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September 21, 2012 @ 7:23 am
Current rating: 4.00 Stars/1 Votes

Bucs Add More Speed Signing WR Owusu; Stroughter To IR

Written by Dory
Dory LeBlanc


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The Bucs continue to add speed to the receiving corps, signing Chris Owusu off the Chargers practice squad Thursday. Owusu is the third wideout signed by the Buccaneers this week.
To add to the week’s trend of signing wide receivers, the Bucs added another speedster with return capabilities. Talent, maturity, and reliability have never been a question for wide receiver Chris Owusu. Keeping him on the field was.

Last season, entering his senior campaign at Stanford, Owusu had a bright future as an NFL wide receiver. That future was threatened in November when Owusu suffered his second concussion in a month, his third in 13 months.

Owusu’s college career was over, and he was not cleared to play another down as a Cardinal. Owusu’s draft stock was hit dramatically because of his injury-laden season. Once said to be a sure early-round pick, Owusu didn’t hear his name called in April’s draft, despite clocking in a 4.36 in the 40-yard dash and finishing as a top performer in the 60-yard shuttle and 3-cone drill at the Combine.

Owusu was signed by his former Cardinal coach Jim Harbaugh with San Francisco, but on a team loaded with wideouts, the numbers didn’t work and Owusu was released August 31. Shortly thereafter, Owusu was signed to the Chargers’ practice squad where he remained until Tampa Bay came calling Thursday.

Owusu is the third wide receiver signed to the Bucs’ roster this week. Jordan Shipley was re-signed by the Bucs on Tuesday, while Tiquan Underwood received the call from Greg Schiano Wednesday night and was back in Tampa Thursday morning. Shipley was with the Bucs for less than two weeks in August, while Underwood signed with the club in May. Both players were cut at the final roster deadline on August 31.

To make room for Shipley the Bucs released offensive lineman Derek Hardman. Bringing Shipley back to Tampa was due to a foot injury suffered by punt returner and receiver Sammie Stroughter.

The Bucs released third-year receiver Preston Parker in order to sign Underwood. Parker, who was a punt returner and slot receiver, continued to struggle hanging onto the ball. Muffing punts and dropping balls in the preseason, forcing the ball security preaching head coach to move Stroughter into the starting punt receiver slot. In the first two games of the season, Parker was targeted twice, but was unable to haul in either pass.

Schiano said Wednesday during his post-practice press conference that the injury to Stroughter could be long term, so the receiver being placed on IR is not a shock. What could be shocking to some is that the Bucs had five receivers on their active roster to begin the season and less than three weeks later, Tampa Bay now has six, and three of them are new additions.

The latest addition, Owusu, will more than likely be used primarily as a return specialist.

In his four-year career as one of Andrew Luck’s targets, Owusu caught 102 passes for 1,534 yards and 10 touchdowns, but returned 78 kickoff returns for over 2100 yards, an average of 26.6 yards per return. As a sophomore in 2009, Owusu tied a Pac-10 record with three returns for touchdowns with 94, 91 and 85 yard scores.
Despite a tremendous upside, Owusu’s injuries have proved too significant to ignore. In addition to the three concussions, Owusu’s long injury history includes missing four games with a torn MCL (2008), missing five games as a junior (2010) with a hand injury, and was knocked out of three games last season; two to concussion and one to a shoulder injury.

Owusu’s high ceiling as a slot receiver and return specialist must have been too great for the Bucs to pass up. If he can stay healthy, he may be an excellent replacement for Stroughter, not only this season, but for future seasons as well. 
Last modified on Friday, 21 September 2012 09:44

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  • avatar

    I have an answer to his concussion problem; Throw him the ball when he's behind all the defenders! I know... I know...Its brilliant.
  • avatar

    If Smith gets cut, Dominik should have taken that 6th round pick he was offered back in April fo him!!
  • avatar

    I thought they kept Michael Smith to be the primary kick/punt returner? They had him return kicks all preseason but I have yet to see him return anything...... curious.....
  • avatar

    I am not sure about this acquisition.
  • avatar

    Stroughter hurt and on IR again.. Gee, I'm shocked
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