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September 20, 2012 @ 7:48 pm
Current rating: 4.00 Stars/1 Votes

Underwood Grateful To Be Back With Bucs

Written by Dory
LeBlanc
Dory LeBlanc

Dory
LeBlanc

Beat Writer E-mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
Tiquan Underwood was back at One Buc Place Thursday, after re-signing with the Bucs who released him in order to meet the 53-man roster limits on August 31. A preseason fan favorite, Underwood gives the Bucs a legitimate downfield threat. 
A popular, familiar face was back on the practice fields at One Buc Place Thursday morning, while one of the breakout receivers of last year Buccaneer was released.

Tiquan Underwood was re-signed by Tampa Bay after spending the entire training camp and preseason with the Bucs. Underwood was the most productive wide receiver through the four preseason games with nine catches for 158 yards, but was cut on August 31st in order for the Bucs to make the final roster cut deadline.

The Buccaneers announced shortly before Thursday’s practice that they had re-signed the speedy wideout and in order to make room on the 53-man roster, WR Preston Parker was let go.

Underwood will once again be reunited with his former college coach at Rutgers, Greg Schiano. Underwood repeatedly said throughout training camp that he knew Schiano very well, and it was obvious that the former Scarlet Knight standout had great respect for his coach. After the final cuts were released, Schiano made it known during a post-practice press conference that the respect was mutual and that the decision to release Underwood was a difficult one.

“Tough decision because of his productivity in preseason,” Schiano said, “And personally a tough decision because I have known this kid since he was a freshman in high school and have had a lot of great moments with him and I trust him. The good thing is this is a long season and he is a guy that I want the best for him so if somebody claims him that’s great, but if not he is a guy that I think we will always have in the ready.”

Following Thursday’s practice at his press conference, Schiano said he expects both Underwood and Jordan Shipley – who was re-signed Tuesday – will be ready to play if needed against the Cowboys.

“Oh, yeah I think they’ll be ready to go by Sunday.” Schiano said. “Will they have the same level of expertise as the guys that have been here? No. But for the things that we’re going to ask them to do, without a doubt they’ll be ready.”

With Preston Parker’s continuing bad habit of fumbling punts, he was relieved of his punt return duties and was used only as a slot receiver. In two regular season games, Parker was targeted as many times but was able to hold on to either one for a reception.

Offensive coordinator Mike Sullivan said Underwood had versatility, a word PewterReport.com has used to describe the 6-foot-1, 183-pound receiver since the beginning of camp.

“Tiquan, if you look at the things he did in the preseason,” Sullivan said, “Production and a versatility, a very smart player and also speed – some things that he showed we were very pleased with. A lot of factors to the decision making process and [I’m] glad to see he’s back and look forward to seeing how he can contribute and how he can help us win.”

In the locker room Thursday afternoon, a swarm of media members surrounded Underwood’s new locker, which was on the opposite side of the room from where it had been previously. Always gracious and humble, Underwood spoke about getting the call Wednesday night from Schiano that he was back with the Bucs.

“[I’m] very excited.” Underwood said. “They called last night - I got a call from Coach Schiano actually and I was very excited to pick it up and hear the news.

“He said, ‘we’re looking to bring you back, can you get here?’ And it was a quick turnaround as far as flights, but we worked everything out and I got in this morning, just practiced, and it’s like I never left.”

Underwood took to the practice field shortly after the team was out warming up, and was welcomed warmly by some of his team mates with a hug.

“They were happy to see me, I was happy to see them.” Underwood said. “It’s a mutual respect; especially when you grind together, you go out there fighting and playing so hard and playing well, so guys respect that and I respect them, so it’s just a bond that you have with your team mates.”

Familiarity is an obvious benefit of bringing Underwood back and as Schiano said a few weeks ago, it was something that the Bucs had planned on doing if he was available later in the season. It just so happened that “ready” had come sooner than later.

Receiving the call from Schiano was not a surprise to Underwood, who has been working out in Charlotte, North Carolina since being released in late August.

Underwood also had an opportunity to work out on the west coast for the Raiders, but that situation did not work out for him.

As Underwood often says, “Everything happens for a reason.”

“Whenever you lay a foundation with a team, that’s always a chance you can come back.” Underwood said. “I worked out for Oakland during my time off, but they wound up signing a veteran, Derek Hagan, and it would have been different going to a team where you don’t know the playbook, you’re not familiar with coaches, it’s better to come where you’re comfortable. I know the coaches, I know the playbook, so it’s going to be an easy transition.”

Underwood is excited to get back in the full swing of things and to make the minor tweaks needed for the Bucs game plan, which has been progressing since the regular season began. That game plan and a few new faces in the locker room are the only things that have changed since Underwood left; he is still the same humble young man who is appreciative of every opportunity presented to him.

“I’m very grateful that the GM and the head coach of this organization have given me another chance.” Underwood said. “I was working hard each and every day but to actually get this opportunity I’m just going to run with it.”
Last modified on Thursday, 20 September 2012 20:34
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  • avatar

    THANK GOD!!!! Finally the Bucks management came to their senses! As I stated in my previous posts when he was initially let go that he was the most productive receiver so far this year and had the speed and catching ability for the deep threat. I'm equally if not more happy that Preston Parker was cut!!!! He was a practice super star who was obviously scared to get hit in REAL games, hence his fumbling and inability to catch balls when it mattered. Just like Michael Clayton, he was too worried about getting the hit to concentrate on the catch! What a relief!!! I feel a lot better about the Buccs this year now!
  • avatar


    I have a feeling that he will be on and off this team this season as injuries from other positions occur. I hope he can accept this and maybe he will get his chance to stick.
  • avatar


    Glad to see hem back, he's a good guy. Parker should have been let go a long time age.
  • avatar


    Last season Preston Parker reminded me of a faster and smoother Ike Hilliard who seemed to have a bright future ahead. But this season he looked like a player whose mind was elsewhere. I'm hoping both Underwood and Shipley add some quality depth to the receiving corps.
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