Offensive linemen can be a pretty reserved bunch. They never get too high, never get too low and typically let their actions speak for them. So Dan Buenning was about as excited as you'll catch a lineman Tuesday afternoon a short while after he was informed Tampa Bay had traded him to the Bears for the Bucs' sixth-round pick that they already held from the Brian Griese deal.
Buenning worked at center this summer and had more or less been fazed out in Tampa after a strong start to his career there which began when he was a fourth-round pick out of Wisconsin in 2005. He was one of only four rookie linemen in the league to start all 16 games that season and looked to be a fixture for years to come. But then he tore an ACL on Thanksgiving Day in 2006 and when Tampa Bay went young at guard last season with Arron Sears and Davin Joseph, he was on the sideline looking in.
With Jeff Faine getting a big contract to play center for the Bucs, and with another draft pick invested in an interior lineman to add Rutgers' Jeremy Zuttah, who the Bears took a good look at before the draft, Buenning looked out of the mix. He became really out of the mix Tuesday when Tampa Bay swung a deal to acquire Sean Mahan from Pittsburgh.
A chance to move on somewhere else is something Buenning had been hoping quietly for and the Bucs came through by finding a team with a need in the Bears.
A Q&A with Buenning, who will fly into town Wednesday morning and must pass a physical to make the deal official:
WHAT WAS YOUR REACTION WHEN YOU FOUND OUT?
"I'm truly excited for this opportunity. I'm not quite up to snuff on the situation there, and I don't want to talk out of turn, but obviously they traded for me because they want me. I am hoping to jump right in and learn the system as quickly as I can."
WHAT HAPPENED IN TAMPA?
"They were just going in a different direction for whatever reason. You know, I don't know everything."
WHAT DO YOU KNOW ABOUT THE BEARS' LINE?
"They've got some veteran guys there and obviously [Olin] Kreutz has been there forever and he's a Pro Bowler. I know [Terrence] Metcalf and [Roberto] Garza have been there for a while too. I don't know a whole lot."
WHAT POSITION ARE YOU MOST COMFORTABLE AT?
"Offensive line. Obviously, I was trained at guard in college and that's where I started here at left guard. It's a comfort thing really. But I've been working hard at right guard and center and I think I play those positions pretty well. Center was a new dimension for me and I think it adds some versatility to my game."
DID YOU GET A SENSE A MOVE WAS IN THE WORKS?
"I kind of felt like something could be coming here just the way they were going with personnel moves. They're going in a different direction here in Tampa for whatever reason and that's fine. This is a new opportunity for me.''
YOU WERE RAISED IN GREEN BAY. ARE YOU A PACKERS FAN?
"Let's not get into that, OK? I don't want them to lynch me when I get to the airport tomorrow. I wore a Bears shirt one summer and that didn't go real well. I had to go back to the Pack."