The Tampa Bay Buccaneers may have released the wrong defensive end prior to the start of training camp. On the same day that the team traded Marques Douglas, who was signed to a four-year contract by the Bucs on March 13, to Baltimore, PewterReport.com is reporting that Tampa Bay filled the roster spot with defensive end Patrick Chukwurah. Chukwurah was signed to a one-year deal.
Chukwurah was released prior to the start of training camp on June 19, just one year into a five-year, $5 million deal, in part because the team had acquired Douglas and fellow defensive end Jimmy Wilkerson in the offseason. But Douglas, who came from San Francisco and had played for Baltimore before, lacked the necessary quickness to play in the Tampa 2 defense and proved to be a much better fit in a 3-4 defense.
Chukwurah was at Wednesday’s walk-through at One Buccaneer Place and is expected to suit up and play on Thursday night at Houston in Tampa Bay’s preseason finale.
Chukwurah’s 2007 season was derailed due to a preseason knee injury and a shoulder injury that limited him to participating in just nine games where he recorded 12 tackles, one sack and forced one fumble. The 6-foot-1, 250-pounder has recorded 81 total tackles and nine sacks as mostly a reserve player in his seven years in the NFL. He is also considered a top special teams performer.
The Nigerian-born defender was the first free agent Tampa Bay signed in 2007. He played in Denver under then-defensive coordinator Larry Coyer, who is now Tampa Bay’s assistant head coach, from 2003-06. Chukwurah was drafted by Minnesota in the fifth round in 2001.
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Scott Reynolds is in his 25th year of covering the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as the vice president, publisher and senior Bucs beat writer for PewterReport.com. Author of the popular SR's Fab 5 column on Fridays, Reynolds oversees web development and forges marketing partnerships for PewterReport.com in addition to his editorial duties. A graduate of Kansas State University in 1995, Reynolds spent six years giving back to the community as the defensive line coach for his sons' Pop Warner team, the South Pasco Predators. Reynolds can be reached at: email@example.com