TAMPA, Fla. (AP) -If Jake Plummer decides he wants to continue playing football, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers would love to have him.
General manager Bruce Allen reiterated Thursday that the Bucs did not acquire the former Denver quarterback with intentions of trying to trade him to another team if he changes his mind about retirement.
``The intent is the absolute same,'' Allen said. ``We want him on our team.''
Plummer, 32, was obtained from the Broncos in March for a conditional draft pick, but has said he's leaving the game. He has three seasons remaining on a contract calling for a salary of $5.3 million in 2007.
Although the veteran of 10 seasons was the only no-show for Tampa Bay's mandatory mini-camp this week, Allen and coach Jon Gruden remain hopeful that he'll decide to join the team for training camp next month.
Plummer led Denver to the AFC championship game two years ago but was benched after 11 games last season for rookie Jay Cutler. His .722 winning percentage with the Broncos from 2003-06 is the fourth-best in the NFL behind Tom Brady, Peyton Manning and Ben Roethlisberger.
And while the quarterback has said he's retired, Plummer has not filed paperwork with the NFL to make it official.
``He's on our salary cap right now. ... Every player who has a contract in the NFL has the same obligation. Their duty is to play under the contract they signed,'' Allen said.
If Plummer decided to report to the Bucs, he'd join a crowded quarterback mix that includes Jeff Garcia, Chris Simms, Bruce Gradkowski and Luke McCown. Garcia, signed as a free agent on the same day Plummer was acquired from Denver, is the front-runner for the starting job.
Allen said Plummer's status has not been a distraction.
``Obviously, we have not missed a beat with him not here. We're preparing for our season,'' the general manager said. ``The quarterback competition has been very lively and we feel good with the players we have here, so we're not waiting for anybody.''
Allen said the Bucs had been in contact with Plummer recently, ``and we'll speak again.'' He would not speculate on the chances the quarterback will report with the rest of the team for the start of training camp on July 26.
``Without getting into personal conversations, we traded for him with the intent of him playing for the Buccaneers. He knows that,'' Allen said. ``We've been very clear what we see for him in his future. We just have to see if we have a meeting of the minds.''
On the opening day of mini-camp, Gruden would not say if Plummer would face a fine for not attending the mandatory workouts.
``This is one heck of a football player that has accomplished a great deal. At this point he's retired. Hopefully, at some point he changes his mind or reconsiders,'' Gruden said. ``Until then, we'll coach the guys that are here and move on with it.''
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