The Buccaneers reported for training camp Friday and some of the first questions posed to head coach Jon Gruden were regarding his troubled running back. “Michael Pittman is our starter,” Gruden told the Orlando Sentinel. “And I want to repeat, we like Michael Pittman.” Pittman faces two felony counts of aggravated domestic assault stemming from a May 31 arrest in Phoenix. He was on probation at the time for a domestic incident two years ago; a hearing to determine whether he violated his probation is set for August 18.
We’ll check back frequently to see if Gruden is singing the same tune. He has no choice really but to say Pittman is a part of the team because they’d set themselves up for a grievance by the NFL Players Association if they cut him for any reason other than performance. Now that camp has begun, Gruden can start gauging his performance.