Raheem Morris says Derrick Ward is out of shape

Now the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have offered an explanation for why Kareem Huggins has pulled even with or ahead of Derrick Ward for the backup running back job.

Raheem Morris says that Ward is out of shape, something that is a little difficult to wrap your head around now that we’re four weeks into training camp. Ward was a disappointment as a free-agent addition last season and the way this is setting up, he’ll quickly be labeled a bust, at least in Tampa.

“When you get a bit older in this league, especially as a running back, you have to realize that you need to come into camp at a lighter weight, not heavier," Morris said, according to Ira Kaufman of the Tampa Tribune. “I still have a lot of confidence in Derrick Ward that he'll be ready and in shape to help us this season.”

Per Kaufman, Ward is listed at 5-11, 228 pounds. Ward had spotty attendance during the offseason program. Maybe some more work in the spring would have helped Ward. In the meantime, Huggins, an undrafted free agent who appeared in three games as a rookie last season, is bucking to be the primary backup for Cadillac Williams.

"Ask my teammates, I'm not huffing or puffing, I'm not asking to be taken out of games," Ward said. "My weight is good and I'm ready to go. If the first game of the season was this Sunday, I'd be ready.”

Ward had a bunch of what looked like excuses prepared for Kaufman. The bottom line is the team wants to see more from him now.

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