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Bucs Beat

Rick Stroud, Greg Auman and Matt Baker

Bucs sign Stevens, release Gradkowski

The Bucs, looking for players capable of providing an offensive spark, have re-signed tight end Jerramy Stevens and parted ways with quarterback Bruce Gradkowski.

The move to re-sign Stevens was not a complete surprise, but the release of Gradkowski is the team's first effort to whittle down its stable of quarterbacks, which now stands at six including the retired Jake Plummer, whose rights the team still own.

The team could elect to go to training camp with the five active quarterbacks remaining with the team: Jeff Garcia, Brian Griese, Luke McCown, rookie Josh Johnson and Chris Simms, who has been boycotting voluntary offseason workouts. General manager Bruce Allen has said the team planned to take no more than five quarterbacks to Disney when camp begins in July.

Gradkowski had a rocky stint with the Bucs since being drafted in the sixth round in 2006. He started 11 games in place of the injured Simms as a rookie in 2006, finishing 3-8 in those contests. Gradkowski must now clear waivers before he becomes a free agent because he is a player with less than four years of experience.

Stevens, meanwhile, emerged late last season as a important option in the passing game, as coach Jon Gruden made a concerted effort to feature the 6-7 veteran. His addition might be the biggest indication yet the Bucs aren't thrilled with their three top tight ends: Alex Smith, John Gilmore and Ben Troupe and are hoping to increase the level of competition in the unit.

Stevens served a one-game suspension last season for a DUI conviction in Arizona stemming from an arrest in March 2007.

[Last modified: Wednesday, May 26, 2010 3:02pm]


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