Cleveland's loss turned into Tampa Bay's gain on Monday when the Pewter Pirates signed Oben to a one-year contract. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
Oben, 29, can play at both left and right tackle and is expected to push second-year LT Kenyatta Walker and RT Jerry Wunsch for playing time and possibly a starting job. The addition of Oben also gives Tampa Bay some much-needed depth at the offensive tackle position. Oben's signing likely ends Bucs' free agent tackle Pete Pierson's career in Tampa Bay.
Tampa Bay had been competing with a few teams for Oben's services. Cleveland was interested in re-signing Oben and the Baltimore Ravens showed some serious interest in him, too. But Tampa Bay recently stepped up their pursuit of Oben and brought him in for a workout at One Buc Place on May 8. Eighteen days later, Oben is a Buc.
The 6-foot-4, 305-pound veteran entered the NFL out of the University of Louisville as a third-round draft selection of the New York Giants (1996-99). He spent the past two seasons with the Cleveland Browns (2000-01).
Oben has started 77 of the 82 games he's played in during his six-year career. All 77 starts have come at the left tackle position. Oben had started 76 consecutive games from 1997-2001 before that streak was broken in December of 2001 against the Green Bay Packers. Oben started 13 of Cleveland's 16 games last season.
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