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Bucs sign free agents Dane Fletcher, Oniel Cousins

TAMPA — Free agent linebacker Dane Fletcher checked his voicemail at the Salt Lake City airport Sunday while waiting for a flight connection to Oakland to visit the Raiders.

Now he is nonstop to Tampa.

The Bucs reached an agreement with Fletcher, formerly of the Patriots, on a one-year deal. They also added depth, signing Browns offensive lineman Oniel Cousins to a one-year contract.

Fletcher, 27, is the ninth free agent to join the Bucs since Tuesday. He visited Wednesday, but no agreement was reached until he was about to fly to Oakland.

In addition to being considered a stellar special teams player, the 6-foot-2, 245-pound Fletcher is versatile and will compete for a starting job at strongside linebacker.

Fletcher was an undrafted free agent who signed with the Patriots in 2010. He overcame long odds to make it, switching from defensive end at Montana State to linebacker in the NFL.

Cousins, 29, played the past three seasons in Cleveland under new Bucs offensive line coach George Warhop. Cousins was born in Jamaica and played at UTEP. He has nine starts in a six-year career, playing three with Baltimore (2008 third-round pick) before signing with Cleveland in 2011. No financial terms were released, but he has made close to the league minimum for a player with his experience, so he's likely making less than $1 million in 2014.

Bucs sign free agents Dane Fletcher, Oniel Cousins 03/16/14 [Last modified: Sunday, March 16, 2014 10:18pm]
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