Should beleaguered defensive tackle Brian Price regain the form that made him one of UCLA's most dominant pass rushers, it likely will be the Chicago Bears and not the Tampa Bay Buccaneers who benefit.
The Bucs, who selected Price in the second round of the 2010 draft, traded their projected starting nose tackle to Chicago on Thursday for a late-round draft pick in 2013, pending a physical.
Tampa Bay shook up its roster on the eve of training camp, also releasing receiver Dezmon Briscoe and signing former Carolina Panthers linebacker Thomas Williams to a two-year contract.
Neither Tampa Bay general manager Mark Dominik nor coach Greg Schiano was made available to discuss the roster moves.
Just days ago, Price's agent told The Tampa Tribune the third-year pro would report to camp in the best shape of his career after previously undergoing radical surgical procedures to re-attach his hamstring muscles to his pelvis and fuse the pelvis in such a way that his hamstrings would no longer rip it apart.
The procedures greatly limited Price's effectiveness in 2011. Price, who could not be reached for comment Thursday, told The Tribune last season he never felt better than "60-percent'' because of the ongoing problems.
Those problems carried over into the offseason, which took a tragic turn when Price's 30-year-old sister Bridget was killed in a car accident in Los Angeles in early May. Price tried to work through the loss, but less than two weeks after the accident he collapsed from what his agent said was physical and mental exhaustion shortly before a workout at One Buc Place.
Price spent four days in a Tampa hospital after the breakdown. Even after his release, he was not in the right physical state or frame of mind to focus on football.
Shortly after returning to the team, Price got into a fight with rookie teammate Mark Barron, the team's 2012 first-round draft pick from Alabama. The Bucs gave Price permission to spend the rest of his offseason working out near his Los Angeles home.
Those workouts appeared to prove beneficial to Price, whose agent said he would report to the Bucs weighing less than 300 pounds and having regained much of the physical ability that made him a prized prospect.
Price came to camp Thursday as the projected starter at nose tackle, but his departure likely turns that job over to Amobi Okoye, a 2007 first-round pick (10th overall) of the Houston Texans.
Okoye came to the Bucs as a free agent in April, signing a one-year, $1.3 million deal. He had arthroscopic surgery to clean debris out of his knee earlier in the offseason, but is ready for the start of camp workouts today, Schiano said.
The Bucs claimed Briscoe off waivers from the Bengals two years ago and had high hopes for him, though he failed to appear at several workouts during Schiano's offseason program. Briscoe led Tampa Bay with six touchdowns last season.
Williams, a third-year pro, played seven games last season with the Panthers, starting two and recording 11 tackles and four passes defensed. He has played in 15 career games since entering the league as a fifth-round draft pick (155th overall) by the Jacksonville Jaguars in 2008.
Also on Thursday, the Bucs pulled linebacker Adam Hayward off the Physically Unable to Perform list, meaning he will be ready when practice begins today.
The team also placed defensive end Da'Quan Bowers and cornerback Derrick Roberson on the Active/Physically Unable to Perform list and put left tackle Donald Penn, who recently strained a calf muscle while training in Los Angeles, on the Reserve/Non-Football injury list.
Finally, Tampa Bay waived defensive back Devin Holland.
CAMP INFO, SCHEDULE
WHEN: Friday to Aug. 16
WHERE: One Buc Place, 3302 W. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., Tampa
Training camp practices are open to the public on specific dates, free of charge, no ticket required. Parking is located off Himes Avenue. Prohibited items include alcohol backpacks/large bags, banners or flags with sticks, beach balls, binocular cases, coolers, fireworks/laser pointers, horns/whistles, items that could be missiles/projectiles, outside food/drinks and pets.
Friday – 8:45-11:30 a.m.
Saturday – 8:45-11:30 a.m.
Sunday – 8:45-11:30 a.m.
Wednesday – 8:45-11:30 a.m.
Aug. 3 – 8:45-11:30 a.m.
Aug. 4 – 6:30-9 p.m. at Raymond James Stadium
Aug. 6 – 8:45-11:30 a.m.
Aug. 7 – 8:45-11:30 a.m.
Note: All practices at One Buc Place unless otherwise noted. Dates and times subject to change.