Buccaneers Release Leaf

September 3 – The Buccaneers made several roster moves on Monday, but the release of QB Ryan Leaf made the biggest splash of all. Tampa Bay has never taken four quarterbacks into opening day in their 25-year history and with the release of Leaf, that streak will remain intact. The Bucs didn't waste any time filling the roster spot left open by Leaf by claiming WR Milton Wynn off waivers from the St. Louis Rams.

When the Buccaneers made their final roster cuts on Sunday, perhaps one of the most surprising moves made by the Buccaneers was the one not made at the quarterback position.

On Monday, Tampa Bay surprisingly elected to part ways with QB Ryan Leaf, who they had claimed off of waivers from the San Diego Chargers on March 2 and restructured his contract on March 19.

Throughout offseason workouts, Leaf had been bothered by a broken wrist he had suffered in San Diego last season. There was speculation he might be put on the injured reserve list in order to allow Tampa Bay to keep QB Joe Hamilton and then give Leaf a chance to heal this season and come back into the next offseason for another shot of securing a roster spot.

"Ryan came out of training camp as our fourth quarterback," said Bucs' general manager Rich McKay. "It was our hope that we could find a way to keep all four quarterbacks from a roster standpoint, however we were unable to do so,"

Leaf struggled immensely throughout training camp and preseason. In the four games he played in preseason, Leaf completed 7-of-19 passes for 81 yards and one interception. In those games, Leaf accumulated a disappointing 28.6 quarterback rating.

The release of Leaf opened up a roster spot and the Buccaneers set their sights on filling that vacancy on Monday by claiming a familiar face.

In April's draft, Tampa Bay was interested in drafting WR Milton Wynn in the fourth round with the 117th pick overall, but the St. Louis Rams snatched Wynn up with their pick, which was right in front of the Buccaneers' at 116.

This left Tampa Bay in a bind since they had traded their second round draft pick away to Buffalo in order to move up in the first round and draft LT Kenyatta Walker. By doing this, the Bucs were not able to draft a quality wide receiver and instead rolled the dice on the undrafted rookie receivers they signed one day later. Needless to say, the undrafted rookie receivers did not pan out.

The Buccaneers would like to think landing Wynn later is better than never. Tampa Bay claimed Wynn off of waivers from the Rams on Monday.

Wynn (6-2, 207), like Leaf, played collegiately at Washington State, but was a victim of St. Louis' surplus of wide receivers and was waived by the Rams on Sunday.

At Washington State, Wynn caught 55 passes for 984 yards in two seasons for the Cougars.

Tampa Bay now has six wide receivers on their 53-man roster: Keyshawn Johnson, Jacquez Green, Reidel Anthony, Karl Williams, Frank Murphy and Wynn.

The claiming of Wynn is yet another example of how the Buccaneers are shaping their roster for now and for the future. After this season, Green, Anthony and Williams will become unrestricted free agents. Until Wynn was claimed, the Bucs only had two receivers under contract in 2002 (Johnson and Murphy).

Wynn will sport the No. 88 jersey for the Buccaneers.

BUCS ADD THREE TO PRACTICE SQUAD: In other news, Tampa Bay signed three players to their practice squad on Sunday. The Buccaneers signed G/C Leon Hires, CB Corey Ivy and TE Mike Roberg. All three players were released from the Bucs' active roster on Sunday. The Pewter Pirates are expected to add two more players to their practice squad sometime this week.


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