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Hayes Absence Won’t Be As Long As Expected
Posted Feb 12, 2010 by Roy Cummings
Updated Feb 12, 2010 at 01:00 PM
By ROY CUMMINGS
TAMPA – That shoulder surgery that Bucs starting LB Geno Hayes had won’t keep him off the field for as long as some had suspected.
Though a Brighthouse Networks report suggested Hayes would be out until the start of training camp, Bucs GM Mark Dominik said Friday that Hayes should be back in time for the team’s mandatory minicamp in June.
Dominik said that other than DL Jimmy Wilkerson, a free agent who underwent knee surgery Jan. 16, no other Bucs players had offseason surgeries that will force them to miss significant parts of the offseason workout program.
Dominik also announced that in an effort to spend more time concentrating on the draft, the Bucs will not schedule any voluntary offseason workouts or OTAs until after the draft.
Dominik said another reason for moving the start of OTAs to April is because he and Coach Raheem Morris want the workouts to include both returning players and newcomers obtained in the draft and free agency.
As for free agency, Dominik reiterated a point he made during a media session at the Senior Bowl where he said the Bucs primary focus was on building through the draft.
That doesn’t mean the Bucs won’t be active in free agency, Dominik said. The likelihood, though, is that they’ll look less at top-tier free agents and more at role players or potential starters who can be obtained for lower salaries.
That’s not atypical of the Bucs. They’ve taken a similar approach ever since they signed the likes of Charlie Garner, Matt Stinchcomb and Derrick Deese during the 2005 free agency signing period.
“ The focus for us,’’ Dominik said “is on building through the draft, keeping our core players and developing a nucleus of talent on this football team. That doesn’t mean we won’t go out there and look at a guy that we think can help this football team.
“There’s been no governor placed on myself or this organization saying, ‘Oh, you can’t do anything.’ It hasn’t been like that. But you do equate ability and value and see if it makes sense for you to do something going forward with a player.’’
Dominik again pointed to history as the primary reason the Bucs have adopted the building plan they intend to follow.
“I think it comes back to you go back and you look at the Vikings and the Steelers and the Cowboys back in the 70s and even prior to that - the Packers - they all did it through the draft,’’ Dominik said. “They were all the best drafting teams in football.
“There’s little reason why the Steelers won four championships when you look at the fact that they had one of the greatest draft classes of all time. It all came there. It didn’t come through trading or acquiring. It came through the draft.
“That’s exactly how the Colts have built their team. They’ve really only signed one free agent over the years, and that was a kicker. Everything else has been through the draft and rewarding players at the time they felt they needed to be rewarded. That’s the way we’re looking to do it here.’’