Barrett Ruud uncertain about his future with Bucs

Barrett Ruud has not only been the man in the middle of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers defense for the last four seasons, he’s been the face of the unit too.

But with six years of service he’s eligible for free agency when the NFL opens its doors for business again but Ruud has no idea where his path will lead him then.

The Bucs have a host of young players and in building the team they want difficult decisions need to be made for the future. Ruud would like to stay but with nothing done at this point, he doesn’t know what to think.

It's tough for me because I don't have a team right now,” Ruud told Ira Kaufman of the Tampa Tribune. “If I knew where I was playing, it wouldn't be nearly as bad.”

Ruud has led the team in tackles for four straight years but as Kaufman points out the Bucs have been woeful stopping the run. That’s one of the reasons they’ve worked to revamp the defensive front the last two years. They’re also looking for an increased pass rush. As Kaufman points out, third-round draft pick Mason Foster could eventually be a replacement in the middle.

“I've always enjoyed my time here in Tampa,” Ruud said. “It's a great spot to live and a great spot to play. I thought the Bucs had a great draft. I can't believe (defensive end) Da'Quan Bowers fell to them at No. 51 and Tampa has a lot of good, young pieces in place.”

It might be a situation for Ruud where he’s not going to get the offer he wants to remain in Tampa. The longer the lockout drags on, the more uncertainty there will be.

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Brad Biggs covers the Bears for the Chicago Tribune

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