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Buccaneer Training Camp Opening Weekend: Front Office Quiets Controversy; Rookies Making Noise Early

TAMPA - JULY 31:  Defensive tackle Brian Price #92 of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers works against offensive lineman Davin Joseph #75 during Training Camp at One Buccaneer Place on July 31 2010 in Tampa Florida.  (Photo by J. Meric/Getty Images)
TAMPA - JULY 31: Defensive tackle Brian Price #92 of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers works against offensive lineman Davin Joseph #75 during Training Camp at One Buccaneer Place on July 31 2010 in Tampa Florida. (Photo by J. Meric/Getty Images)
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As a Grateful Dead fan, I couldn't think of a better way to put this weekend for the Buccaneers:

What a long, strange trip it's been.

As players reported for camp on Friday, uncertainty continued to cloud One Buc Place, as two of the most important players on the team remained unsigned and absent.  It seemed from most media reports that the teams weren't even discussing a deal. Visions of scroogish Glazers counting their money undoubtedly danced through some fans' heads. 

Not so fast.

By Friday night, reports broke that the Buccaneers had reached the parameters of an agreement with Penn.  By Saturday morning, Penn inked on the dotted line and McCoy was wrapping up his deal.  All in all, the Glazers paid out around $106 mil to arguably their two most important unsigned players.  That's alot of dough to throw out, especially in a 24-hour span.  As the uncertainty and doubt about Penn's future washed away, the perception of cheapness with the Glazers also washed away with it.  There's no doubt they made one of the better offensive linemen in the National Football League happy and showed they will reward a player with a respectable and fair-market contract.

Buccaneer fans rejoiced.

However, one man who did not rejoice was MLB Barrett Ruud, who, after voicing his support for Penn on Friday, dodged the media in a petulent manner on Saturday after news broke of Penn's signing and McCoy's deal.  After inking Penn and continuing to wait on Ruud, the Glazers are showing it's not a matter of not wanting to shell out the money for a player per se.  They obviously want to see more of Ruud this season before commiting to him long-term as the leader and quarterback of that defense.  This will be a hot-button topic amongst media and fans until Ruud either signs or leaves town.  One thing's for sure though....if he leaves, it's likely not because the Glazers are being cheap.

As for training camp news nuggets from this weekend, there were certainly interesting tidbits outside of the contract signings, which were pretty much updated to the minute by Stephen Holder, TBBuccaneers, and the Pewter Report via Twitter:

 Brian Price apparently came out like a man and made a good impression on the coaching staff early (@TBBuccaneers).  As the Pewter Report noted, Brian Price came out the first day and, according to Raheem, "wrecked practice".  Gotta be excited about the potential for his disruptive ability next to McCoy.

 Mike Williams earned reps with the first team at the X receiver position (@TBBuccaneers). Per Raheem Morris, Williams has stepped up, impressed, and earned it:

"He's been out there a lot of the time. You also see Sammie Stroughter at the X position," coach Raheem Morris said. "Mike Williams had a dynamic offseason. He's come in, he's done everything we've asked. He's been one of the guys who has caught the ball, he's stood out and he's been standing out since he's been here....He's a big, tall, fast guy who can go out there and make plays, and right now he's running with the ones. So he'll have an opportunity to go out there and prove himself in the preseason. Depth charts don't come out until we play Cleveland (the first regular-season game). But right now, he's running with the ones (first team), and he's having a ball and his teammates are having a ball with him."

Raheem acknowledged that Arrelious Benn is a little behind Williams right now, but isn't willing to compare him to Williams due to Williams' "earlier success."

 Oh, and also in Rick Stroud's article, Penn will be weighted 6 times per year and will be required to maintain a weight between 330 and 335 pounds.  Pretty much takes the Albert Haynesworth factor out of the realm of possibility....that is if Penn wants his money as badly as he's seemed to.

 QB Jevan Snead was essentially beaten out by Rudy Carpenter and was released this weekend (@HolderStephen).  Well that was fast.

 Cadillac Williams left practice after suffering what sounds to be a mild ankle sprain.  He is listed as day-to-day (@HolderStephen). Much like Kellen Winslow, he's a guy I want to see have as little wear and tear on him as possible before September.

 Speaking of Winslow, he missed two straight practices due to his knee (@HolderStephen), which is something I was preaching before camp started.  As long as he's familiar with the playbook, I don't care if he sees a single snap in the preseason.  That knee is going to continue to be an issue throughout the season, I fear.