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Bucs' offseason continues to unravel - ESPN - 6/2/2003


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Bucs' offseason continues to unravel

By Darrell Trimble

NFL Insider

Monday, June 2

Updated: June 2

11:43 AM ET

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers' season is deteriorating before our very eyes, and training camp hasn't even started yet.

Super Bowl hero Dwight Smith was charged with aggravated assault for allegedly flashing a gun at another driver because of a traffic incident, the team insulted Brad Johnson by trying to short him out of a $1.5 million bonus, coach Jon Gruden openly questioned the managerial abilities of GM Rich McKay, and offensive tackle Kenyatta Walker was subdued by pepper spray after an incident at a local nightclub.

But all those occurrences pale in comparison to what happened over the weekend. Running back Michael Pittman had a domestic argument and intentionally rammed his Hummer into his wife's Mercedes just outside the couple's Phoenix-area home. As if that wasn't bad enough, the targeted car was occupied by Pittman's wife, his 2-year-old son and a babysitter.

"He just doesn't think rationally when he's angry," his wife, Melissa told the Arizona Republic. "We all were scared. When you have a Hummer coming toward you and you're in a car, it's a scary situation and you don't know what's going to happen."

According to the Tampa Tribune, the force of the impact pushed the Mercedes over a median and tore one of the tires from its rim.

The fact that Pittman acted out aggressively against his wife should come as no surprise, since he was arrested twice in 2001 while with the Arizona Cardinals, both times on domestic abuse charges. Those arrests resulted in a one-game suspension. NFL regulations indicate he could face harsher penalties pending the outcome of Saturday's incident.

The Bucs, however, were eager to sign a running back in the wake of losing Warrick Dunn, and appeared satisfied that the anger management classes Pittman had been forced to take had paid off. They obviously missed the mark on that one.

"We thought about it before we brought Michael in," general manager Rich McKay told the St. Petersurg Times after bringing in Pittman last year. "We did the background check that we felt necessary from a police and league standpoint. We knew once we went down that path, we were going to get some articles about why this and why that.

"I know the facts that we know. I know how he's been through the counseling side of things. I know what people in Arizona say about him. I feel comfortable about Michael."

But Pittman's problems were evident even before he made it to the NFL. In 1997, while playing for Fresno State, he served probation after being charged with slamming a former girlfriend's face into a car seat. That was pre-dated by another incident in 1994, when a woman alleged Pittman tackled her, pushed her head into a brick wall, grabbed her around the neck and pushed her over a bench.

And while Pittman explains that some accusations are false and some of the stories are true, just blown out of proportion, the latest incident shows that he has yet to learn to get a hold on his temper.

The Bucs might want to consider parting ways with Pittman. He just signed a five-year, $8.75-million contract last year, but his performance in his only year in Tampa doesn't warrant the Bucs taking another chance on him. As a team, the Buccaneers did achieve success, winning the Super Bowl, but they were only the second team to reach the title game while averaging fewer than 100 yards rushing per game for the season.

They also had a league-low six rushing touchdowns. Though he did come through with a big-time performance in the Super Bowl, Pittman is hardly indispensable. The Bucs took a chance on Pittman coming out of Arizona, and they got burned. It would be best if they admitted their mistake and dropped him before he explodes again.

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I wouldn't go that far. He's a very rich man's Dilfer. Now, I don't think that Brad Johnson is a savior but he does have a history of improving offenses. He's a very solid NFL QB. He came to a sub-.500 Redskin team and led our offense to a playoff year in 1999. He then came to a decent Bucs team and led them to a championship.

I think it's pretty comical the way some people bash ex-Redskins once they walk out the door. In reality, Brad Johnson is the best QB we've had here since Gibbs was our coach.

Now, Patrick Ramsey will make Johnson's contributions look small, don't get me wrong! :cheers:

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Originally posted by B&G

"He just doesn't think rationally when he's angry," his wife, Melissa told the Arizona Republic. "We all were scared. When you have a Hummer coming toward you and you're in a car, it's a scary situation and you don't know what's going to happen."

Unless I'm in a tank, if I see a Hummer coming at me, I'm pretty sure that I'm $hitting my pants.

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Jimbo, I pretty much agree with your point. I would say BJ was a pro-bowl caliber QB for one half of one season and solid for the rest of that season.

My only point is that you'd be hard-pressed to find that production from a Redskin QB over the past 10 years. I don't know if there has been a better statistical season than the full year he played here....I could be wrong though.

Anyway, I'm not a huge Brad supporter, I actually believed in 2000 that the switch to George would spark a playoff berth (haha) but I just think he is made out to be a lot worse than he really was.

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Its funny about Brad Johnson. He threw for over 3000 yds and had a QB rating of 90+ in Gruden's offense. I am sure it was the scheme or something but walking away with a Super Bowl Ring...........well, I know who had the last laugh.

Here's to Patrick breaking the Skins single season passing record :cheers:

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Originally posted by UtahRedskins

Its funny about Brad Johnson. He threw for over 3000 yds and had a QB rating of 90+ in Gruden's offense. I am sure it was the scheme or something but walking away with a Super Bowl Ring...........well, I know who had the last laugh.

Here's to Patrick breaking the Skins single season passing record :cheers:

I believe he went for 4005 and had a 90.2 rating here, I doubt its the scheme.

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