Walking the Plank: Bucs Release 12 Players

August 27 – Tampa Bay released 12 players on Monday afternoon, which left 72 players on their roster, including six NFL Europe exemptions. There were no big surprises, but the Buccaneers did part ways with one of their nine 2001 draft picks. Find out which players walked the Bucs' plank on Monday afternoon.

The NFL did not require their team's to make the first of two mandatory roster cut sessions until Tuesday, but head coach Tony Dungy and his coaching staff decided to take care of business one day early by trimming their roster down to 72, including six NFL Europe exemptions.

The following players were released:

CB/S Antonious Bonner: He was a long shot to begin with, but the Buccaneers were hoping his ability to play multiple positions in the secondary would earn him a roster spot. As it turns out, the competition in the Bucs' secondary was too stiff for Bonner to make the cut.

RB Jeff Chaney: He was hampered by injuries throughout training camp. The strong play by running backs Aaron Stecker and Pepe Pearson in Chaney's absence dropped his stock.

TE Dauntae' Finger: He was the only one of the 12 players cut that was drafted by the Buccaneers. Finger was selected in the seventh round of April's draft and was the second of three picks in that round. The Bucs drafted Finger with hopes he would be a ex-Bucs TE Patrick Hape clone, but he did not show the blocking ability at the tight end position that the Buccaneers were looking for.

G/C Shane Grice: He didn't have a strong showing in camp and didn't see much playing time in the Bucs' three preseason games. The Bucs liked Grice's diversity, but it didn't translate into a player Tampa Bay was willing to keep on their roster.

P Aron Langley: He had a solid showing against the Patriots, which was the only game he played with the Buccaneers. Although he fared better than P Andrew Bayes has, the Buccaneers are interested in resting K Martin Gramatica's leg and will do this by letting Bayes do most of the kickoffs. Either way you look at it, the only punter that will be on the Bucs' roster on opening day is P Mark Royals.

FB Leroy McFadden: He had some playing time in games and didn't do bad, but rookie FB Jameel Cook has had such a solid outing that McFadden was expendable. The return of Pro Bowl FB Mike Alstott to practice this week is probably another reason why Tampa Bay parted ways with McFadden.

CB Anthony Midget: He had a solid training camp, but a hamstring injury stalled Midget's progress. He also had the same problem as Bonner. Tampa Bay has so much depth and stock invested in their draft picks that Midget ended up being the odd man out.

TE David Newman: He had all the size the Buccaneers were looking for at the tight end position at 6-6, 245 lbs., but he just wasn't physical enough and his lack of athleticism was disappointing.

WR Jacquay Nunnally: When he first arrived in Tampa Bay as an undrafted rookie free agent, the Buccaneers had high expectations of Nunnally. But his progression, like most of the rookie receivers, hit a wall in training camp and Nunnally was not able to recover.

G/C Eric Thomas: His chances of making the team were not good to begin with. After all, he was added to the team two weeks ago. The injury to starting C Jeff Christy appeared to increase Thomas' chances of staying on the team, but the Buccaneers decided to not delay the inevitable.

LB Jude Waddy: He was a solid free agent signing for the Buccaneers this offseason and was thought to possibly be a replacement for LB Jeff Gooch, but after Gooch did not pass a physical with the St. Louis Rams, he was sent back to Tampa Bay. While Waddy is a good linebacker, he was not the special teams' standout Gooch has been.

WR Alex Willis: All of the Bucs' undrafted rookie free agents have been disappointments in camp and preseason. Willis and Nunnally may have merely opened the door on the way out for the other undrafted free agent receivers that survived the first cuts.

All 31 NFL teams are required to cut their rosters down to 65 by Tuesday, but Tampa Bay was able to cut their roster down to only 72 because they have six players who are exempt since they played over in NFL Europe this spring. Punter Andrew Bayes, G Wilbert Brown, WR Gerald Harris, G Kendall Mack, TE Randy Palmer and RB Pepe Pearson were the players exempt, but will this will not apply after Sunday's cut down to the final limit of 53 players.


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