LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. (AP) -While the Tampa Bay Buccaneers still aren't acknowledging interest in Brett Favre, coach Jon Gruden said little to dispel the notion on the first day of training camp.
The Bucs practiced twice at Disney World amid speculation Saturday that they and the New York Jets have emerged as possible destinations if the 38-year-old retired quarterback applies for reinstatement to the NFL, and the Packers can work out a deal to trade him.
General manager Bruce Allen was unavailable for comment, and Gruden shrugged off reports that Tampa Bay had been given permission to talk to Favre.
``You can talk to Brett yourself. If we have permission, I'm sure you do, too,'' the coach said.
``I don't have any reports on Brett, OK. I'm going to concentrate on (practice). There will be more opportunities to write stories on this situation. It's a great story to cover. I wish I had time to cover all the things going on. But I do like what we did today as a football team. His situation is going to handle itself.''
Gruden reiterated that Jeff Garcia, who is not in camp this weekend because he's attending a reunion for the junior college team that his father led to a national championship 35 years ago, is the club's No. 1 quarterback.
The 38-year-old Garcia, who's been unhappy with the lack of progress on a contract extension, is scheduled to earn a $2 million base salary this year after leading the Bucs to the NFC South championship and making the Pro Bowl last season.
Four other quarterbacks - Brian Griese, Luke McCown, Chris Simms and rookie Josh Johnson - also are on the roster.
Gruden said he's not concerned about any impact the rumors regarding Favre might have on Garcia, who's expected to rejoin the team Sunday night and practice Monday.
``We are creating a real drama here. I don't know if it is that tear-jerking and emotional that we need to address it any more than we have,'' Gruden said.
``What we talk about is confidential. ... He is very confident in his own abilities. His game tape in the last 20 starts in this league proves he isn't afraid of anything, he understands pro football, and he is eager to get in here with his team and compete.''
It was the second straight day that Gruden danced around questions about any possible interest the Bucs have in Favre, who is having second thoughts about the retirement he announced in March.
The Packers have said if he reports to training camp with them, it would be as a backup to Aaron Rodgers.
Gruden said he's comfortable with having four quarterbacks on his roster who have won games for the Bucs over the past three seasons. But when pressed the previous day on why he was unwilling to say the team has no interest in trading for Favre, the coach balked at an opportunity to squash the speculation.
``You could come out and say that, but I'm never going to be a guy who puts his foot down and says we're going to do this,'' the coach said. ``It's not my No. 1 responsibility.''
With Garcia in California for the first two days of camp, the remaining quarterbacks are splitting the workload.
Until the Farve situation arose, the most compelling story early in camp figured to be the status of Simms, the former starter who's missed most of the past two seasons after having his spleen removed.
Simms did not participate in voluntary workouts and minicamps with the team during the offseason and has said he'd like to be released because his relationship with Gruden is beyond repair.
``He's got a long way to go to get his rhythm back, and his timing, and getting acclimated to the speed of the game. He's been inactive for quite some time,'' Gruden said between practices Saturday.
The coach said there has not been much interaction between him and Simms since the sixth-year pro reported to camp.
``You know, we didn't exchange Hallmark cards or anything like that. We're trying to win football games. ... I'm interested in talking about anything, but I can't keep commenting on what he said and what I think,'' Gruden said. ``I respect him a lot, I've had a lot of good moments with him and I'll just leave it at that.''
Camp Notes: DE Greg White, a former Arena Football League star who led the Bucs with eight sacks and seven forced fumbles as a rookie last season, signed a one-year, $370,000 contract. ... WR Joey Galloway sat out practice with a mild groin strain. ... CB Jonathan Hefney was released.

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