The Tampa Bay Buccaneers added some much-needed help to their fullback position on Wednesday by signing Jameel Cook.
Cook, who originally entered the NFL as a sixth-round pick with the Buccaneers in 2001, was a member of Tampa Bay's Super Bowl XXXVII team. He played for Tampa Bay from 2001-05. He has caught 15 career carries for 43 yards and 81 career receptions for 486 yards and three touchdowns.
Cook was in church with a friend in Houston on Sunday afternoon when he received a call from his agent to inform him of the Bucs' interest in signing him. He flew to Tampa on Sunday night.
“When my agent called me to let me know I was excited,” said Cook. “I was like, ‘When can I leave?” I was willing to to fly out here myself. I’m here and I’m happy.”
The Bucs signed Cook due to the ACL injury sustained by FB Byron Storer. Storer was placed on injured reserve on Wednesday in order to create a roster spot for Cook, who played for the Texans from 2006-07 before being released in August after he reportedly was arrested on a misdemeanor marijuana possession charge, which he was later cleared of.
"There were some teams interested, but a lot of them weren't sure. You couldn't blame them," said Cook. "I knew as soon as everything got dismissed and my name got cleared I knew everything would be fine. I'm just glad I'm here in this locker room enjoying the new facility and playing for this team."
Cook is expected to make an immediate impact at fullback and on special teams, where he has excelled throughout his career.
“I wouldn’t have it any other way. I have to play special teams,” said Cook. “That’s what I do. It doesn’t matter. If I have to play special teams then I will and if I have to do everything I will. I’m just ready to play.”
Tampa Bay is also hoping that starting FB B.J. Askew will return to action this week after sustaining a torn hamstring in Week 3 of the regular season. If Askew can't play, Cook said he's preparing as if he will be called on to play on Sunday night.
“There’s some stuff that’s new [in the playbook], but for the most part I remember a lot of it,” said Cook. “I still have a lot of my old folders. I’m a good note-taker, so it will be okay.
“It doesn’t even matter. I don’t care. I’m going to study my behind off and do everything I have to do to prepare and play. I haven’t been playing football and there is a difference between running and playing football, but I think I'll be ready."
Bucs head coach Jon Gruden seems confident in Cook's ability to get reacquainted with his playbook.
“We have no idea who is going to be starting the game [at fullback],” said Gruden. “What personal grouping we will be in, but we expect him to be active and compete in the game.”
In addition to those roster moves, the Bucs signed FB Ryan Powdrell to their eight-man practice squad and released former USF linebacker Ben Moffitt.
Powdrell played collegiately at Saddleback Community College and USC, where he the made the transition from linebacker to fullback as a senior. Powdrell spent the past two training camps with the Green Bay Packers.