklin, but it seemed a little strange without Marinelli.
"That's the only NFL coach I've ever known," sixth-year pro Ellis Wyms said. "I attribute a lot of what I've become to him. It was definitely strange. But that's the nature of the business. We have a new coach in Jethro Franklin, and we have to get acclimated to how he does things."
Franklin, 40, coached the line at USC in 2005 but before that spent four seasons with the Packers. His style is different than Marinelli's.
"It's not as stern, a little more laid back," Wyms said. "Rod Marinelli was more of a drill sergeant. This guy is a laid-back kind of guy. He tells you what he wants, and you go out and do it."
TRANSACTIONS: The team signed defensive tackle Kevin Lewis and guard/center Daniel Martz. It released guard Phil Bogle, cornerback Dwight Ellick, defensive tackle Lynn McGruder and guard Jason Nerys.