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Bucs Beat

Rick Stroud, Greg Auman and Matt Baker

Jerramy Stevens, Bucs talking contract

4

March

UPDATE, 6:09 p.m.: General manager Mark Dominik confirmed the team's talks with Stevens in an interview with Steve Duemig on 620 AM. He also spoke about the possibility of playing both Stevens and Winslow in the same formation and what kinds of mismatches would result. So, at this point, the Bucs seem to have every intention of bringing Stevens back and using him extensively.

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The Bucs are in contract talks and nearing a deal with TE Jerramy Stevens, a player whose re-signing in 2008 caused a firestorm of criticism.

Stevens led all the team's tight ends last season with 36 catches for 397 yards and two touchdowns, while staying out of trouble after a checkered past.

But that past includes numerous alcohol arrests. Stevens has been suspended multiple times by the NFL, including twice in the past two seasons. He also was the subject of a scathing Seattle Times article in January 2008 that outlined in vivid detail a rape allegation against Stevens (he was never prosecuted) while at the University of Washington. That resulted in a public backlash against the organization when Stevens was re-signed last May to a one-year contract. That contract expired Friday.

The Bucs countered by emphasizing his ability to show he was a reliable teammate and his ability to stay in line during the past two seasons in Tampa Bay.

Stevens is believed to be close to signing a two-year contract. His impending addition comes on the heels of the team's trade for star TE Kellen Winslow. It also calls into question the status of remaining TEs Alex Smith and John Gilmore. The Bucs played most of last season with three players at the position.

Stevens has proven to consistently create matchup problems for defenders, partly because of his 6-7 stature but also because of his athleticism and speed. This apparent move is in keeping with the Bucs' efforts to assemble an offensive unit capable of going vertical more often.

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

    

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