The Bucs on Tuesday traded quarterback Byron Leftwich to the Steelers for a seventh-round pick, giving Pittsburgh added protection as it awaits starter Ben Roethlisberger's possible league suspension.
The Bucs will receive the 225th overall pick, No. 18 of the seventh round, giving them a league-high 12 picks beginning with Thursday's first round. The Patriots also have 12 selections.
Leftwich left the Steelers for the Bucs after the 2008 season, opening 2009 as Tampa Bay's starter before being supplanted by Josh Johnson in Week 4. With the Steelers anticipating being without Roethlisberger — a decision could come today — Pittsburgh needed insurance, and Leftwich already knows the offense and club's personnel.
The Bucs had little use for Leftwich. They envision Johnson as starter Josh Freeman's primary backup. They also have little-known Rudy Carpenter on the roster and could add a veteran before training camp who would fight for a spot.
If Roethlisberger is suspended, Leftwich will battle Charlie Batch and Dennis Dixon to start.
Around the league
TAYLOR JOINS OLD FOE: Jason Taylor feared the contract he was offered would be the only one he would receive — so the longtime Dolphins star agreed to terms with the AFC East rival Jets for two years. Taylor, the league's active sacks leader, joins a team he long considered an enemy. Because of the league's "Final Eight" restrictions on 2009 playoff teams, the Jets could only pay Taylor $1.75 million in base salary this season.
WOMAN ACCUSES COLTS DT: A 22-year-old hotel receptionist filed a lawsuit against Colts defensive tackle Eric Foster, claiming he sexually assaulted her in his room before January's AFC Championship Game. The complaint accuses Foster of luring the woman into his room at the University Place Hotel in Indianapolis on Jan. 24 under the pretense that there was a maintenance problem. Once she was in his room, the complaint alleges, Foster, 25, exposed himself to the woman, touched and groped her, and forced the woman to "engage in deviate (sic) sexual acts." Colts spokesman Craig Kelley declined comment and Foster's agent, Joby Branion, and attorney, Jim Voyles, did not return calls.
SEASON OPENER: The Super Bowl champion Saints host the Vikings to kick off the 2010 season in a rematch of their overtime NFC title game. That nationally televised game will be Sept. 9 at the Louisiana Superdome. See below for a full schedule.
MCNABB AND T.O. AGAIN? New Redskins quarterback Donovan McNabb has reportedly encouraged the team to acquire his old receiver and one-time critic Terrell Owens. The receiver, who played with McNabb in Philadelphia, said he had no problem with the idea. "I'd love it," Owens told the Philadelphia Inquirer.
TRADE: The Redskins acquired defensive tackle Adam Carriker, a 2007 first-round pick, from the Rams. Washington exchanged fifth- and seventh-round picks with the Rams for Carriker, who sat out last season after tearing a muscle in his shoulder late in the preseason.
WALKER CASE: A former co-defendant identified a former friend as the man who robbed and beat a severely intoxicated Javon Walker almost two years ago in Las Vegas. Arfat Abdo Fadel, 32, told a jury that Deshawn Lamont Thomas, 42, choked the former Raiders, Broncos and Florida State wide receiver and took Walker's diamond-encrusted platinum watch and necklace and 2-carat diamond earrings. Thomas, a convicted felon, has pleaded not guilty.
WIDOW, LEAGUE TEAM UP: The league and the University of Connecticut have partnered with the widow of Vikings tackle Korey Stringer to open the Korey Stringer Institute at UConn's Neag School of Education. The creation of the institute will be announced Friday at the draft. "The first goal is to make sure this is not some sort of fly-by-night institute," Kelci Stringer said. "I hope we are around a long time." Korey Stringer died of complications due to heat stroke on Aug. 1, 2001 during training camp, at 27. Kelci Stringer spent several years in court suing the league and equipment manufacturers; the league settled the suit over Korey's death out of court.
LEAGUE DONATION: The league is donating $1 million for the study of brain injuries to Boston University's Center for the Study of Traumatic Encephalopathy. The money goes toward research into the long-term effects of repetitive brain trauma in athletes, particularly football players.
PATRIOTS: The team signed veteran wide receiver Torry Holt, 33, a seven-time Pro Bowl selection who played last season with Jacksonville.
SAINTS: Former Bucs defensive end Jimmy Wilkerson signed a one-year contract.
SEAHAWKS: Nine-year veteran guard Ben Hamilton signed.
Information from Times wires was used in this report.