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Rick Stroud, Greg Auman and Matt Baker

Bucs bid Crowell goodbye as Dekoda Watson signs



The start of one young linebacker's Tampa Bay career has translated into the end of a veteran's stint with the Bucs.

The Bucs signed rookie Dekoda Watson today to four-year contract, then bid farewell to veteran Angelo Crowell, himself a linebacker who was attempting to work his way back from two years of injuries.

Crowell was among the players who was being scrutinized this offseason as coaches sought to get a sense of his recovery from knee and biceps injuries during the past two seasons. Clearly, he wasn't making the kind of progress the club had hoped for. Though the Bucs re-signed Crowell in March, this likely means the end of his time in Tampa Bay.

Watson, meanwhile, is a player who could develop a specialty role for the Bucs this season. Coach Raheem Morris, also the defensive coordinator, has been exploring ways to use Watson as an edge rusher.

Crowell spent 2008 on injured reserved with the Bills after knee surgery, then suffered a season-ending biceps tear in the 2009 preseason, just as he was attempting to bounce back from the knee injury.

Coach Raheem Morris said recently that he anticipated Crowell providing some competition in training camp, but for some reason the club's assessment of him has since changed.

Earlier today, Morris said Quincy Black is the player he thinks is most poised for a breakout season based on offseason workouts. Had Crowell stuck around, he likely would have continued working at Black's position, strong-side linebacker. So, perhaps, releasing Crowell is an endorsement of Black, now entering his second season as a starter.

[Last modified: Monday, July 19, 2010 2:42pm]


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