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Simms confident he will regain form for Bucs

Chris Simms isn't letting a sore elbow slow down his comeback from an injury even if he doesn't know how long it's going to take.

"My arm is a little sore. ... But it's nothing like crazy sore," Simms said Tuesday after a limited workload in the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' practice. "Don't make a big deal about it. It's nothing that I feel like's going to hurt my career or hurt me in camp. I'm OK, it's going to be fine."

Coach Jon Gruden said Simms would hopefully be able to do more starting with Wednesday's practice.

Simms' spleen was removed after he took several hard hits during a loss to Carolina on Sept. 24. Despite missing the final 13 weeks of the season, he signed a two-year, $7 million contract extension in December.

"I'm trying to work everything out to the point where I was last year before the injury, and I'm just not quite there yet," the 26-year-old said.

The Bucs signed Jeff Garcia as a free agent in March. Simms, Luke McCown and Bruce Gradkowski are candidates for the No. 2 job.

"I don't quite feel like myself; I don't know how to quite say it," Simms said. "The only thing I can say to you is I'm going to continue to work and I'm not quite where I need to be."

Asked if he thinks he could be headed for injured reserve, Simms said that's a question Gruden or general manager Bruce Allen are in a better position to answer.

"I would hope not. ... I don't feel that badly. I feel physically like I can take a hit," Simms said. "I guess you could say (I'm) rusty, I just don't feel like I'm clicking on all cylinders."

Gruden declined to speculate.

"I'm not a doctor. I don't think anybody in the media is a doctor. I just think you respect the situation with the facts that we have," Gruden said.

"Chris will be back, hopefully, in limited fashion tomorrow, and he'll be a more focal part of the practices once his elbow returns to full health. ... And, hopefully he'll be able to start making a run at this thing."

Free agent quarterback Daunte Culpepper signed a one-year contract with the Raiders, giving them a backup plan as top draft pick JaMarcus Russell remains unsigned.

Culpepper, 30, began 2006 as Miami's starter and was sacked 21 times in the first four games. The Dolphins shut him down so he could continue rehabbing and eventually placed him on injured reserve. When they acquired Trent Green in a trade with Kansas City this offseason, Culpepper became expendable and the former Pro Bowl quarterback was released on July 17.

Center Brad Meester broke his right ankle and will be sidelined at least eight weeks, the team's first significant injury this season. Meester was scheduled to have surgery Wednesday.

Meester, who has started 108 games for Jacksonville in seven years, injured his ankle during the team's first full-pads practice Monday night. The team initially thought it was a sprain, but tests later determined a more severe injury.

Dennis Norman, a versatile backup who started six games the last two years, will move into Meester's starting spot.

Left tackle Chris Samuels sprained a knee ligament at practice Monday and is expected to miss up to four weeks but is expected to return in time for the opener Sept. 9.

"We really got good news," coach Joe Gibbs said. "Hopefully Chris will be back before four weeks are up."

Receiver Terry Glenn had arthroscopic surgery on his right knee Tuesday, while Terrell Owens rested his sore hamstring.

While an MRI showed no serious damage after Glenn hurt his knee in practice Sunday, the decision was made to have the procedure after he kept having pain. He is expected to be out about two weeks.

Owens was at practice, but was on the field without shoulder pads or a helmet after being told by coach Wade Phillips to take it easy.

"He's not complaining about anything. There is some soreness, why not keep him out?" Phillips said.

Veteran running back Tony Fisher was released. Fisher, who spent last season with St. Louis after four years with Green Bay, was signed by the Jets last Friday to add depth to their running back corps after Cedric Houston abruptly left.

Fullback A.J. Schable has a broken right foot and will be sidelined for about eight weeks. Coach Ken Whisenhunt said the second-year pro was injured during a practice drill Monday. Schable, signed as an undrafted free agent a year ago, appeared in 11 games last season, mostly on special teams.

Receiver Donald Driver practiced for the first time. He had been unable to pass his physical, but coach Mike McCarthy said Driver wasn't likely to be limited at all during workouts.

Driver separated a joint in his right shoulder during Green Bay's win at San Francisco on Dec. 10. He played the rest of the season and set career highs with 92 catches and 1,295 yards receiving. He played in the Pro Bowl for the second time and didn't require surgery in the offseason.

Defensive linemen Johnny Jolly and Ryan Pickett practiced for the first time after finally passing their physicals on Monday.

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