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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.
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New linebacker says critics do not concern him
By RICK STROUD and JOANNE KORTH, Times Staff Writers
Published September 6, 2007
TAMPA -Jeremiah Trotter has heard the whispers that he has lost a step and some in the Eagles organization encouraged him to retire.
The linebacker, 30, pays no attention to it. He said he will answer his critics with his play.
"You're going to always have critics," said Trotter, who signed a one-year deal with the Bucs on Tuesday, two weeks after being released by the Eagles. "You can't worry about what people say and people think. You just keep working hard and when you're in between those white lines hit somebody in the mouth."
Coach Jon Gruden indicated it would be asking a lot to expect Trotter to play in the opener Sunday at Seattle but said Trotter has plenty to offer while he learns the Cover 2 scheme.
"I think it's a shot in the arm for our team," Gruden said. "He's not only been a great performer in the NFL, inside those doors, he's a great leader. And I really believe he's going to help rookies Quincy Black andAdam Hayward. We have our work cut out for us to get him ready to play. The quicker he learns our stuff, the quicker you'll see him on the field. In the meantime, he'll be a real good leader on our football team."
Quarterback Jeff Garcia, a teammate of Trotter's in Philadelphia, said you get intangibles with the 262-pounder.
"I don't think that he's lost a step," Garcia said. "It's one of those things where he still puts his head in the hole. He knows what he has to do to be an impact player on the defensive side of the ball.
"I thought he was one of the best players on our team. He brought so much emotion to the field, so many intangibles that you just can't measure."
FLYING HIGH: After today's practice, the Bucs will raise a new team flag measuring 4,000 square feet at the team's Tampa facility. At 80 by 50 feet, it will be the largest flying non-American flag in the nation. Constructed of ripstop nylon, the same material used to make parachutes, the flag was hand sewn by 11 people over six weeks. The flagpole stands 147.5 feet.
INJURY REPORT: Defensive end Patrick Chukwurah (knee) will sit out Sunday. Only receiver Joey Galloway (team decision) and tight end Jerramy Stevens (DUI trial) did not practice, but both are expected to play.