By Tom Krasniqi
It was a hot day at One Buc Place for the start of the Bucs mandatory 3 day minicamp. Mandatory means everyone is required to show up. And that includes those players who aren’t quite healthy yet.
Yes, that includes the big guy— #77. He was out there along the sidelines. You can’t miss him. Carl Nicks was present but wasn't practicing.
He did miss some OTA workouts. Nicks was asked why.
“Because it wasn’t mandatory,” Nicks deadpanned. Simple enough answer. Nicks would’ve been fined had he missed any part of the mandatory minicamp.
Nicks signed a monster free agent deal with the Bucs back in 2012— 5 year deal worth $47.5 million. The deal included $31 million in guaranteed money.
Since the signing, it’s been one setback after another. A toe injury turned into a chronic foot problem with nerve damage to boot. In addition, Nicks came down with MRSA twice last season. Nicks has played just 9 games in two seasons and he’s praying that those problems are behind him.
“God, I hope so,” Nicks told reporters after Tuesday’s practice session. “Honestly, I think I will be ready to play.”
That would be a welcome sign because the situation at guard doesn’t seem too promising without Nicks. The massive guard (listed at 6-5, 349 pounds) is still dealing with discomfort in his injured foot.
“There’s always going to be pain. It’s just how much I can deal with,” Nicks said. Nicks says he has a high pain tolerance which helps.
Bucs head coach Lovie Smith says Nicks passed his physical but “has a long ways to go.” Lovie didn’t sound too pleased about Nicks missing some OTAs work.
“For me, I try not to get too upset about guys for those voluntary practices that we have,” Lovie said. “You have grown men that make decisions. This week of course, they don’t get a chance to make that decision— and they’re all here.”
Nicks admits he’s not in football shape. He’s been doing some elliptical work but hasn’t begun jogging yet. He hopes to do that soon. Doesn’t sound too promising. So, what has he been doing this offseason?
“Fishing….some rehabbing….some more fishing,” Nicks said. He also became the father of a baby girl two weeks ago.
The Bucs are banking on Nicks to be ready to go for training camp. And they have no choice. With Nicks due more guaranteed money, cutting him would cause a major cap hit of more than $9.3 million, according to overthecap.com.
“My status is on schedule,” Nicks said. “Looking forward to being ready for training camp.”
Bucs sure hope so. They have a a lot invested in Nicks and so far, they’re seeing very little return on that investment.
News & notes:
- Lovie says there’s 100% attendance for the mandatory minicamp.
- Rookie Kadeem Edwards lined up at left guard with Patrick Omameh getting snaps at right guard. Lovie says the team continues to look at different combinations throughout the offseason. Nothing will be set in stone until the pads come on at training camp.
- CB Alterraun Verner (undisclosed), safety Dashon Goldson (foot) and Nicks were among those who didn’t practice. Safety Mark Barron did practice. Barron has missed some offseason workouts with an unspecified injury.
- WR Vincent Jackson (hamstring) and rookie WR Mike Evans (hamstring) were practicing although Evans did not take part in team drills. Lovie says the injury is stunting the first round pick’s development.
- Lovie reiterated that Doug Martin is the starter at running back but he will use a rotation.
- CB Danny Gorrer was a standout during Tuesday’s practice. He came up with a number of nice plays, including a pick 6 off a deflected pass during 7-on-7s. Lovie says Gorrer is getting some looks as the nickel corner in the slot.
- WR Louis Murphy also turned some heads during practice. The local product hauled in a beautifully thrown ball by QB Josh McCown during 11-on-11 drills. McCown had a really sharp practice.
- The Bucs appear to be hurting in the punt returner department. Eric Page, Skye Dawson and rookie free agent Solomon Patton took turns fielding punts on Thursday. Page muffed one punt.
- Six players are getting tryouts during this minicamp, including former Panthers WR David Gettis. The others: S Anthony Dye, CB Kip Edwards, LB T.J. Fatinikun, DT Ronald Talley and P Kirby Van Der Camp.
- The USF football coaching staff was on hand for Tuesday’s practice.
- The Bucs have announced their training camp schedule. Players will report on July 24th with the first practice taking place on Friday July 25th from 4:30pm-7pm. For more details on practice times, check out 620wdae.com and buccaneers.com.
- The Bucs 3 day mandatory minicamp runs through Thursday and the practices are not open to the public.