CELEBRATION — Buccaneers head coach Jon Gruden made it clear that Jeff Garcia was his No. 1 quarterback, even as he endured question after question about Tampa Bay’s interest in Green Bay quarterback Brett Favre.
The rumors swirling about the Bucs’ interest in the three-time MVP made reporting day at training camp a little more lively.
Foxsports.com’s Jay Glazer reported earlier on Friday that the Bucs and Jets have been given permission to talk about a trade for the retired quarterback, who has made it clear he wants to play in 2008 but not in Green Bay, where the Packers have committed to Aaron Rodgers as their starter.
Speaking of committing, Gruden made it clear who was No. 1 on his depth chart — Garcia, who will miss the first weekend of camp with an excused absence to attend a reunion.
“I love Jeff Garcia,’’ Gruden said. “I have tremendous confidence in him leading this football team. He’s a huge reason we turned this around last season and a huge reason we’re in position to repeat as NFC South champions.’’
But how much would acquiring Favre change things? Gruden coached with the Packers at the beginning of Favre’s career and has a friendship with the quarterback. Plus, Favre is more talented than any of the quarterbacks currently on the roster, despite being 38.
Gruden attempted to deflect those questions, go as far as to say that he hasn’t spoken to Favre in years, “and my cell phone bill confirms it.”
But he did leave the door open a crack.
“I’m never going to be a guy who puts his foot down and says we’re going to do this,” Gruden said. “But as I sit here today, Jeff Garcia is our quarterback. I don’t know what Green Bay is doing.”
Favre told NFL.com on Friday that he plans to report to Packers camp this weekend. He still must apply for reinstatement, which must then be approved by NFL commissioner Roger Goodell.
Garcia last season led the Bucs to a NFC South title, a 9-7 record and the best single-season passer rating (94.6) for any starting quarterback 35 or older in NFL history.
But the 38-year old Garcia missed three games — two due to injury — and plays a reckless style that leaves him open to injuries. Favre has the NFL record for consecutive starts by a quarterback.
In other news on Friday:
— The Bucs signed all of their remaining draft picks — CB Aqib Talib, WR Dexter Jackson and QB Josh Johnson.
— The Bucs placed RB Carnell Williams and LT Luke Petitgout on the active physically unable to perform list, meaning they can participate in practice once they’re ready.
— Disgruntled QB Chris Simms reported to camp, as promised. At the moment, there are no rumors circulating concerning his availability.
— DE Greg White reportedly did not arrive for camp on Friday, unhappy with the one-year deal he’s been offered by the Bucs. TBO.com reported that White should sign his tender today.
— The Bucs released RB Cory Boyd (injured), WR Taye Biddle and LB Teddy Lehman.
Want more from Friday’s reporting day? Bucsblitz.com’s Matthew Postins will analyze players like Greg White, Carnell Williams, Luke Petitgout, Cory Boyd and more and the importance of Friday’s events to their seasons. Click here to read this exclusive article.
Matthew Postins is the publisher of bucsblitz.com.