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Jared Allen article

Allen happy to be in NFL camp
By Marcus Nelson

Palm Beach Post Staff Writer

Thursday, August 25, 2005

One day during one of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers early practices at training camp it looked like a Florida Atlantic offensive meeting broke out.

There was FAU coach Howard Schnellenberger on the sideline, watching former Owls quarterback Jared Allen take snaps. Not too far away, former offensive lineman Kevin Fischer was lifting weights and watching from the stands as was current Owls quarterback Danny Embick.

The good times wouldn't last long.

A few days later, reality set in when Fischer and Allen were released. Allen re-signed five days after being released and is still battling to make the Bucs' roster as Tampa Bay prepares to face the Dolphins in an exhibition game at 7:30 p.m. Saturday.

Allen is learning the sometimes hard life of being an NFL rookie. But he wouldn't trade it for anything.

"Sometimes you get down or take something for granted and then I'll stop and remember wow, I'm in an NFL camp," Allen said.

After he was released, Allen was brought back because Tampa Bay coach Jon Gruden said he wanted to carry four quarterbacks for exhibition games.

With Brian Griese, Chris Simms and Luke McNown getting most of the work in practice, Allen's biggest challenge has been getting enough plays to get better.

But Gruden thinks Allen may work out in the long-term.

"It's frustrating for him because he doesn't get a lot of reps really," Gruden said. "He's thrown our individual stuff, he's in all the team meetings and he's a guy we want to learn our stuff. Especially with quarterbacks it takes guys a year or two or maybe two, four or six years, to get their chance. He's one of those guys that's in the grooming stage."

Allen was impressive in the team's rookie camp, earning praise from Gruden for his knowledge of the pro offense.

In training camp Allen is just trying to impress coaches when he gets rare chances.

"Coach Gruden really likes to prepare for what's going on now this season and I can understand that," Allen said. "Right now, I'm just trying to do my best by watching and absorbing what's going on."

One of Allen's biggest supporters is watching closely.

"They are very high on him," Schnellenberger said. "He's not going to get the reps there, but I wouldn't be surprised if they sent him to Europe to play."

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Jared Allen article

Bad news about an 'expected' cut in Tampa Bay (from the St. Petersburg Times):

* * *

Whitaker and Smart are released

By RICK STROUD, Times Staff Writer
Published August 30, 2005

TAMPA - Ronyell Whitaker was flagged for late hits in each of the last two preseason games, costing the Bucs 30 yards on kickoffs.

The penalty Whitaker may have paid for those mistakes is his job.

Whitaker and running back Ian Smart were among the players released by the team in an effort to reach the NFL's 65-man roster limit by 4 p.m. today.

Although the Bucs will not officially announce cuts until this afternoon, Whitaker was among 10 uninjured players who did attend practice Monday. Coach Jon Gruden later confirmed Smart had been released.

The list of potential roster cuts included quarterback Jared Allen , receivers Chris Davis and Kevin Youngblood , fullback Steve Kriewald , guard Phil Bogle , receiver Derrick Lewis , guard Sam Wilder and defensive end Bryant McNeal .

The 5-foot-9, 196-pound Whitaker had 13 tackles in three games this preseason. He played in four games with one start in 2003 before spending the 2004 season on the practice squad. But he was assessed an unsportsmanlike penalty for a hit out of bounds that negated a 42-yard kickoff return by DeAndrew Rubin on Aug. 20 against the Jaguars. On Saturday, Whitaker lost containment in kickoff coverage and hit Dolphins returner Wes Welker out of bounds, resulting in a 15-yard penalty.

Smart, a 5-foot-8, 192-pounder, faced an uphill battle to earn a roster spot at running back, particularly with the performance of Earnest Graham , who leads the Bucs with 142 rushing yards and two touchdowns on 31 carries. Smart rushed 13 times for 38 yards and caught three passes for 9 yards in the preseason. He played in four games last season for the Bucs, rushing twice for 26 yards. He also returned eight kickoffs for 167 yards.

"We feel like he did get a lot of reps on the practice field, we feel like we did play him extensively in the first couple games," Gruden said. "He's a good back. Hopefully, he catches on with another team. You can't deny the fact that No. 33 (Graham) has looked very good here. We drafted Cadillac Williams , Michael Pittman has been a productive back here, Derek Watson is still in the mix, so when you couple that with the fact that Mike Alstott is also going to play the tailback position, we felt it was good for Ian Smart to look elsewhere. Hopefully, someone else takes a look at him."

The Bucs have 11 roster exemptions, meaning they have to release 15 players by today. They could opt to place tackle Derrick Deese (foot) and running back Charlie Garner either on injured reserve or the physically unable to perform list. The final cut to 53 players is Sunday.

BOOGER RETURNS: Defensive tackle Anthony McFarland returned to practice for the first time in more than two weeks after the death of his mother, Nancey , Aug. 16.

McFarland is expected to play in Thursday's game against the Texans.

"He's a very popular guy on this team and well thought of. He's been here a long time," Gruden said. "He's got a lot of close friends on the team and on the staff and in the organization. I'm sure he's getting a lot of support from people. It's very unfortunate. He's not the only one that's had to go through this and we just try to help him the best we can."

CLAYTON CALLS HOME: Receiver Michael Clayton said he checked on his family in Baton Rouge, La., and they were fine after the state was ravaged by Hurricane Katrina.

"Everybody is fine in my home, so I'm thankful for that," Clayton said. "A couple tree branches and stuff, which is normal for hurricanes. They had a power outage, but nothing serious."

Clayton said his mother went to Mississippi to take care of his grandmother. His brother, father, and 3-year-old daughter, Madison , remained in Baton Rouge.

"I have a daughter back at home and that's my main concern," Clayton said. "I know my parents and my brother is older, they can basically fend for themselves. But my daughter is only 3 years old, that's a harder challenge to take care of a child in situations like that, especially if something goes wrong. It is a load off your mind, now."

NECE READY FOR RETURN: Ryan Nece said he is better prepared to be a starting linebacker than he was two years ago, adding his demotion last season behind Ian Gold was frustrating.

Nece became the starter at strongside linebacker when Jeff Gooch suffered a severe calf pull in Saturday's 17-14 preseason loss at Miami. Gooch is out indefinitely.

"That was difficult. Any time you're in a job, whether you're a doctor or lawyer, and they bring somebody else to do your job and demote you, that can be frustrating," Nece said of Gold, who signed in the offseason with the Broncos. "It was frustrating as a linebacker that they wanted to go a different direction. But you've got to keep working and improving and now I have another opportunity to play."

"He's a very fast, much more physical, complete linebacker now than when he was a starter a couple of years ago," Gruden said of the 6-foot-3, 224-pound fourth-year player out of UCLA. "He's done a real good job and I don't want to discount the fact that Jeff Gooch is a key member of this team and we'll miss him until he comes back."

INJURIES: Guards Jeb Terry (knee) and Matt Stinchcomb (back) and safety Dexter Jackson (Achilles') returned to practice. Tackle Kenyatta Walker (knee) did not practice.

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Jared Allen article

It's official…..he's been cut. A sad day for FAU fans….keeping my fingers crossed for Laskowski.
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