Bucs QB Hamilton Likely Finished For The Year

May 28 – Tampa Bay Buccaneers second-year quarterback Joe Hamilton likely will be sidelined for the entire 2002 season after damaging ligaments (ACL) in his right knee against the Barcelona Dragons on Saturday. Hamilton led NFL Europe's Frankfurt Galaxy to a 5-2 record as their starting quarterback. Hamilton is headed back to Tampa where he will undergo further examinations by the Buccaneers' doctors.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Joe Hamilton, who the team allocated to NFL Europe this offseason to play with the Frankfurt Galaxy, damaged ligaments in his right knee during the Galaxy's 31-10 loss to the Barcelona Dragons on Saturday. Hamilton's anterior cruciate ligament tear (ACL) likely will end Hamilton's 2002 season before it even began with the Bucs.

Hamilton is headed back to Tampa where he will undergo further examinations by the Buccaneers' doctors. Galaxy doctors said Hamilton suffered a third degree sprain and would be sidelined at least 4-6 months, but an ACL tear usually takes about 9-to-12 months to completely heal.

Hamilton is entering the last year of his contract with the Buccaneers. He was going to rejoin the Bucs after his NFL Europe campaign concluded and compete with quarterbacks Brad Johnson, Rob Johnson and Shaun King for a spot on Tampa Bay's 53-man roster, but Tampa Bay likely will place him on the injured reserve.

The Bucs could also try and reach an injury settlement with Hamilton, which would allow Tampa Bay to release him and permit Hamilton to sign with the Bucs or another team if he were ready to play before the 2002 season concluded.

Tampa Bay drafted Hamilton in the seventh-round of the 2000 NFL Draft out of Georgia Tech, but he played in just one regular season game (at Atlanta-2000) during his two years as a pro.

Hamilton, 25, led Frankfurt to a 5-2 start as the Galaxy's starting quarterback in NFL Europe. Hamilton completed 51.3 percent of his pass attempts for 1,301 yards, eight touchdowns and eight interceptions. Hamilton (5-10, 190) also rushed for 137 yards and scored one touchdown.

The Buccaneers will likely try to sign at least one quarterback between now and training camp. The Bucs might look to replace Hamilton quickly as Tampa Bay would like to get the new quarterback(s) some reps when the team holds its third and final mini-camp on June 13-15.

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