Building the Bucs Offensive Line

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers today announced that they have signed T Derrick Deese. Terms were not disclosed. John Gruden threatened to close airport the airport to make Derrick a Buccaneer. "Basically, he told me he was closing down the airport. He said he had control of it so he was closing it down and he wasn't letting me out of here until I signed" said Deese.

Deese, who has spent his entire career with the San Francisco 49ers, entered the league as an undrafted free agent with the 49ers in 1992. Over his 12-year career, he has played in 136 games with 116 starts, while starting the last 99 consecutive games he has played in, dating back to 1997. Deese has seen action in all 16 games of a season six times in his career (1994, 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999 and 2001). A versatile performer, he has seen action at all five spots along the offensive line, including starts at left tackle, right tackle and right guard. "Derrick is a proven leader who has played at an exceptional level over the last decade," said Buccaneers General Manager Bruce Allen.

Deese was named All-Pro in 2002 after not allowing a sack throughout the year, including playoffs, and started 11 games in 2003. He has played predominantly at left tackle in each of the last four years (1999-2003).

"Derrick will be an outstanding addition to our offensive line," said Buccaneers Head Coach Jon Gruden. "We're excited to bring a player of his caliber and experience to our team."

Deese was a two-year starter at the University of Southern California and earned honorable mention All-Pac-10 acclaim as a junior.

Quotes from Derrick Deese...

(On what position he has been told he will be playing) "I am not sure yet. I am able to be versatile. I can play all the positions. I'm just happy to sign here and move on."

(On his comfort zone coming to a ‘West Coast' offense type team) "It's important for me to come to a team where, obviously, they're trying to win; and have the best coaches. And I think this is the best situation for that. Also, the system is going to be (One) I'm familiar with. I played in it with the 49ers and it's probably a little better here because Gruden is such an offensive genius that it's not even funny. Some of the things we talked about in our meetings already I have been impressed with. So, I'm looking forward. I'm excited. I'm ready to go."

(On his versatility) "With the 49ers, I played the last four or five years at left tackle. Prior to that, I was playing right tackle. Prior to that, I was playing left guard. Prior to that, I was playing a little center. Prior to that, I was playing right guard. So, I have played, literally, all the positions. So, I am comfortable whether I am on the right side or the left side (and) at tackle or at guard. It doesn't matter."

(On possibly recruiting former teammate Jeff Garcia) "He's (Jon Gruden) talked to me about that. He knows I have protected him real well over the last few years. So, I wouldn't tell him to come somewhere that I don't think is going to win a championship and a place I don't think is good. Like I said, the Bucs are out here. We're trying to get some good players and when they called me, they showed interest, I knew that they were real serious. That's why I was willing to do what I had to do."

(On being open to playing any position along the offensive line) "I am open minded to just helping this team win. So, it doesn't matter what position. I just want to win. And this team is going to have a real good shot at winning a Super Bowl and that's what it's about."

(On the prospect of going up against Simeon Rice everyday at practice) "It's actually going to make both of us better. Simeon has had a great, great career and I think he'll be able to learn some things from me and I'll learn some things from him. We'll be able to help each other. I am actually glad he's my teammate."

(On if there's an adjustment leaving the west coast) "No. No adjustment at all. I've been out here a couple of days. I think it's beautiful out here. I love the area. So far everything has been great. The only thing I have to do is get out here and practice and play games."

(On when the Buccaneers first contacted him) "Right when I got released. Friday I think it was. So, I mean, right there it showed they had some interest and I had some other teams that had interest in me but definitely not as serious as this. I looked at this roster and what they were trying to do and I talked with Bruce Allen. He's a go-getter guy, a fired-up guy and he was telling me what's really going on, what they're trying to do around here and all I could see was that this was going to be a winning organization. It's going to be one of the well-respected organizations and it's definitely something I wanted to be a part of."

(On if Ron Stone might be coming to the Buccaneers) "There's a possibility for anything. Like I said, they're looking for a few good men. Anything can happen. Anything is possible. They're looking to, obviously, make a run at this thing. The Super Bowl is what it's about. Since Gruden has been here, I know they've been saying it's not about trying to make the playoffs (Or) trying to win your division, it's about winning the Super Bowl. If you don't get to the Super Bowl and win it, then it is not a successful season. And that's what it should be about. They're going out and trying to get some guys to go ahead and make this run and win it."

(On playing for Bill Muir) "I talked with him and it is quite interesting. I've only had to play for two offensive line coaches and that's Bobb McKittrick, who was a well-respected offensive line coach and well respected throughout the league. And Pat Morris, who took over for Bobb and people respect him kind of the same way. Bill Muir, I met with him, I talked with him. He knew Bobb McKittrick, he knows Pat Morris. Some of the things he was able to enlighten me with about the game already I've been nothing but willing to accept. I am excited about playing and having him coach me."

(On how hard it is meshing with new offensive linemen) "I don't find it hard at all. I think my personality is cool. I fit in with a lot of guys. I'm not here to say I'm better that anybody else or anything like that, I am just trying to help this team win. Hopefully, the guys accept me for who I am. Bottom line, I am a hard worker. I want to put in the work and the hours it takes to win and do my job. I hope the rest of the guys are going to do the same. Coming here, the offensive line has been taking some kind of punishment from the media. But that's how it was with the 49ers. You got to put a change to that. So, I am here and hopefully we can put a stop to all that. We'll become a well-respected offensive line, that's the plan."

(On if he feels he is still in the prime of his career and can get better) "Like I said earlier, I was blessed to be able to play all the positions and be versatile but in some aspects it hurt me a little bit. That's because I haven't been able to just develop technique and stay at one position and become a Pro-Bowl caliber player at that one position. I've been All-Pro, but at the same time, the last four years that I've played nothing but left tackle, if you look at it, I've done nothing but get better. So, I have a streak of 35 games without giving up a sack, and I'm looking forward to keeping that streak alive right here in Tampa Bay."

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