TUPA JOINS BUCS: The Tampa Bay Buccaneers added some veteran experience to the punter position on Friday by signing 14-year veteran Tom Tupa to a one-year deal. Tupa joins David Leaverton, Tim Morgan and rookie Mike Abrams in the battle to replace Mark Royals. Royals signed with Miami during the offseason.
Tupa started with the Phoenix Cardinals in 1989 and has appeared in 129 NFL games. In addition to his one-year stint with the Cardinals, Tupa has punted for Cleveland (1994-95), New England (1996-98) and the New York Jets (1999-2001). From 1988-91, Tupa spent time as a quarterback for the Cardinals, starting 13 games. He completed 234 of 455 passes for 3,075 yards, with nine touchdowns and 22 interceptions. He was a backup passer for Indianapolis (1992) and Cleveland (1993) before he became the Browns' punter in 1994. Tupa's career passing totals include 258 completions out of 504 attempts for 3,421 yards with 12 touchdowns and 24 picks.
His career gross punting average is 43.8 yards per punt, while his career net average has been 37 yards. Tupa's quick release has contributed to him having only one punt blocked in his career. Last year, Tupa punted 67 times, recording a 38.4-yard gross average and a 32-yard net average in 15 regular season games. He missed time due to a hip injury.
Tupa also handled the holding duties for all field goals and extra points.
TAMPA BAY ADDS TWO MORE UNDRAFTED FREE AGENTS: The Bucs also signed two undrafted free agents, inking Illinois long-snapper Mike Malczyk and Arizona State defensive tackle Tommie Townsend.
Malczyk (5-11, 232) joins Mike Solwold, rookies Andy Hogan and Tracey Wistrom, and perhaps defensive tackle Mike Mackenzie for the team's long-snapping duties.
Townsend (6-3, 294) had 41 tackles, 10 stops for a loss, one sack, one interception and one fumble recovery in 11 starts as a senior. He finished his Sun Devil career with 68 tackles, two sacks and three forced fumbles and one interception. Townsend joins Warren Sapp, Anthony McFarland, Buck Gurley and Mackenzie at defensive tackle. Defensive ends Ellis Wyms and Chartric Darby are capable of also playing defensive tackles.
BUCS ADD DIRECTOR OF REHABILITATION: Tampa Bay announced the hiring of Scott Trulock as director of rehabilitation. He replaces Jim Whalen, who left the Bucs to become the New England Patriots' head trainer in April. The Bucs also promoted intern Pat Jernigan to the full-time position of assistant trainer.
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