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Pittman Waiting On Bucs
Posted Feb 28, 2008 by Anwar S. Richardson
Updated Feb 28, 2008 at 03:16 PM
Tampa Bay running Michael Pittman wants to remain a Buc, but he is not sure the feeling is mutual.
Pittman has been eagerly waiting for the Bucs to offer him a contract and keep its most consistent running back in uniform, yet it is becoming painfully evident that when he becomes an unrestricted free agent on Friday, he could be looking at Tampa Bay through a rearview mirror.
“If there is a place for me in Tampa, and they would like for me to stay, then I will consider staying,” Pittman said. “It’s already tough enough to leave a place you feel comfortable with and people in the community, but sometimes you have to do what is best for your family.
“I still will definitely consider signing back with Tampa if my role is the right way. I’m not saying I want to be the starter, but I still want to play.”
When Pittman played, he was one of the most productive running backs in Bucs history.
Pittman, a 10-year veteran, ranks fourth all-time in team history with 3,364 rushing yards (5,307 overall), sixth in team history with 284 career receptions (415 overall), and owns four of the 16 longest rushing plays in team history. His defining moment was rushing 29 times for 124 yards to lead Tampa Bay to 48-21 Super Bowl victory against Oakland during the 2002 season.
However, Pittman’s role was reduced after Tampa Bay drafted Cadillac Williams in 2005. He has started only in 10 of 42 games since 2005, and rushed for 286 yards and added 191 receiving yards last season.
With the emergence of Earnest Graham, resigning of Michael Bennett and possible return of Cadillac Williams this season, Pittman is seemingly the odd man out.
“Sometimes it does get very frustrating on the sidelines and you do want to go out there and do something,” Pittman said. “With me, I never had a problem with sharing time with my teammates and always cheered them on during the game, but you do want to be part of the offense. You want to be able to celebrate with your teammates after the game just knowing you contributed in some type of way and that is what it’s all about.”
Pittman earned $1 million last season, and Tampa Bay might be content to see how many teams pursue him before extending its own contract offer.
“At the beginning of the season, I know Bruce [Allen] was talking to my [former] agent at that time about resigning me, but I hired Drew [Rosenhaus] and haven’t talked to him about if the Bucs are going to resign me,” Pittman said. “I had two years left on my contract, but I played a percentage of plays that allowed me to become a free agent, and I wanted to.
“Like I said, if they want me back here, I definitely will consider coming back. At the same time, I just want the opportunity to play still.”
Do you think Tampa Bay should resign Pittman, or focus on Graham, Bennett and Williams?