The Tampa Bay Buccaneers officially signed Jacksonville Jaguars free agent cornerback Juran Bolden to a one-year contract on Tuesday morning, PewterReport.com has learned.
Bolden, 30, is a Tampa native and a graduate of Hillsborough High School. He brings great size (6-2, 207) to Tampa Bay’s secondary and is expected to compete for the nickel cornerback position that became vacant when the Bucs released Mario Edwards on Mar. 1.
The Buccaneers were putting the full court press on Bolden last year in free agency, but he opted to bolt for Jacksonville and signed a lucrative contract with the Jaguars instead. Bolden’s effectiveness in Jacksonville was hampered by injuries, according to his agent, Jeff Guerriero, but he is 100 percent healthy and ready to play for the team he grew up rooting for after being released by Jacksonville a couple of weeks ago.
“The coaching staff is the big attraction,” Guerriero told Pewter Report last week. “He wants to work with the defensive coordinator (Monte Kiffin) and the defensive backs coach (Mike Tomlin). That’s the attraction. It’s certainly not the money.”
The nine-year veteran started his career in Atlanta in 1996, but has bounced around the league with stops in Carolina (1998), Kansas City (1999-2001), Atlanta again (2002-03) and Jacksonville (2004).
Bolden’s best season came in Atlanta in 2002 when he had 33 tackles, four interceptions and 12 passes defensed. The following year, he posted 23 tackles and three picks, including one of which was returned for a touchdown against the Bucs, in eight games. Bolden saw action in 13 contests last year in Jacksonville, but failed to record an interception and had just 23 stops.
The hard-hitting Bolden, whose nickname is “Big Stick,” possesses great speed and special teams coverage ability.
The addition of Bolden comes with some character issues as well. In October of 2003, Bolden was arrested and charged with possession of marijuana and driving a stolen vehicle. The drug charges were not filed by the Fulton County (Ga.) district attorney’s office, according to ESPN.com, and he pleaded no contest to the stolen vehicle charges. He was sentenced to three years of probation and fined $3,000.
In other news, Bucs free agent wide receiver Joe Jurevicius could be close to making a decision on where to play next season, According to his agent, Neil Cornrich, Jurevicius would still like to return to Tampa Bay.
“Joe’s visit in Seattle went extremely well, and we’ve got several other teams interested in Joe as well,” said Cornrich. “His heart is still very much in Tampa, and we’re hoping that it works out there, but Joe is still weighing his options. We expect a decision to be made sooner rather than later.”
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