Was There Friction In The Bucs’ Locker Room?

September 15th, 2010

Joe was surprised as a bean counter when Bucs general manager Mark Dominik not only let go of Kardashian-chasing running back Derrick Ward, but also wide receiver Michael Clayton.

Why? Because, in short, Dominik took a bath with their contracts/signing bonuses.

But could it be the two were dismissed for reasons other than lack of production? That seems to be the inference from a quote by safety Tanard Jackson, unearthed by eye-RAH! Kaufman of the Tampa Tribune.

The Buccaneers swallowed hard on the brink of a new season and went with their gut instead of their wallet. And by releasing running back Derrick Ward and wide receiver Michael Clayton, Tampa Bay’s brain trust gained respect from those left behind.

“That meant a lot,” safety Tanard Jackson said. “We’re all men in here and we know this is a cutthroat business. They were true to their word in making those decisions and we got a sense of what direction they wanted to go – that’s to create the best winning environment possible. And that’s a credit to the guys upstairs.”

Well, that doesn’t exactly seem that Jackson was crying crocodile tears over Clayton and Ward’s departure.

Now let Joe be blunt: Joe has never, ever heard anything negative about Clayton and his relationship with his teammates. Every encounter Joe had with Clayton was nothing less than pleasant; he couldn’t have been nicer.

Did Clayton get emotional at times and have a quote or two he wished he could take back? Of course, and he quickly apologized.

Clayton also seemed to take pride in working with younger players, helping them get their feet wet in the NFL.

Ward is a different story. By all accounts, Ward was not a pleasant fellow. He was often short if not surly with members of the fourth estate, and as we all know seemed to blame everyone but himself for his shortcomings, most notably playing on a baseball infield that never seemed to hinder Ricky Williams or Ronnie Brown.

Ward also seemed to mope and pout a lot.

Not to ascribe any motives, just judging by the two high-salaried players who were let go, and their personalities, Joe’s going to guess Bucs players weren’t that broken up with Ward finding employment elsewhere.

15 Responses to “Was There Friction In The Bucs’ Locker Room?”

  1. McBuc Says:

    Joe…They may have both been great team mates and friends with the other guys, but niether gave the team a chance at winning any games last year or in preseason. The other players see this, and knowing it is a cut throat business thought they should be cut regardless of their team relationships or contract status. It showed that the FO wants the best players on the team regardless of experience, age. or salary. Both moves were smart. Now let’s get Blount up to speed!

  2. Jerrjenn2 Says:

    What’s nice is guys are being rewarded for their work,” middle linebacker Barrett Ruud said. “Spurlock should be here, and with respect to the guys that aren’t here, some of them didn’t work that hard. The nice thing about this team is that all the guys who step out on this field trust each other.

  3. KJ Says:

    I’ve met Clayton on two occassions and I agree, he was a real stand-up and polite guy who took the time to talk football with my buddies and I. I have nothing but great things to say about him off the field. I would be stunned if his being cut was anything more than his ack of on-field production and the Bucs not wanting to pay his full salary. But yes, Derrick Ward by all accounts was a real A-hole who took his money straight to the bank and the local Krispy Kreme.

  4. eric Says:

    The bucs did the right thing in releasing them. However, they were the ones that signed them in the first place……………..

  5. bucfanjeff Says:

    What he means is that the guys that work hard and produce are making the roster. I don’t care what sport it is, you want to be with guys that pull their weight. Ward and Clayton did not.

  6. Derf Says:

    Amen to all the above

  7. Dew Says:

    I see Clayton had a tryout with the Bears but haven’t heard if they signed him yet. I like the guys we kept at receiver. Our future.

  8. goodfellajay Says:

    joe is reading alil too deep again

  9. bucfanjeff Says:

    If we are in need of a good LG, why not trade for G Logan Mankins from NE? Young, talented. If we give up a pick in next years draft, say a #2, so what.

  10. bucfanjeff Says:

    oops, wrong article – sorry

  11. McBuc Says:

    Eric, your thinking is flawed…All teams pick up guys that do not work out. Clayton I can understand your comment on, he has not been good for a while. Ward was the best RB in FA at the time, and people all over praised them for picking him up. I suppose we should rip on Gruden for sending Jones packing for Charlie Garner, but if Charlie would have played out the way Gruden thought he would have been great. You never know, and you can not rip on the management for picking guys up that do not work out. Not to mention they saw the error and corrected it. You are kind of like Tampa 2, you are simply looking for things to bitch about.

  12. tha truth is... Says:

    once Clayton made tha comment about tha check being in tha bank, it was a wrap from there.

  13. Nick2 Says:

    I bashed this new regime alot last year but them cutting loose Ward and Clayton has won me over for the time being. It easy to see why Huggins should be there instead of Ward and Spurlock here instead of Clayton. Its all about production and if your getting paid millions to sit on the bench then lets pay them to sit at home or get out of town so the young players who show so much promise and work ethic can have a chance. If I remember both Clayton and Ward were not the strongest in the work ethic department. I think thats how Clayton got into Grudens doghouse and it was obvious that Ward came to camp out of shape regardless of what he says. Way to go Raheem and Dom you guys made some tough decisions and I am proud of you for that.

  14. Dave Says:

    From what I have see, I would guess he was mostly talking about Ward.

    I like Clayton, he always did the right thing… except catch the ball. Hope he catches on somewhere and has a decent career.

    As for Ward…. he semed all about Ward. All about the show and dough and not about working to make a better team.

  15. The_Buc_Realist Says:

    I think he was talking Ward. I have never heard Clayton blame anyone else for poor play. In fact Raheem, dared you to write something negative about him.