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Sunday, Sep 23, 2018
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Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Jason Pierre-Paul, Brent Grimes absent as Bucs open OTA practices

The Bucs started another chapter of their offseason Tuesday with the first OTA (organized team activity) practice at One Buc Place, with veterans Jason Pierre-Paul and Brent Grimes as the only healthy players absent from what is officially a voluntary workout.

"We'd love to have everybody here," said coach Dirk Koetter, who said he was unsure if Pierre-Paul or Grimes would practice before next month's mandatory minicamp. "That's the perfect world, but we don't live in a perfect world, unfortunately."

The Bucs have a handful of players recovering from surgeries and sidelined with minor injuries — three starting offensive linemen were out, with right tackle Demar Dotson and right guard J.R. Sweezy recovering from surgery and left tackle Donovan Smith held out with an unspecified injury.

That put right guard Caleb Benenoch in at right guard, where he could end up starting if Sweezy doesn't return healthy, with backups Cole Gardner and Leonard Wester stepping in at left and right tackle, respectively.

Linebacker Kendell Beckwith (ankle) wasn't in attendance, and linebacker Adarius Taylor (leg) was a spectator Tuesday. Two draft picks — safety Jordan Whitehead and receiver Justin Watson — were held out with injuries that Koetter said were not significant.

The most notable position change was second-year defensive back Maurice Fleming moving over from cornerback to safety. Koetter said Fleming has a better chance to make the roster at safety after the team used second-round picks on cornerbacks M.J. Stewart and Carlton Davis.

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