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For their own good
Fifty years ago, they were screwed-up kids sent to the Florida School for Boys to be straightened out. But now they are screwed-up men, scarred by the whippings they endured. Read the story and see a video and portrait gallery.
CELEBRATION - Here's a shocker: Jake Plummer didn't show.
Now the standoff begins for the quarterback who was traded to the Bucs in March but has remained consistent with his intention to retire.
General manager Bruce Allen said Thursday that Plummer's failure to report will prompt the team to place him on the reserved/did not report list today, when the Bucs hold their first practice.
From here, the Bucs could pursue a prorated amount of Plummer's signing bonus - believed to be about $7-million - though that process likely wouldn't begin until after the season starts.
Still, the Bucs haven't closed the book on Plummer. Coach Jon Gruden revealed Thursday he traveled to Idaho for a face-to-face meeting after a minicamp in June, taking his wife, Cindy, with him.
But while the Bucs are, on one hand, leaving the invitation open, they are showing signs of their intention to take a hard line with Plummer.
"There are consequences to not reporting to camp," Allen said. "We will treat him like any other person that would hold out from our camp."
Meanwhile, the Bucs haven't closed the door on quarterback Daunte Culpepper after last week's meeting. But Gruden said Thursday, "Nothing is imminent."
MORE ON ADAMS: The $46-million contract first-round pick Gaines Adams signed includes $18-million in guarantees. The $46-million represents a 14 percent increase over the contract D'Brickashaw Ferguson, last year's No. 4 overall pick, signed with the Jets.
ALL DONE: The Bucs signed all of their draft picks with second-round picks Sabby Piscetelli and Arron Sears wrapping up four-year deals late Thursday afternoon.
Their additions meant other moves had to be made to trim the roster. Defensive end Charles Bennett was placed on injured reserve, and tight end T.J. Williams was released. Williams, a sixth-round pick from N.C. State in 2006, spent all of last season on injured reserve.
PRESSURE'S ON: The consensus around the NFL is Gruden is on the hot seat after three losing seasons among the past four. Thursday, none other than the coach himself acknowledged as much.
But he added this: He welcomes the pressure.
"A lot of my friends around the league are on the same hot seat," Gruden said. "I've kind of always liked the kitchen a little hotter anyway."
Things have changed for Gruden since his triumphant debut in Tampa in 2002. He arrived in Tampa as a savior who eventually led the team to a Super Bowl title. But today, that often seems like a distant memory when contrasted against seasons such as 2006, when the Bucs finished 4-12.
"There was no pressure on me when I got here," Gruden said. "Now, there's pressure on all of us."