Bucs Sign Several Players To One-Year Contracts

April 1 – The Tampa Bay Buccaneers added several players to their roster on Monday. The Bucs signed long snapper Elmer Bench, wide receiver Eddie Hardaway, linebacker Chris Jones and wide receiver Jonathan Pittman to one-year deals.

Tampa Bay head coach Jon Gruden's first mini-camp with the Bucs is less than a week away (April 5-7), and the team is trying to get as many players as possible to participate. The Buccaneers signed LS Elmer Bench, wide receivers Eddie Hardaway and Jonathan Pittman and LB Chris Jones to one-year contracts on Monday.

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Bench played collegiately at Clemson and served as the Tigers' long snapper until he graduated in 1997. Tampa Bay lost LS Sean McDermott to the Houston Texans in last month's expansion draft. Former Bucs tight end Dave Moore also had long snapping experience, but he departed Tampa Bay for Buffalo via free agency.

Hardaway, who saw playing time in NFL Europe with the Rhein Fire last year, spent the 2000 training camp with the Cincinnati Bengals and last year's training camp with the Buccaneers. Tampa Bay released him during training camp on July 25. Hardaway played collegiately at C.W. Post, where he caught a total of 74 receptions for 1,320 yards and 11 touchdowns.

Jones originally entered the National Football League in 1999 as the Minnesota Vikings' fifth-round draft pick Jones has also spent time on practice squads with the Tennessee Titans, Denver Broncos and St. Louis Rams. Jones played in NFL Europe with the Barcelona Dragons in 2000, but his tenure there was cut short by a serious ankle injury.

Pittman entered the league as an undrafted free agent with the Buffalo Bills. He played the final two years of his college career at BYU. Pittman finished his college career with 67 receptions for 1,169 yards and nine touchdowns in 23 career games. He also merited first-team All-America honors at Long Beach (Calif.) City College.

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