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Rick Stroud, Greg Auman and Matt Baker

Bucs ink RB Ward to four-year deal



Giants free agent RB Derrick Ward has agreed to become the newest Buccaneer.

The 1,000-yard rusher who formed a formidable 1-2 punch with starter Brandon Jacobs joins a revamped Tampa Bay offense where he will team with Earnest Graham in the backfield.

Ward's deal is worth a reported $17-million, according to, with $6-million in guarantees within its first year.

The running game needed to be addressed after the release of 33-year-old RB Warrick Dunn last week. Tampa Bay appears to have found its answer in Ward, who had visited with the Bengals and Broncos in the past two days.

Like Dunn, the 28-year-old Ward also will serve as a proficient receiver out of the backfield. He caught a career-best 41 passes in 2008. Look for him and Graham to split duties in 2009, though it's possible one could emerge as the primary back.

[Last modified: Wednesday, May 26, 2010 3:27pm]


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