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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?

Reader Comments

Por (James Thomas) on February 28, 2008 (Suggest removal)

If Pittman can get his big arms to play FB he can stay.

Pitt’s great at picking up blitz’s and catching the football…but I think Earnest Graham did all of those things very well last year and can replace Pitt as our 3rd down back which would make Graham our everydown back.

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Por (Quentin) on February 28, 2008 (Suggest removal)

I think the headline was a little misleading. It gives the impression that the team’s just gonna cut him, when in fact this is as much his decision as it is theirs. He said this is his team of choice, but unless he has a more defined role he’ll hit the market. The guy’s like 32, he wants a chance to play a bit before he’s forced to hang ‘em up.

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Por (Rusty Fox) on February 28, 2008 (Suggest removal)

I agree with James.  Unless he could be a strong blocking fullback, the Bucs have little use for him.  I’ve always respected Pittman, but we’ve got 2 good backs in Graham and Bennett.  Unless Darby is looking good, we should see if we could pick up a good, fast back in the 3rd round or later.  WR, OT, CB, and maybe QB should be greater priorities, unless one of the best running back prospects drops much farther than expected.

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Por (Todd Oakes) on February 28, 2008 (Suggest removal)

They need 2 sign Pittmen he is a good resever out of the back fild

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Por (Brooks Morgan) on February 28, 2008 (Suggest removal)

I’m neither hot or cold on him. I will say that he is good to have when Caddy breaks down which is often. If he can find a promised increased role elsewhere, so be it. If not, give him a fair market value offer for a reliable back up running back.

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Por (JOHN hETZLER) on February 28, 2008 (Suggest removal)



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Por (Stephen Blackehart) on February 28, 2008 (Suggest removal)

I was pretty unsure about Pittman when they signed him, but he has really turned into one of the Bucs’ MVPs, in very subtle but important ways.  Gruden’s version of the West Coast Offense uses the ‘joker’ back a lot, and Pittman has become the perfect joker, or wild card.
Both sides are right.  Pitt’s earned the right to see if there’s a team out there willing to pay him more, and the team is right to let the market establish his pay rate.

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Por (John Klopfer) on February 28, 2008 (Suggest removal)

I’m not sure if Gruden knows how to utilize a back like Pittman.He can play either full or half back. When Pittman gets into the game, good things happen. Look at the under utilization of Mike Alstott over the last few years. Is it possible that Gruden has a problem with the name Mike?

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Por (mkurbo) on February 28, 2008 (Suggest removal)

Pittman will most likely join the ever-growing group of players who preformed well for the Bucs, but whose time has run out…

Thanks to Pittman, Wade, Nece, Hilliard, Simms, Kelly, Spires, Carter, Becht, Jones, Pearson and others for their efforts !

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Por (John S.) on February 28, 2008 (Suggest removal)

I think Pitt is starting to see that the 2nd-tier RB’s are not going to get the money they thought they would because of the depth of RB in the draft.  I’d like to see the Bucs bring in Neal or Richardson at fullback to team with Askew for a power running game to complement Graham & Bennett.

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Por (MItch R) on February 29, 2008 (Suggest removal)

I don’t think we need him.  I love BJ Askew at fullback and don’t see Pittman as anything more than depth at Running Back.  If he comes back at a severe discount, OK, but I wouldn’t overspend when we can put that money towards Michael Turner.

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Por (Michael Harris) on February 29, 2008 (Suggest removal)

<b>the Bucs signing of Bennett, spelled doom for the Pitt.  I saw Pitt at a charity event last night.  He loves the Tampa Bay area and has many friends here.  He’s in shape and ready to compete.  But I just don’t see it happening.  Too bad, cuz he still has game.  He just doesn’t have the speed of Bennett and that is what Gruden wants.</b>

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Por (Patrick Dotson) on February 29, 2008 (Suggest removal)

i feel the bucs would be stupid to let him go…remember the last two seasons what has happened to our back field…having good depth is a big key to success in the nfl..

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Por (Joseph A. Perez) on February 29, 2008 (Suggest removal)

I think he should be re-signed and asked to play fullback. Do you feel comfortable with just one?  He played some fullback last year and is a good blocker from that position.  He also gives a another fullback who is an excellent reciever, and would give us additional depth at rb.

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Por (Joseph A. Perez) on February 29, 2008 (Suggest removal)

One more thing.  According to this article, he would still be under contract if HE had not opted out.  If he had not done that, he would still have the comfort of being a Buc.  If he is not resigned he has no one to blame but himself.

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Por (Ron Matthews) on February 29, 2008 (Suggest removal)

Ihave always liked Pittman, he issues punishment when going through the line and has pretty good hands.

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Por (Ron Matthews) on February 29, 2008 (Suggest removal)

I have always liked Pittman, he issues punishment going through the line and has pretty good hands

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