Dwayne Rudd is officially a Buccaneer.
Tampa Bay officially announced Tuesday that they had signed the
free-agent linebacker to a two-year deal.
Terms of the deal were not
Rudd, 27, is the fifth free-agent veteran to join the
Bucs this offseason. The team previously used some of its salary cap
room to address the offensive side of the football, inking guard Jason
Whittle, center John Wade and quarterbacks Shane Matthews and Jim Miller
to contracts. The Bucs have also re-signed three of their own:
linebacker Shelton Quarles, tackle Roman Oben and QB Shaun King.
6-foot-2, 235-pound linebacker is expected to fill the void left by Al
Singleton, who signed a four-year contract with Dallas last month, at
the strongside linebacker spot.
³It¹s nice that we were able to add
a veteran of Dwayne¹s caliber to replace Al Singleton,² said Bucs
general manager Rich McKay. ³Dwayne is a very athletic player and has
been very productive over his years in the league. He should have no
problem transitioning into our scheme.²
Rudd entered the National
Football League in 1997 with the Minnesota Vikings as a first-round pick
out of Alabama. Rudd spent four seasons with the Vikings before leaving
for Cleveland via free agency.
After spending two seasons in the
AFC, Rudd is happy to be playing in the NFC again and is confident he¹ll
contribute to an already stellar defense in Tampa.
³With my history
of playing in the NFC North against these guys during my first four
years in Minnesota, it¹s just a dream come true to be down here and play
with one of the best defenses of the 90¹s,² Rudd said. ³I¹m excited to
step right in when they¹re playing great.²
Rudd, who has the ability
to play all three linebacker positions, played primarily at the weakside
spot for the Browns. His tenure in Cleveland was, however, short-lived
when the team released him in a salary-cap maneuver earlier this
Some consider Rudd an upgrade over Singleton. Rudd is
considered a well-balanced linebacker in terms of run-stopping ability
and pass coverage.
Rudd has started 77 of the 93 games he¹s played
in the NFL and he¹s notched 588 tackles and 11 sacks during his six-year
In other news, the Bucs signed LB Bubba Alexander,
DT Ryan Fletcher, DT Cleveland Pinkey and LB Clayton White to one-year
contracts on Tuesday.
Alexander (6-2, 225) entered the NFL as an
undrafted free agent with Dallas Cowboys in 2001 but was waived at the
end of training camp. He played his college ball at Texas A&M and
White (5-11, 238) is the second former New York
Giants linebacker signed by the Bucs in the last two years, following
Jack Golden in 2002. White originally entered the league as an undrafted
free agent with the Giants out of North Carolina State in 2001. He
played in all 16 games as a rookie, appearing on both special teams and
defense. He then spent the 2002 season on the Giants' injured reserve
list and was waived by New York in February.
Fletcher (6-2, 288)
entered the NFL as a college free agent with the San Francisco 49ers,
but he was waived last June. He played collegiately at Hofstra.
Pinkney (6-1, 300) also started last season in San Francisco, but he
originally entered the NFL as undrafted free agent with Indianapolis in
2001. He was waived by the Colts at the end of the 2001 preseason, then
signed by the 49ers in 2002 and allocated to NFL Europe. He played his
college ball at South Carolina.