Bucs May Re-Sign Tupa

April 27 - The Tampa Bay Buccaneers weren't about to spend a precious draft pick on a punter, even though it was a glaring need. On Sunday, Bucs coach Jon Gruden indicated that the team is in discussions with punter Tom Tupa and is hopeful about re-signing him.

Punter was a glaring need for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers entering the 2003 NFL Draft, but a need they were not expected to fill with a draft pick. Instead, the Bucs appear set to re-sign veteran punter Tom Tupa as well as bringing in some young legs to challenge the veteran in mini-camp and training camp.

"We've been talking to Tom Tupa and talking to Tom's agent," Buccaneers head coach Jon Gruden said. "We're optimistic and hopeful that something can work out there. At the same time, that's an area of concern right now. We do need to figure that role out."

Tupa had a gross punting average of 42.8 yards and a net of 35.4 yards in 2002, his first season with the Bucs. His longest punt of the year was 71 yards, and set a team record with landing 30 punts inside opponents' 20-yard line with only 12 touchbacks.

Tupa's only real lows occurred in the post-season with a 6-yard punt against Philadelphia in the NFC Championship Game, and in the Super Bowl with a mishandled snap on a second half field goal attempt. Tupa also had a punt blocked for an Oakland touchdown, but that was a result of a protection breakdown and was not Tupa's fault, according to the coaching staff.


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