Bucs add Fordham kicker for '14 competition
The Bucs' kicking job for 2014 is a wide-open competition, with current starter Rian Lindell an unrestricted free agent and previous starter Connor Barth recovering from a torn Achilles tendon. Add one more name to the mix: former Fordham kicker and punter Pat Murray, who signed a futures contract with the team after being a consensus All-American in 2011-12.
Murray, who had two workouts with the Bucs during the season but wasn't signed, said he was evaluated as a punter, kickoff specialist and place-kicker, but he expects to compete most for duties on field goals, extra points and kickoffs.
"I was very grateful for the opportunity, and fortunately I did enough to impress them," Murray said by phone Wednesday. "I'm looking forward to getting down there again."
Murray, from Mahwah, N.J., went to rookie minicamp last spring with the Bears and also had two workouts this fall with the Giants. The 5-foot-7, 182-pound kicker connected on 25 field goals as a senior, including kicks from 52 and 55 yards, and also averaged 42.9 yards as a punter.
"We got the call from Tampa Bay and we were absolutely over the moon," he said. "It's a great place to be ... Whoever is the new coach and GM, I can't wait to get down there and play for them."
Teams can sign "street" free agents to futures contracts after the end of the regular season, putting them on roster to compete for a 2014 roster spot. The Bucs were able to sign some players before making the decision to fire coach Greg Schiano and general manager Mark Dominik, including at least two practice-squad players, defensive tackle Everett Watkins and offensive lineman Jason Foster.