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[Bucs] Ditka's Advice For Keenan: Just Play

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  • [Bucs] Ditka's Advice For Keenan: Just Play

    Published: Oct 14, 2004






    TAMPA - Mike Ditka has some advice for Bucs holdout Keenan McCardell: Dump your agent and show up at One Buc Place ready to play.
    McCardell, who flew into Tampa unannounced Monday to discuss the impasse with Coach Jon Gruden, has two years remaining on his contract.

    He is slated to make $2.5 million this season and $2.75 million in 2005.

    ``I say to Keenan if you can find another job that will pay you $2.5 million, take it,'' Ditka said Wednesday during a Tampa stop to promote a national men's health education campaign. ``Keenan McCardell is a good football player, but like Keyshawn Johnson, there's a lot of 'em out there.

    ``He'll probably catch on somewhere else. Will he make any more money? No.''

    When Ditka coached the Bears, the Hall of Fame tight end faced a pair of malcontents on the brink of Chicago's 1985 championship season.

    ``We had linebacker Al Harris and safety Todd Bell holding out,'' Ditka said, ``and we never looked back. They missed our Super Bowl year because of their agents.''

    As a player, Ditka negotiated directly with Chicago owner George Halas without a representative.

    ``You think that was easy?'' he said. ``My attitude toward holdouts is don't be too greedy. There's enough pie to go around for everyone.''

    Ira Kaufman

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  • DJRamFan
    [Bucs] McCardell Visits With Gruden
    by DJRamFan
    TAMPA - Bucs wide receiver Keenan McCardell made several strides Monday in an effort to resolve his contract holdout. When his journey was over, though, McCardell realized he'd gotten nowhere.
    McCardell flew from his home in Houston to Tampa to meet with Bucs coach Jon Gruden, but said the meeting left his situation unchanged.

    ``While I have not changed my feelings or intentions concerning my situation, I decided to fly into town to personally meet with Coach Gruden in an effort to come to a mutually beneficial resolution to my holdout, whether by trade or otherwise,'' McCardell said in a statement.

    ``We both aired our views concerning the situation. Unfortunately, nothing was resolved, so I will return to Houston to continue my holdout.''

    Gruden was unavailable for comment on the meeting.

    McCardell has two years remaining on a contract that was slated to pay him $2.5 million this year and $2.75 million next year, but he is seeking close to the $4.4 million average being paid No. 1 receivers.

    McCardell contends several teams, including Chicago and Kansas City, have submitted trade offers to the Bucs, but Bucs general manager Bruce Allen has denied that claim.

    Roy Cummings
    -10-12-2004, 07:48 AM
  • Curly Horns
    Keenan does have a point, but he's wrong
    by Curly Horns
    By DEREK REDD, [email protected]
    June 30, 2004

    In holding out this preseason, Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Keenan McCardell is not making the wisest decision.

    But why he's making it is understandable.

    McCardell was a 12-year veteran brought in as option No. 2 behind Keyshawn Johnson. He was then thrust into the No. 1 spot after Keyshawn's relationship with the Bucs melted down. He was one of the few bright spots on an otherwise disappointing 7-9 Bucs team. He caught 84 balls for 1,174 yards fifth in the NFC and eight touchdowns.

    He earned $2 million in 2003.

    Muhsin Muhammad got $3.9 million to catch 54 passes for 837 yards and three scores. Marty Booker got $2.5 million to catch 52 passes for 715 yards and four scores.

    McCardell will earn a 2004 base salary of $2 million this season, plus a $500,000 roster bonus. That's still less than the $4.4 million Muhammad will make or the $2.7 million Booker will make.

    So if he's the team's No. 1 receiver and produces No. 1 receiver numbers, he'd like to get paid like a No. 1 receiver. He's not in the $5 million-plus club like Marvin Harrison or Randy Moss, but the Bucs should put a little more space between his salary and, say, Peter Warrick's ($2.06 million).

    The popular refrain among print and radio pundits is that McCardell should shut his trap, report to camp and whatever happens, happens. Once he finishes the last two years of his contract, then he and the team can talk.

    Not really.

    McCardell is 34 years old. The pundits also point out that 34-year-old wideouts don't make big-time money. Well, unless you're Jerry Rice, 36-year-olds don't make that money, either.

    They get cut for being over the hill.

    He can't really play himself into a better contract. By the time his current one expires, the Bucs can balk at a bigger paycheck, with his age as their excuse. Now is the only time he can make more money, and if holding out is his sole weapon, then he's using it.

    But he's using it against the wrong team at the wrong time.

    This Bucs regime doesn't budge. It paid Keyshawn to sit on his can at home for the second half of 2003. It jettisoned John Lynch and Warren Sapp without so much as a goodbye. When Jon Gruden says he's willing to move forward without McCardell, you should take him at his word.

    The rest of the receiving corps didn't help McCardell's chances at last week's mini-camp. Joey Galloway looked good, as did rookie Michael Clayton. And if Joe Jurevicius fully recovers from injury, the Bucs have three exceptional receivers and McCardell's name isn't among them.

    So McCardell will fight for more money, money he probably deserves, the only way he knows how. He and the Bucs will stare each other down to see who flinches first.

    I can't say I agree with...
    -06-30-2004, 11:01 PM
  • Nick
    McCardell to skip camp in protest
    by Nick
    Bucs Pro Bowler says he wants to be paid like the average No. 1 receiver.
    By ROGER MILLS, Times Staff Writer
    Published June 22, 2004

    TAMPA - He doesn't want to shatter the Bucs' salary cap. He isn't asking to be compensated like Terrell Owens, Marvin Harrison or Randy Moss.

    What Bucs receiver Keenan McCardell wants is to be paid close to the average of the league's No. 1 receivers.

    Now, he's about to make his point.

    After missing all 14 of the "voluntary" offseason team practices, McCardell said Monday he will not take part in the mandatory three-day minicamp that starts today. He said he will stay in Houston until the Bucs make him an offer he can't refuse.

    "I just want to be treated fairly," McCardell said from his Houston home. "When I signed (with the Bucs) it was to complement Keyshawn (Johnson), and even prior to his departure I was performing as a top receiver. And I'm still performing as a top receiver. I'm not trying to break the bank. It's fair for any employee in any line of work to get a raise when he gets a promotion or increased responsibility. ... That's fair."

    The veteran receiver, who has been silent about his contract situation since the end of the 2003 season, said he is making a stand based on his production and his work ethic.

    "I really think I'm a hard-working employee," he said. "I started from the bottom and worked my way to the top. I have never caused a problem in the locker room. I've been a consummate team player. I'm not trying to cash in on last year's season, I'm fighting for what's fair. I think the public would agree I was a Pro Bowl receiver and I deserve to be paid at least the average of the No. 1 receivers."

    McCardell, 34, has two years left on a four-year contract. He is due to earn $2.5-million this season and $2.75-million in his final year.

    McCardell's absence at this week's minicamp could cost him up to $1,000, the maximum fine allowed by the league's collective bargaining agreement. He could be fined $5,000 a day for any missed time at training camp, according to the CBA.

    "I understand that situation, I've been in the league long enough," said McCardell, entering his 13th season. "I'm fighting over a principle. What is fair and just, and sometimes you have to take some risks. Stand up for what you believe. ... I understand that there are negatives, including fines and other economic sanctions that go along with my situation, but I have to do what I know is in my heart."

    In keeping with team policy, Bucs general manager Bruce Allen does not comment on contract negotiations. McCardell's Las Vegas agent, Gary Uberstine, also wouldn't comment.

    Negotiations between Allen and Uberstine are ongoing with the hope of a resolution before July 30, when the...
    -06-22-2004, 06:44 AM
  • DJRamFan
    [Bucs] Griese Is The Word At QB
    by DJRamFan
    By KATHERINE SMITH [email protected]
    Published: Oct 12, 2004






    TAMPA - Brian Griese walked into the Bucs' meeting room Monday and eased himself into a chair.
    The seventh-year quarterback was a little more sore than in past weeks after significant playing time in the Bucs' 20-17 victory against New Orleans on Sunday. Griese plans on being just as sore next week following the Monday night game at St. Louis, where he will get his first start as a Buccaneer.

    Griese came in at New Orleans after Chris Simms, making his first NFL start, went down in the Bucs' second offensive series with a sprained left shoulder. An MRI revealed no extensive damage that would require surgery, Coach Jon Gruden said Monday, and Simms is listed as doubtful for the Rams game.

    Griese, the former Denver and Miami quarterback who signed with the Bucs in March, wouldn't speculate if the starting job is now his to lose.

    ``I have no idea,'' Griese said. ``I just found out [Monday] morning that I was going to play this week, so I'm happy about that. I'm happy about the opportunity to go out on Monday night. What a great stage, so I'm just excited about that.``

    Gruden was noncommittal on how long Griese would remain the starter.

    ``We're just going to deal with the reality of business. Chris is hurt,`` Gruden said. ``If Chris had stayed healthy and played like he was playing, he would continue to be our starter. He's not healthy. He's hurt. Brian Griese did a heck of a job. He's starting.``

    Griese completed 16 of 19 passes Sunday for 194 yards, finishing with a passer rating of 126.8. He led scoring drives of 41 and 71 yards, the longer drive capped off with his 45- yard touchdown pass to tight end Ken Dilger.

    But the most impressive drive may have been the game's last, during which the Bucs converted two key third downs to run out the clock.

    ``I can't really say that in my years of coaching, that I have seen a guy come in, off the bench, and play that well in a situation where we really needed him to do that,'' Gruden said. ``He sparked us. He ignited us. He made some great plays in the game.''

    Griese likes the responsibility that comes with the quarterback role in Gruden's offense. That was evident during the Bucs' final drive Sunday when Griese threw on three consecutive downs and converted a third-down play with a 14-yard pass to Michael Pittman.

    ``I like how much the offense is put in the quarterback's hands,'' Griese said. ``They really require the quarterback to pull the trigger, put the team in the right play, to make the right reads and to win the game.

    ``I've been in places where games have been taken out of the quarterback's hands.``

    Though Gruden said a decision on who would back up Griese would be made later...
    -10-12-2004, 07:46 AM
  • DJRamFan
    [Bucs] The present is Griese's, if only for one week
    by DJRamFan
    By GARY SHELTON, Times Sports Columnist
    Published October 11, 2004

    NEW ORLEANS - Yesterday belongs to someone else. Tomorrow has already been promised.

    All Brian Griese has is today.

    For him, for now, it is enough.

    He does not instill faith, the way an old starter does. He does not carry hope the way a young one does.

    All Griese provided was a victory.

    For the Bucs, for the time being, it was plenty.

    When it came to saving the day, was anyone looking toward Griese? When it came to a lifeguard dragging a season out of choppy water, did anyone look his direction?

    In a season that came down to a choice of Brad vs. Chris, he was the overlooked quarterback. No one pleaded his case. No one called his name. He was just another son of another quarterback-turned-analyst, another passer who was interesting enough to notice but not inviting enough to debate.

    Until Sunday, that is, when Griese quietly and efficiently dropped his name into the Bucs' quarterback debate.

    Griese came off the bench to win the game for the Bucs on Sunday. On a team that has been erratic, he provided efficiency. In a situation bordering on chaos, he supplied calm. He was precise, poised, polished. In other words, against the Saints, he out-Bradded Brad.

    Considering that Griese had been stuck between forlorn and forgotten, he had a pretty spiffy day.

    Who would have figured Griese would steal the show? Sunday was supposed to belong to Chris Simms, boy wonder. Griese was just another unpicked player in the Dating Game.

    When the Bucs benched Brad Johnson earlier in the week, they looked right past Griese. Why not? In his career, Griese has been called everything but special. In the game of Who's-Your-Daddy, you would have expected Phil Simms, the old Giant, to have had the warm father-son chat on Sunday evening. Instead the call went to Bob Griese, the old Dolphin.

    For 20 plays, Simms looked like exactly the right choice. Of the Bucs quarterbacks, Simms has the most voltage, and there is something to his play that seems to energize his team. He moved well in the pocket, and he threw fastballs.

    Then Simms was sacked, and the muscles in his left shoulder were twisted into braids. That was when Griese rose from the ashes and said hello. He hit 16 of 19 passes, and he controlled the game like Bobby Fischer at a chess board.

    And now for the big question:

    Who starts now?

    If you are Jon Gruden, the answer lies in Simms' sore shoulder. If Simms' shoulder isn't damaged, it's an easy decision. You made it last week.

    Provided Simms somehow wakes up over the next few mornings and, whillickers, his shoulder is all healed, then he should start against the Rams. None of his 20 snaps against the Saints were an argument...
    -10-11-2004, 01:18 PM
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