Bucs claim LeGarrette Blount off waivers from Titans, sign Packers P Chris Bryan; release WR Reggie Brown and P Brent Bowden
The Bucs went looking for another big running back and a punter with a bigger leg Monday.
In a flurry of moves, the Bucs claimed Oregon running back LeGarrette Blount off waivers from the Tennessee Titans and signed punter Chris Bryan, who was released by the Packers.
To make room for those players, the Bucs released veteran receiver Reggie Brown and punter Brent Bowden, a sixth-round pick from Virginia Tech.
Blount, who worked out for the Bucs prior to the NFL draft, is infamous for being suspended for throwing a punch at a Boise State player following Oregon's Sept. 3, 2009 season opening loss to the Broncos.
The 6-foot, 241-pound Blount signed an undrafted free agent with the Titans but was released on Sunday. The Titans hoped to re-sign Blount to the practice squad before the Bucs claimed him.
It's the second big back claimed by the Bucs in as many days. On Sunday, Tampa Bay claimed running back Kregg Lumpkin from the Green Bay Packers. Three other teams -- Denver, Houston and Seattle -- submitted waiver claims for Lumpkin.
"A few years back, we lost three or four running backs in a row and I could see it deteriorate quickly,'' general manager Mark Dominik said Monday. "So this was an opportunity to grab two really good players we hope can help our football team hopefully in 2010 and beyond.''
"It was one of those things were we really felt we had a lot of depth at the receiver position and we didn't feel great where we were at running back, and therefore, I think we did what I felt was in the best interest of the entire football team.''
The Bucs traded a sixth-round pick to Philadelphia for Brown, who doesn't play special teams and never really proved to be better than his younger teammates.
Coach Raheem Morris said Monday the Bucs claimed Lumpkin to add a big back to take some of the workload off Cadillac Williams.
"He's a talented, big back,'' Morris said of Lumpkin. "He provides some of that versatility like an Earnest Graham where he can potentially play some fullback stuff or at least learn it. He's a big, pounding back at the end of a game. For us the exciting part is to fill that role, that other banger besides Cadillac if you want to take some hits off of Earnest Graham and things of that nature. One of those guys who's going to be here, hopefully when he comes here, he's able to show that versatility we've seen on tape and he's able to show those skills we think we've seen on tape. In Week 13 and Week 10 when it gets sticky and you get ankles and you get shoulders and you get groin injuries and all those things running backs get in this league, he might be somebody to go in there and punish some people for you and do some versatile things like an Earnest Graham as well.
Bryan, 6-foot-6, 220-pound Austrailian rules football player turned punter, averaged 42 yards per punt with the Packers in the preseason.
The Bucs were disappointed in the lack of consistency by Bowden, who averaged 36.5 yards on 20 punts in the preseason with a net of 35.9. Bowden is the only Bucs draft choice to be released in the last two years prior to his rookie season.
""With Bowden, the reason for the change is consistency,'' Dominik said. "We ask that out of every position on our football team, including the punter. I still have a lot of hope and belief in him. But at this point, I was looking for more consistency.''
The Bucs view Blount as a long-term project. Although he threw a punch at a Titans player during a fight in training camp, Tennessee coach Jeff Fischer called Morris to tell him he was disappointed Blount had been claimed by Tampa Bay but gave a good endorsement.
"If I was very concerned about it, we wouldn't have made the move,'' Dominik said of Blount's history. "Obviously, we felt he's got a lot of ability and we're looking forward to him helping the Bucs as we go forward.''
The Bucs are hoping to re-sign Bowden to the practice squad if he clears waivers. On Monday, the Bucs added tackle Derek Hardman, receiver Dezmon Briscoe and tackle Will Barker.