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FRESH FACES

WHO: Eric Zeier. HT/WT: 6-1; 214.

POSITION: Quarterback.

COLLEGE: Georgia. NFL EXPERIENCE: Fifth year.

ACQUIRED: In April from Ravens for a sixth-round draft pick.

CAREER HIGHLIGHT: In '95, Zeier became the third rookie to pass for more than 300 yards in his first start, leading the Browns past the Bengals 29-26 in overtime.

COLLEGE HIGHLIGHT: As a freshman, Zeier came off the bench to beat nationally ranked Clemson. "It was a big upset, and I played pretty well," he said. "But I had a couple games we lost that stick out in my mind. My senior year, we played just a great game against Alabama. Then my junior year, we played Florida (at the Gator Bowl) in the pouring rain and lost that game, too." As a senior, Zeier led the nation in total offense with an average of 314.3 yards a game.

GLORY DAYS: As a junior at Marietta High School, Zeier led his team to a 49-7 win over rival Wheeler High. Both teams had been 8-0.

BRUSH WITH GREATNESS: Zeier attended a golf tournament with his father at age 9 and met Jerry Pate on the putting green. "I'd been watching golf on television, but that was the first time I remember meeting anyone and saying, "Wow. That's Jerry Pate.' "

WHAT HE HAS TO DO TO MAKE THE TEAM: In the past two seasons, Zeier's rating was 101.1 and 82. The Bucs believe Zeier can win as a starter if injury or ineffectiveness forces him into action.

_ RICK STROUD

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