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DT Jovan Haye rejoins Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Defensive tackle Jovan Haye played for the Bucs in 2006-08 before joining the Titans. In 2007 he had six sacks, four fumble recoveries and one forced fumble for Tampa Bay. Haye left the Bucs to join the Titans for the 2009 season; Tennessee cut him before this season.

BRENDAN FITTERER | Times (2007)

Defensive tackle Jovan Haye played for the Bucs in 2006-08 before joining the Titans. In 2007 he had six sacks, four fumble recoveries and one forced fumble for Tampa Bay. Haye left the Bucs to join the Titans for the 2009 season; Tennessee cut him before this season.

TAMPA — Things change quickly in the NFL, and a vivid example of that was provided Tuesday, courtesy of a familiar face at One Buc Place.

DT Jovan Haye, taking the roster spot vacated by CB Aqib Talib (injured reserve), settled into the Bucs locker room on Tuesday, preparing for his first practice with the club. But he wasn't in unfamiliar territory, having played for the Bucs from 2006 to 2008, starting 45 of the 46 games he appeared in.

A lot has changed since Haye moved on. For one, the Bucs are a different team, with only a handful of recognizable faces remaining from Haye's first stint.

And Haye's status has changed dramatically, too.

When he left the Bucs before the 2009 season, he had earned a $16 million contract from the Titans, acquired as a replacement for Albert Haynesworth who was on his way to Washington to sign the richest defensive contract.

Yet, just more than two years later, both are in Tampa on second-chance deals, hoping to revive their careers.

"You want to hear the funniest thing about that?" Haye said Tuesday. "The day I traveled to Tennessee, I'm at the airport (in Nashville). I'm going out, getting ready to go to baggage claim. Albert walks right past me. He gives me that look, and I was like, 'That's funny, you're leaving and I'm coming.'

"It's just the way it is. No one wants to get cut, no one wants to leave the place they feel comfortable. But it's a business, it's always going to be a business. It's bigger than any of us. It's just the NFL."

This has been frequently reinforced to Haye this year. He was released by the Titans at final cuts before the season, then found it difficult to land a job until the Lions signed him as a fill-in during Ndamukong Suh's two-game suspension.

Haye knew that would be temporary. Even this opportunity in Tampa could be short lived. But he has a legitimate shot at playing, coach Raheem Morris said, because of his knowledge of the system.

There are many similarities from Haye's first stint with the Bucs.

"He should be able to hop right back into the system," Morris said. "He's lost a lot of weight to jump back into the Tampa 2 (style). He's looking good out there. I look forward to him being able to go out there and contribute as soon as he's able to go out there and play. It could be this week."

DEION RILES BUCS: The Bucs' uninspired first half against the Cowboys on Saturday night prompted NFL Network analyst Deion Sanders to make harsh statements about players' effort, and the Bucs took exception.

"Basically, he doesn't play for us," RT Jeremy Trueblood said Tuesday. "He's an outsider looking in. Great player, but that doesn't mean he knows exactly what's happening in our locker room and on our field. You know, you respect what people have to say, but you don't always have to agree with them.

"We wouldn't have done better as the game went on (if that was true), so I don't really find any merit in that at all. The offense started playing better toward the end, if we had quit, that wouldn't have happened."

At halftime, Sanders, a Hall of Fame cornerback, said, "I respect Raheem Morris with the utmost respect. But a lot of these guys have quit, man. They've shut this thing down. I know quit when I see quit. And quit is not disguised tonight."

NOTHING TO SEE: Some fans thought it odd when GM Mark Dominik was captured by NFL Network cameras wearing a coaches' headset in the coaches' box during Saturday's game.

Could Dominik be taking a more assertive role with Morris now on the hot seat?

That's not the case.

Dominik has always watched games from the box and wears a headset because he assists Morris with determining when to make replay challenges and provides updates on injured players.

DT Jovan Haye rejoins Tampa Bay Buccaneers 12/20/11 [Last modified: Tuesday, December 20, 2011 11:03pm]
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