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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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Suspension over, Cox has shot at roster spot with Kelly hurt
By STEPHEN F. HOLDER and JOANNE KORTH, Times Staff Writers
Published October 4, 2007
TAMPA - Reserve cornerback/special teams ace Torrie Cox returned to practice Wednesday after missing the past month because of an NFL suspension, saying he learned a lesson.
"Things have happened in my past and this is something that's going to be in the past, too," said Cox, who was suspended four games because of an alcohol-related violation of the league's substance-abuse policy. "It happened, it's over and you just get better. You just grow."
It's not clear whether Cox will immediately find a place in the lineup. The Bucs haven't yet added him to the active roster and have until next week to do so, according to coach Jon Gruden, because of a roster exemption that allows Cox to practice before being activated.
But it seems likely the Bucs will deem it necessary to add him given the shaky status of cornerback Brian Kelly, who is nursing a groin injury.
Cox was not permitted to practice while on suspension, so it will take time for him to work his way back.
RUUD REWARDED: Middle linebacker Barrett Ruud is off to a fast start and, now, the NFL is taking note.
Ruud was named NFC Defensive Player of the Month for September, leading the league with 51 tackles in addition to three forced fumbles, two fumble recoveries, two passes defensed and one interception.
It's the middle linebacker's job to make tackles, but turnovers get attention. "If you ask our defense, our job is to score or get the ball back," said Ruud, the NFC defensive player of the week after Week 2. "It's not to stop people; it's to score. So, you're always trying to get turnovers. ... If you stay at it, they'll come in bunches."
STEVENS REACTS: Facing 12 days in jail after his sentencing Tuesday on a drunk-driving conviction, tight end Jerramy Stevens said he has "a strong appeal" and hoped the NFL would wait for a resolution before handing out any potential discipline.
"I've appealed my case, so it's not finalized yet," he said. "It's completely in (commissioner Roger) Goodell's hands. Whatever they hand down, I'm going to have to deal with."
Stevens' appeal in the Scottsdale, Ariz., case led to a stay of his sentence, which should enable him to serve it after the season. Stevens also has a possession of marijuana charge, stemming from the same case, that is pending. His lawyer has said he does not expect the state to pursue the charge.
ROSTER MOVES: The team officially placed running back Cadillac Williams and left tackle Luke Petitgout, both of whom sustained season-ending knee injuries in Sunday's win against the Panthers, on injured reserve Wednesday. Williams had successful surgery Tuesday, while Petitgout said he was likely to have a surgical procedure done Friday.
Running back Kenneth Darby and tackle Dennis Roland were promoted from the practice squad to the active roster. On the practice squad, tackle Ryan Gibbons, receiver Chad Lucas and running back DonTrell Moore were signed. Cornerback Marcus Hamilton was released.