Shelton Quarles back problems finally got the best of him and it appears the Bucs are going to cut ties with their former middle linebacker. Quarles joined the Bucs rather unceremoniously in '97 following a two year stint in the CFL. Quarles didn't start until '99 (5 years after he went pro), and originally started at strongside linbacker. When Gruden took over in '02 he moved Quarles to middle backer and Quarles earned his first and only Pro Bowl berth, after he helped lead Tampa Bay to a Super Bowl victory. In the last two years, perhaps responding to competition from Barrett Ruud, Quarles had excelled, and at times looked like the best defensive player on the field for the Bucs. Shelton will be remembered as a tough-nosed, smart player who overcame long odds to lead the Bucs defense to the Super Bowl.
But enough of Shelton, what happens next?
Not much actually. The Bucs were prepared for this, and have been grooming Ruud to replace Quarles. While he looked lost at first Ruud performed well, especially in sporadic starts in replacement on an injured Quarles last season. I want to say the Bucs picked up another middle backer this offseason but I honestly can't remember the guys name, so I'm going to assume he's no good. Of course, linebacker is one of those positions (as Quarles proved) where you can find undrafted free agents and turn them into Pro Bowlers so the Bucs may want to look through the rubbage and see if they can find a diamond to back up Ruud.
Oh, and this in no way impacts the draft unless you care about who the Bucs draft in Round 6.
(By the by the Bucs have already deleated all pictures of Quarles from their website. In lieu of a gameday pic of Quarles here is another one of the man in action.)