Bucs Continue to Fill Stable in Free Agency

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers today announced that they have signed RB Charlie Garner. In addition, they have signed LB Keith Burns and G Matt O'Dwyer. Terms were not disclosed.

Charles Garner, a veteran of 10 NFL seasons, has played in 144 games with 86 starts as a member of the Philadelphia Eagles (1994-1998), San Francisco 49ers (1999 and 2000) and Oakland Raiders (2001-2003). Over his career, he has totaled 6,986 rushing yards on 1,507 carries (4.6 avg.) and 39 rushing touchdowns. Garner also boasts 410 career receptions for 3,649 yards and 12 receiving touchdowns. He was named as a starter to the 2001 Pro Bowl as a member of the 49ers following the 2000 season. In 2003, Garner played in 14 games with nine starts with the Raiders. He finished second on the team with 553 rushing yards and third on the team with 48 receptions. He also finished tied for third on the team with four touchdowns (three rushing and one receiving). Since becoming a full-time starter with the 49ers in 1999, Garner has emerged as one of the league's premier multi-purpose threats out of the backfield. Over the past five seasons since 1999, he ranks sixth in the NFL in total yards from scrimmage with 7,812 yards, trailing only Marshall Faulk, Curtis Martin, Edgerrin James, Ricky Williams and Priest Holmes. He has scored 34 touchdowns (22 rushing and 12 receiving) and averaged nearly 100 yards of total offense per game (7,812 yards in 78 games) during that five-year span from 1999-2003. The former second round pick of the Philadelphia Eagles (42nd overall) in 1994 is reunited with Head Coach Jon Gruden, who coached Garner as the Eagles' offensive coordinator from 1995-97 and the Raiders' head coach in 2001. Garner played in all 16 games with 15 starts in 2002, leading all league running backs with 91 receptions and helping the Raiders reach Super Bowl XXXVII against the Buccaneers. He finished with a team-leading 962 rushing yards and finished second on the team with 941 receiving yards.


Entering his 11th NFL season, Burns (6-2, 235) has played in 151 games with two starts as a member of the Denver Broncos and Chicago Bears. He has totaled 73 tackles, 1.5 sacks, one interception and 182 special teams tackles in his career. As a member of the Broncos, Burns led or tied for the team lead in special teams tackles in six of his nine seasons with the club (1995, 1996, 1998, 2000, 2001 and 2003). Burns originally entered the league as a seventh round pick (210th overall) by Denver in 1994. He spent his first five seasons in Denver before signing with Chicago as an unrestricted free agent in 1999. After his one season in Chicago, Burns returned to the Broncos where he played the past four years. O'Dwyer (6-5, 305), a veteran of nine seasons in the NFL, has played in 118 career games with 105 starts as a member of the New York Jets (1995-1998) and Cincinnati Bengals (1999-2003). He also played in two postseason games with the Jets in 1998. He is reunited with Tampa Bay Offensive Coordinator/Offensive Line Coach Bill Muir, who was the offensive line coach with the New York Jets from 1995-2001. O'Dwyer has started all 16 games in five of the last eight seasons, including four straight years from 1996-99 and in 2002 with the Bengals. In 2003, he was limited to four games with one start because of a foot injury, and was placed on Injured Reserve on December 9.

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