Make us your home page

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Bucs cut Gradkowski, re-sign Stevens

The Bucs made twin moves Friday that reflected their assessments of two units, re-signing controversial tight end Jerramy Stevens to a one-year contract and releasing long-shot quarterback Bruce Gradkowski.

Despite his legal troubles, Stevens' return perhaps isn't a shock considering his emergence late last season and the team's dissatisfaction with its current group of tight ends. Gradkow­ski's release, meanwhile, is the first move by the team to whittle its stable of quarterbacks that had totaled seven, including the retired Jake Plummer.

The release of Gradkowski leaves the Bucs with Jeff Garcia, Brian Griese, Luke McCown, rookie Josh Johnson and Chris Simms, who has opted to skip voluntary offseason workouts.

That's the most general manager Bruce Allen is willing to take to training camp in July, although it's practically a given at least one more will be released before the regular season.

Gradkowski, 25, leaves Tampa Bay after a rocky stint that began with him being drafted in the sixth round in 2006 out of Toledo. He started 11 games as a rookie in place of the injured Simms, finishing 3-8 before being benched for Tim Rattay. That stretch began with a debut at New Orleans that had Tampa Bay buzzing. But before long, Gradkowski's struggles resulted in boos at Raymond James Stadium.

It might, however, actually be good news for Gradkowski. He seemed unlikely to make the final roster, and his early release better positions him to find a team willing to sign him if he clears waivers.

Stevens' return is an indication the Bucs seek to increase the level of competition among their top tight ends, currently Alex Smith, Ben Troupe and John Gilmore. Furthermore, the team's inability to add significant playmakers in the offseason means the search for an offensive spark continues.

Stevens provided that in several late-season games, particularly in catching the winning touchdown at New Orleans on Dec. 2 that positioned the Bucs to win their division by two games. An impressively built, 6-foot-7 target, Stevens finished 2007 with 18 receptions for 189 yards. He had 10 catches for 111 yards in his final three regular-season games alone.

His season was interrupted by a one-game NFL suspension assessed after being convicted in a drunk-driving case in Scottsdale, Ariz., and a resulting 30-day jail sentence. Stevens, 28 and entering his seventh season, has a history of DUI offenses.

letter from shooter? A letter reportedly written by a man who says he fired shots into a limousine where cornerback Darrent Williams, 24, was killed in 2007 was published by the Rocky Mountain News. The letter was signed by Willie D. Clark, who Denver police have called a person of interest in the slaying of Williams, a former Broncos cornerback.

Bears: Despite apparent dissatisfaction with his contract, Brian Urlacher attended mandatory minicamp. "When it says mandatory, you're supposed to be at those things, so that's why I'm here," he said. Urlacher has not participated in offseason conditioning drills or voluntary workouts.

Dolphins: Guard Shawn Murphy, a fourth-round draft choice, signed a multiyear deal.

Eagles: General manager Tom Heckert's contract was extended through 2011.

Jets: Scott Cohen has been hired as assistant general manager, the Associated Press reported.

Information from Times wires was used in this report.

Bucs cut Gradkowski, re-sign Stevens 05/30/08 [Last modified: Monday, June 2, 2008 4:25pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Jones: Koetter-Winston exchange highlights latest 'Hard Knocks'


    There are certain things that make HBO's Hard Knocks must-see television.

    Jameis Winston, left, has an exchange with Dirk Koetter that highlights Hard Knocks.
  2. Trevor Plouffe is DFA'd by Rays, Kittredge recalled for now


    INF Trevor Plouffe didn't do much with the opportunity the Rays gave him, and time ran out Tuesday when he was designated for assignment after the game.

    Plouffe hit just .178, with one homer and two RBIs, in 31 games for the Rays, his primary playing time from starting at first or third against lefties.

  3. Rays journal: Offense shows signs of waking up in win over Blue Jays (w/video)

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — The drought was so severe that it's still probably too soon to say the Rays are out of it, but scoring a half-dozen runs in Tuesday's 6-5 win over the Blue Jays was another promising sign.

    Corey Dickerson high-fives Wilson Ramos after hitting a solo home run in the third inning, putting the Rays up 2-1.
  4. Marc Topkin's takeaways from Tuesday's Rays-Blue Jays game

    The Heater

    C Wilson Ramos, coming off right knee surgery, often takes it easy on the bases, though it's not always a good look. But he hustled when he needed to Tuesday and got the Rays a run by beating out a two-out infield single, finishing with three more hits.

  5. Rays are full of ideas they'd like to share when commissioner visits

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — Commissioner Rob Manfred is coming to the Trop today. Hmm. Rays principal owner Stuart Sternberg will be there to greet him. Hmmmm. And they have a scheduled joint media session. Hmmmmmmmmm.

    Commissioner Rob Manfred isn’t expected to say anything definitive about the Rays’ stadium situation when he visits the team today.