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Rick Stroud, Greg Auman and Matt Baker

Bucs blocked by Eagles in effort to sign prospects



Here's a peek into the sort of behind-the-scenes jockeying that regularly happens between NFL teams but rarely finds its way into public view.

The Bucs, per usual, were evaluating their roster earlier this week and expressed an interest in adding a couple of prospects they liked: Defensive tackle Jeff Owens and safety Jamar Wall, both of whom were on the Eagles' practice squad. The Bucs clearly have needs at both positions given their many injuries and both players would likely have had a chance to see playing time.

But the Eagles -- having just sustained injuries at both those positions, including a severe knee injury by former USF star Nate Allen – got wind of the Bucs' plans to sign the pair and quickly promoted them to their own active roster, according to reports out of Philadelphia.

"I didn't need to go," Owens told the Allentown (Penn.) Morning Call. "(The Eagles) showed how much they liked me if they were willing to match what Tampa did."

It's not clear what, exactly, the Bucs were offering, but the point is clear: The games in the NFL aren't limited to the gridiron.

"At this time of year, you look around and see who you want to steal. . . and possibly carry into your offseason," Bucs coach Raheem Morris said. "We do a bunch of extensive evaluation of draftable guys from last year and the year before, guys who make practice squads, people looking for opportunity. It's no different than us being able to get a guy like (linebacker Tyrone) McKenzie to come back home and join our practice squad and now be up (on the active roster) and now we know that he's going to be here for the offseason.

"It’s going on everywhere in the league. It's part of everybody trying to get better."

[Last modified: Thursday, December 23, 2010 3:28pm]


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