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Chandler returns to site of collegiate heroics

Published Oct. 17, 2005

Bucs backup quarterback Chris Chandler made a homecoming of sorts in Friday night's exhibition game against the Seattle Seahawks. Chandler played his college football just up the road from the Kingdome at the University of Washington from 1984-87. Against the Seahawks, he relieved starter Vinny Testaverde in the second half and received a nice ovation.

The Bucs sent their No. 1 draft in 1992 to the Indianapolis Colts for Chandler, who was mired in a contract dispute and disgruntled at the prospect of playing behind rookie Jeff George.

Chandler did not play in the Bucs' preseason opener against Cincinnati and played sparingly last week against New England. But he managed to complete 2 of 4 passes for 27 yards, including one that was good for a touchdown.

Igwebuike makes debut

with 44-yard field goal

Bucs placekicker Donald Igwebuike, who did not play in the first two preseason games, made his debut a memorable one by kicking a 44-yard field goal in the second quarter.

More importantly, Igwebuike's ensuing kickoff hung high and was taken at the 2-yard line.

The Bucs' veteran has faced a challenge during training camp from free-agent placekicker Steve Christie of William & Mary.

Christie had done all the kicking for the Bucs in the preseason before Friday night's game and was perfect on his four field-goal attempts. Perhaps equally as impressive has been Christie's long kickoffs, many of which went for touchbacks.

Bucs coach Ray Perkins has criticized Igwebuike in the past for his short kickoffs.

Mohr makes his debut, too

Bucs punter Chris Mohr also saw his first action of the preseason, replacing free-agent Steve Royals of Appalachian State. Mohr punted twice in the first half for 39 and 40 yards.

Blades is back with Seahawks

Seahawks All-Pro wide receiver Brian Blades ended his holdout and returned in time for Friday night's game. The former Miami star caught 77 passes last season and was named the Seahawks' most valuable player. Blades had been seeking to renegotiate his contract, which has two years remaining. But he ended the holdout, agreeing to play under his current deal.

Seattle misses Kennedy

Seattle first-round draft pick Cortez Kennedy remains unsigned. General manager Tom Flores reported some progress in contract talks Friday, but the team is desperate to get the former Miami All-American into camp. "We're a little closer, but not close enough," Flores said. "At least we're trying to narrow the gap."

Odds and ends

Seattle hold a 10-game home preseason winning streak, having lost last in the Kingdome on Aug. 30, 1985, a 23-21 decision against the defending Super Bowl champion San Francisco 49ers. . . . Former Florida State defensive tackle Eric Hayes started for the Seahawks Friday. . . . NFL teams will reduce their rosters from 80 players to 60 on Tuesday. . . . Next week: The Bucs close out their preseason schedule at home Thursday against the New York Jets at Tampa Stadium.

_ RICK STROUD