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Rick Stroud, Greg Auman and Matt Baker

Bucs keep LB Casillas in fold with 1-year deal



TAMPA -- The day before NFL teams can open contact with the representatives for unrestricted free agents, the Bucs reached a deal to bring one of their own back for 2014, re-signing strongside linebacker Jonathan Casillas to a one-year contract.

Casillas, 26, joined the Bucs last year and established himself as a special-teams standout, starting four games at linebacker on the way to 24 tackles and a forced fumble. Terms were not disclosed, but he had joined the team last spring after four seasons in New Orleans with a one-year, $1.4-million deal.

"Excited to be back in Tampa for another year!" Casillas wrote on his Twitter account. "#blessed like not other. The grind continues."

Casillas is one of three Bucs who started games at strongside and would have been an unrestricted free agents -- Tampa Bay could still lose Dekoda Watson and Adam Hayward as the signing period begins on Tuesday. Casillas, who won a Super Bowl with New Orleans as a rookie, finished 2013 with nine special-teams tackles, one shy of the Bucs' team lead.

The Bucs already were returning their two primary linebackers from last season in weakside linebacker Lavonte David and middle linebacker Mason Foster. The team signed former CFL star Damaso Munoz last month and also have Ka'lial Glaud back after limited playing time as a rookie.

[Last modified: Friday, March 7, 2014 8:24pm]


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