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Rick Stroud, Greg Auman and Matt Baker

Bucs plan to sign former Stanford WR Owusu from Chargers practice squad , Stroughter likely to IR



Feeling the need for more speed at their wide receiver position, the Bucs plan to sign former Stanford star Chris Owusu from the San Diego Chargers practice squad.

To make room for Owusu, the Bucs are expected to place receiver Sammie Stroughter on injured reserve.

Those moves could be announced as early as Thursday night, the Times has learned.

The 6-foot, 200-pound Owusu, who runs a 4.31 40-yard dash, was the No. 1 target of Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck and caught 102 passes for 1,534 yards and 10 touchdowns in 19 career starts.

But Owusu had his senior season cut short last November after suffering his second concussion in three weeks and his third in 13 months. The Cardinal did not clear him to play in the Fiesta Bowl or the Senior Bowl, even though Owusu was asymptomatic within days of each concussion.

Owusu, 22, has since been cleared by two doctors, including one at the NFL Scouting combine, to resume playing football. But in a league where there are over 1,000 former players as plaintiffs filing suit against the NFL for damages related to concussions, nearly every team took Owusu off their draft board.

The signing of Owusu adds to a shake-up of the Bucs receiving corps which began Thursday when the Bucs released Preston Parker and re-signed Tiquan Underwood, who had been waived on the final roster cutdown in Sept. Not unlike Owusu, Underwood provides the Bucs with more speed and play-making ability.

The San Francisco 49ers, coached by former Stanford boss Jim Harbaugh, signed Owusu as an undrafted free agent and played well in the preseason before he was waived on the final roster cutdown.

Owusu could provide immediate help for the Bucs’ special teams. He averaged 26.6 yards on 78 kickoff returns at Stanford and tied a Pac-10 record as a sophomore with three returns for touchdowns (94, 91 and 85 yards).

Stroughter, a seventh-round pick from Oregon State in 2009, had served as the Bucs punt returner before injuring his right foot in Sunday’s game against the Giants. In four seasons, he caught 60 passes for 639 yards and one touchdown.

But injuries have plagued Stroughter. He broke the same foot last season in a game against Seattle and appeared in only six contests.

[Last modified: Thursday, September 20, 2012 6:03pm]


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