UPDATED 8:30 PM Tampa Bay made several roster moves on Tuesday, claiming tight end Martin Rucker off waivers from Philadelphia, signing safety Vince Anderson and waiving defensive end George Johnson and wide receiver Mario Urrutia. The Bucs now have a surplus at tight end with the addition of Rucker.
he Buccaneers have signed safety Vince Anderson and claimed tight end Martin Rucker off the waiver wire from Philadelphia. To make room for Rucker and Anderson, Tampa Bay released defensive end George Johnson and wide receiver Mario Urrutia.
Rucker was on Philadelphia's practice squad last year after entering the NFL as Cleveland's fourth-round draft pick in 2008. The Bucs loved the 6-foot-5, 255-pound tight end coming out of Missouri. Rucker had two catches for 17 yards during his rookie season in Cleveland after recording 203 catches for 2,175 yards and 18 touchdowns in his collegiate career.
Bucs head coach Raheem Morris coached against Rucker when he was the defensive coordinator at Kansas State University in 2006 and was impressed by the Missouri product.
"I don't know if either one of these guys was necessarily a need, it was more or less about us liking those players coming out," Morris said. "Martin Rucker played against K-State and diced us that day. The other kid, the safety, we liked from preseason tape last year. He was one of those guys that we were thinking about claiming or stealing last year. He became available from the Giants and we had a chance to add him to our football team and get a chance to look at some bodies. At the end of the day, it's about the top physical 53. You want to give those guys a look and see what's out there."
Tampa Bay, which typically keeps only three tight ends, now has six in Kellen Winslow, Jerramy Stevens, John Gilmore, Ryan Puvis, Jeron Mastrud and Martin.
Anderson, formerly of the New York Giants. Anderson, who was waived on June 21, is a native of Lake City, Fla. and went to Webber International (FL), a NAIA school. The 25-year old safety is 6-foot-2, 205 pounds.
Johnson, who was signed on May 3 as an unrestricted free agent from Rutgers, was coming off a hamstring injury and that may have played a part in his release. The coaching staff liked Johnson, but it is unclear if the front office and scouting department felt the same way.
The release of Urrutia, who was on Tampa Bay's practice squad last year, comes as no surprise. He was the biggest receiver on the team at 6-foot-6, 232 pounds and also a big disappointment.
There is absolutely no way he should be outfought by smallish cornerback Elbert Mack, who is eight inches shorter and nearly 60 pounds lighter than Urrutia. Yet that’s what happened when Josh Freeman threw a fade in the end zone for the giant receiver and Mack came down with an interception during the team’s night practice at Raymond James Stadium on Saturday.
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