In addition to signing Falcons free agent running back Warrick Dunn to a two-year contract on Monday, the Buccaneers also inked free agent wide receiver Antonio Bryant to a deal.
Terms of the contract weren’t immediately available.
Bryant, 27, originally entered the NFL with the Dallas Cowboys in 2002. He played collegiately at Pittsburgh and entered the NFL as a second-round draft pick.
The 6-foot-2, 188-pound Bryant has caught 250 career passes for 3,837 yards (15.3 avg.) and 19 touchdowns.
The Bucs have had their eye on Bryant since May 23, 2007, which is when the team had him in for a workout. However, the team opted against signing him, partially due to some of the on and off the field trouble he had in the past.
After two seasons with the Cowboys, Bryant was traded to the Cleveland Browns in exchange for WR Quincy Morgan after a well-document argument between Bryant and then-head coach Bill Parcells.
The change of scenery appeared to do Bryant some good. He had the best season of his career in 2005 when he hauled in a career-high 69 passes for 1,009 yards and four touchdowns.
He caught a total of 127 passes for 1,821 yards and eight touchdowns during his two-year stint in Cleveland before becoming an unrestricted free agent in 2006.
During the 2006 offseason, Bryant signed a four-year contract with the San Francisco 49ers. He caught 40 passes for 733 yards (18.3 avg.) and three touchdowns as San Francisco’s primary receiver before getting sidelined by off-the-field issues.
On Nov. 19, 2006 Bryant was reportedly arrested on suspicion of misdemeanor charges of reckless driving, driving under the influence and resisting arrest after being pulled over in his Lamborghini, which was traveling faster than 100 miles per hour on a major California highway.
In December of 2006, Bryant was benched for the first quarter of a regular season game for disciplinary reasons. According to published reports, 49ers head coach Mike Nolan disciplined Bryant for being late to a team meeting.
It wasn’t long before Bryant was in trouble again. With two games remaining in the 2006 regular season, the NFL suspended Bryant four games for violation of the league’s substance abuse policy.
As a result, Bryant missed the final two games of the 2006 regular season and was released by the 49ers on Mar. 1, 2007.
Last offseason Bryant pleaded no contest to the reckless driving charges stemming from the November, 2006 incident. According to NFL.com, he was sentenced to one year of probation and fined $1,312. Prosecutors also dropped the resisting arrest charge as part of the deal.
Because Bryant refused to take a sobriety test when pulled over in November of 2006, his driver’s license was automatically suspended for one year. Prosecutors reportedly didn’t follow through with a DUI charge because of a lack of evidence.
League sources have informed PewterReport.com that Bryant served his suspension while sitting out of the NFL in 2007, which means he would be eligible to play for the Bucs in Week 1 of the 2008 regular season if he earn were to earn a spot on the 53-man roster.
That’s not a given as Tampa Bay has five veteran wide receivers – Joey Galloway, Ike Hilliard, Michael Clayton, Maurice Stovall and Paris Warren – already on its 2008 roster, and still could draft a receiver in April.
MORE FREE AGENCY VISITS Keep track of all of the Tampa Bay's visits that PewterReport.com has been able to confirm on the Bucs Free Agency Tracker on the PewterReport.com message boards.
Want the inside scoop on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' 2008 offseason plans? Want to find out who the Bucs are targeting in free agency and the NFL Draft this year? Subscribe to PewterReport.com's Pewter Insider by clicking here.
LISTEN to Pewter Report's Jim Flynn each Monday morning at 8:30 a.m. on the Pewter Pulse with Dan Sileo on WDAE 620 AM The Sports Animal, and catch Pewter Report's Scott Reynolds each Wednesday afternoon at 5:00 p.m. on the PewterReport.com Buccaneer Blitz with Steve Duemig on WDAE 620 AM The Sports Animal.