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Departed Emanuel shows no remorse

By ERNEST HOOPER and RICK STROUD

© St. Petersburg Times, published July 29, 2000


ORLANDO -- A passer-by snuck up behind Bert Emanuel and wrestled away the former Bucs and current Dolphins receiver after the teams' joint practice Friday morning at the Citrus Bowl.

The passer-by was Bucs quarterback Shaun King, who was one of several players to give Emanuel a warm welcome.

It has been three months since Emanuel's two-year stint as the Bucs' high-priced free-agent receiver ended bitterly with his release. But Friday, Emanuel said he holds no grudges and even made a point of shaking hands with Bucs general manager Rich McKay and coach Tony Dungy.

"It wasn't really a big shock to me," said Emanuel, who said he was relieved to be released. "Sometimes change is good. You go into a situation, and sometimes it just doesn't work out. I think we both agreed to disagree, basically, and just part ways."

Bucs fans have turned their attention to the hopes brought to town by All-Pro receiver Keyshawn Johnson, and Emanuel said he also is looking ahead.

"I haven't looked back at all," Emanuel said. "This is going to be a great year for me. I'm finally in a situation where I feel a little bit more a part of it. I feel like I can contribute a little bit, and I'm being used.

"I go in after practice, and I'm dripping wet. I had to get IVs the other day, and that was the first time in my career. That just shows I'm out there on the field. I'm putting my all in; I'm being used in different situations."

Emanuel is convinced the Dolphins offense under new coordinator Chan Gailey is a better fit for his talents than the Bucs scheme instituted by former offensive coordinator Mike Shula, now Miami's quarterbacks coach.

Gailey is even experimenting with Emanuel at quarterback. The former All-Southwestern Conference quarterback at Rice might be used in some situations.

TO THE SHOWERS: The weather was hot, tempers flared, but Dungy does not want his players to lose their cool.

So he wasn't pleased after fights broke out in the morning and afternoon workout sessions with the Dolphins.

In the morning workout, defensive end Tyoka Jackson wrestled with Miami's Hunter Goodwin, slamming the offensive lineman to the ground.

In the afternoon, Bucs fullback Kevin McLeod tangled with Miami rookie linebacker Scott Zimmerman. McLeod was immediately sent to the showers by Dungy with a few minutes remaining in practice.

"Yeah, I'm a little disappointed; that's not our style," Dungy said. "It happens, but it can't happen in a game, so we don't want it to happen in practice."

This week, Dungy indicated he might consider fining players $7,500 -- the penalty for fighting in a game -- if they come to blows in practice. Friday, he would not say whether Jackson or McLeod would be fined.

"We'll take a look at the films," he said.

McLeod said he was acting in self-defense after blocking Zimmerman to the ground.

"The guy jumped on my back and was upper-cutting me," McLeod said. "What was I supposed to do?"

NO PASSING GRADE: Dungy wanted to focus on the progress of the offense and spent the entire day on the Citrus Bowl while the defense worked next door at Tinker Field.

The passing game was out of synch. Quarterbacks King, Eric Zeier, Scott Milanovich and Joe Hamilton struggled to complete passes against a veteran Dolphins secondary, particularly in the morning session.

"I thought some of our young receivers got a little better in the afternoon playing against the bump-and-run coverage. And the offensive line, I thought, got better in the afternoon," Dungy said. "The offense is coming along, and we know there's going to be some bumps in the road as we put things in. We're really still installing it. It's about where we expected it, and they're going to be fine."

Offensive coordinator Les Steckel said all the plays used in Friday's workouts were given to the team Thursday night and were not scripted to work against the Dolphins' defensive scheme.

"The plays we ran today were put in last night," Steckel said. "So we're still in the process of installing. We're not here to beat Miami. We just want them to learn what the plays are. "Once you see the tape, you're encouraged. When you're out there sometimes, you're discouraged. I think there's a couple guys right now who are showing us they understand the offense, and that's good news."

INJURIES: Offensive tackle Jason Odom (back strain), tight end Patrick Hape (foot), tight end James Whalen (hamstring), safety Ashely Cooper (patellar tendon), wide receiver Tavarus Hogans (hamstring) and linebacker Derrick Brooks (cut hand) did not practice Friday. Fullback Mike Alstott aggravated a slight hamstring pull in the morning workout and did not practice in the afternoon. He's out for today's practice, as is linebacker Kinnon Tatum, who has a lower back sprain.

Running back Aaron Stecker (wrist sprain) and defensive end Marcus Jones (groin strain) are questionable.

Offensive tackle Pete Pierson did not finish the afternoon practice as a result of being still weakened by a flu virus. Running back Warrick Dunn, who was questionable with a lower back strain, participated in both workouts Friday and is no longer on the injury report.

ET CETERA: Bucs place-kicker Martin Gramatica ignited the crowd at the Citrus Bowl in the morning by connecting easily on a 60-yard field goal attempt. ... Wide receiver Karl Williams provided the only highlight in a kickoff drill by returning one to midfield.

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