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Glazer empire on display Sunday with Bucs, United

By Paul Logothetis
AP Sports Writer / October 21, 2011

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BAGSHOT, England—For the Glazer family, it will be quite a sports doubleheader in England on Sunday.

The Americans could get to see both of their teams -- Manchester United and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers -- playing on the same day.

Tampa Bay (4-2) plays the Chicago Bears (3-3) in the NFL's fifth regular-season visit to Wembley Stadium, just a few hours after Manchester United faces crosstown rival Manchester City in a Premier League match expected to indicate whether City can be a legitimate contender for United's title.

Members of the Glazer family are expected to attend both games, starting with the match at Old Trafford before getting to Wembley by helicopter for the NFL kickoff.

Tampa Bay players recognize the importance of the double bill.

"Two wins from both of their franchises, that would be big," offensive tackle Donald Penn said Friday at the team's practice facility at Pennyhill Park. "Going away 2-0 with your teams, that would put a good feeling in your belly."

The Buccaneers are making their second trip to London in three years, making them the only team to return to Wembley since the NFL started playing regular-season games there in 2007. Tampa Bay has been listed as the home team both times -- meaning it had to give up a home game to make the trip -- and coach Raheem Morris this week had to defend the Glazers' willingness to send the team abroad again.

"This thing is a little bigger than the Bucs. It's more about the NFL promoting our game," Morris said. "Unfortunately for our fans back home it was a home game, but someone's got to do it. Somebody has to suck it up and it was us this time."

The last time the Buccaneers came to London, in 2009, the Glazers' team lost 35-7 to the New England Patriots. So the team changed strategy this year, arriving Monday night, four days earlier than last time, to offset the fatigue from jet lag and to get acclimated to the surroundings. The Bears, meanwhile, arrived Friday.

"I feel great, the jet lag issue is out of the way," said running back Ernest Graham, who will start in place of the injured LaGarrette Blount. "It's a huge difference to two years ago."

Morris was pleased to have arrived in England early, but glad to leave the team's out-of-the-way training base and move to London on Friday.

"I don't know if it was an advantage but it was really great to come out here, it's a great experience," Morris said. "We've got this trapped-in-a-cave feel since Wednesday."

Players took advantage of their free day Tuesday to rest or see the sights, with Graham and wide receiver Michael Spurlock organizing a trip for teammates to Paris by Eurostar train.

"The Louvre was closed, so we went to the Eiffel Tower and rode the subway all across the city. We also went to the Champs d'Elysees and ate some good food," Graham said. "You get the knack for the people. It's fun. We were just some Americans over there that couldn't speak the language, but it was a fantastic trip."

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