The Tampa Bay Buccaneers found a kick returner to replace the injured Clifton Smith and Sammie Stroughter. On Tuesday Tampa Bay signed returner Micheal Spurlock, and released wide receiver Yamon Figurs.
Spurlock, 26, returned the first kickoff for a touchdown in franchise history on December 16, 2007 against the Atlanta Falcons. His 90-yard kick return for a touchdown broke a streak of 1,865 kickoff runbacks without a score.
During his tenure with the Bucs in the 2007 season. He returned 16 kickoffs for 444 yards and four punts for 30 yards. He averaged 27.8 yards per kickoff return. That average ranks Spurlock third in team history, behind Stroughter (29.5) and Smith (28.3).
The 5-10, 214-pound Spurlock was cut at the end of training camp in 2008 and spent the season on the Bucs practice squad. Spurlock had his return position filled by 2008 second-round pick Dexter Jackson. During the season Jackson disappointed and was benched.
Smith took his spot and earned a trip to the Pro Bowl after returning a kickoff and a punt for a touchdown during the season. Smith averaged 27.6 yards per kick return with a 97-yard touchdown return. On punt returns he averaged 14 yards per return with a 70-yard touchdown.
In 2009 Smith was averaging 29.1 yards per kick return in 11 games with a long return of 83 yards. On punt returns Smith averaged 10 yards per return. His season ended when he was placed on injured reserve after suffering two concussions during the season. Both came in games against the Carolina Panthers.
Stroughter filled in for Smith and returnd a kick 97 yards for a touchdown against the Carolina Panthers on Oct. 18. He returned 11 kicks and averaged 29.5 yards. Stroughter returned 12 punts and averaged 9.9 yards per return. Against Seattle last Sunday, Stroughter broke his right foot and was placed on injured reserve the next day ending his season. The rookie Stroughter (5-10, 189) was a seventh-round pick out of Oregon State.
Spurlock signed with San Francisco last January and was on the team until being released during the season. During the 2009 season Spurlock played for the Florida Tuskers of the United Football League.
Figurs was signed by Tampa Bay on Oct. 13. Figurs saw action in three games, returning five kickoffs for 105 yards (21.0 avg.) and two punts for 21 yards (10.5 avg.). The Kansas State product Figurs was a college teammate of Bucs starting quarterback Josh Freeman.