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Will Bucs finally get something out of Angelo Crowell?



The Bucs basically stood pat during the height of the free-agent signing period, as has been well-documented.

But one of the few moves they did make barely registered: Re-signing linebacker Angelo Crowell.

Considering he spent his first season with the Bucs last fall on injured reserve, it's understandable that his re-acquisition was met with a collective yawn.

But as OTA sessions get underway next week, Crowell is one of the players that will be under the microscope. Because if -- emphasis on if -- he is completely healthy, Crowell will be given every opportunity to make an impact this season.

This is in no way a proclamation that Crowell will be able to give the Bucs anything. It's merely a recognition that this guy, at one time, was a pretty good football player. In 2007, he led Buffalo with a career-best 140 tackles and was, perhaps, poised to become one of the better linebackers in the game.

Of course, that's before a major knee surgery in 2008 that caused him to sit out the entire season. That injury wasn't completely healed when Crowell left the Bills and signed with the Bucs in March 2009, and his performance through the offseason suffered greatly as a result. When Crowell eventually tore a biceps in the preseason, the Bucs quickly settled on Quincy Black as their starting strong-side linebacker and Crowell became a spectator.

But he will have a chance to prove himself beginning next week. And both he and the Bucs are motivated to make this work. The Bucs would like to, finally, get something out of their investment in Crowell. And Crowell knows he is running out of time to get his career back on track. He'll be 29 on opening day, so if he doesn't make the team, it's no sure thing that he'll get a chance someplace else. To stick around, he needs to show that he has the quickness and agility to play in Tampa Bay defense. The biceps injury isn't as much of a concern as the potential long-term effects of the knee issue and its impact on his mobility. One tip about his condition is the fact that the Bucs re-signed him in the first place. No team would know more about his health than Tampa Bay, which helped him through his rehab.

Anyhow, the Bucs have talked about increasing the level of competition at various positions. If Crowell can get it together, maybe he can do that -- or more.

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