What's Next For Tampa Bay's NFL Europe Players?

June 27 – The 2002 NFL Europe campaign is over for seven Tampa Bay Buccaneers players. How did each of them fare with their respective teams? What are their chances of securing a roster spot with the Bucs this season? Pewter Report takes a look back at each player's NFL Europe campaign and takes a look at what lies ahead of them at training camp.

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have a total of 90 players on its roster, seven of which were allocated by the team to NFL Europe this spring. Wide receiver Jermale Kelly (Rhein Fire), guard Kendell Mack (Frankfurt), cornerback Cory Ivy (Frankfurt), QB Joe Hamilton (Frankfurt), LB Eugene McCasline (Amsterdam), DE Ron Warner (Barcelona) and tight end Damian Vaughn Barcelona) have all completed their NFL Europe campaigns and will prepare for training camp, which Bucs players report to on July 28.

Pewter Report has taken a look at what each player did with their respective NFL Europe teams and takes an even closer look at each of their chances of securing a roster spot with the Bucs this season.


WR JERMALE KELLY (6-2, 200) Rhein Fire 7-3 record
Kelly was not a starter and caught just four passes for 38 yards with the Rhein Fire, but his team did win World Bowl X.

Outlook If Kelly enters training camp (Tampa Bay must cut their roster down from 90 players to 80 by the start of training camp), he'll have a very hard time securing a roster spot on Tampa Bay's 53-man roster. Kelly is extremely behind in terms of learning the new offense and he has a surplus of talented wide receivers competing for jobs in front of him.


G KENDELL MACK (6-4, 322) Frankfurt Galaxy 6-4 record
Mack started 10 games with the Scottish Claymores in 2001, but this spring, he was a backup with Frankfurt.

Outlook Mack will compete against seven other guards at training camp, two of which are the projected starters -- Kerry Jenkins (left guard) and Cosey Coleman (right guard). The fact that Mack was a backup in NFL Europe may have saved his legs for training camp and preseason, and he's going to need them if he is to secure a roster spot.


COREY IVY (5-8, 183) Frankfurt Galaxy 6-4 record
Ivy was Frankfurt's starting right cornerback and was second on the defense in tackles with 35. Ivy defended 10 passes and intercepted three passes, one of which he returned 49 yards. He also played on special teams, where he recorded two tackles.

Outlook The Bucs like what Ivy has been able to do in his two years over in NFL Europe. Ivy spent time on Tampa Bay's practice squad last year and even saw playing time with the Bucs against the Lions last season. While Ronde Barber, Brian Kelly and Dwight Smith are practically locks to make the team, Ivy still will be competing with Corey Chamblin and several rookies in training camp for the last cornerback spots on the team. If Ivy can keep his legs fresh, he'll have a good shot of winning a roster spot during training camp and preseason.


QB JOE HAMILTON (5-10, 190) Frankfurt Galaxy 6-4 record
Hamilton led Frankfurt to a 5-2 start before suffering a season-ending ACL tear in late-May. Hamilton completed 99-of-193 passes (51.3 percent) for 1,301 yards and he threw eight touchdowns and eight interceptions. Hamilton also rushed 32 times for 137 yards (4.0 average).

Outlook Hamilton was likely the odd man out before his season-ending ACL injury, but unless he makes a miraculous recovery, Tampa Bay likely will place him on the injured reserve or possibly reach an injury settlement with him, which would allow the Bucs to release the third-year quarterback out of Georgia Tech.


LB EUGENE McCASLIN (6-1, 228) Amsterdam Admirals 4-6 record.
McCaslin's NFL Europe campaign ended before it started. He suffered an ACL season-ending injury during training camp with the Admirals.

Outlook If McCaslin hadn't suffered such a serious leg injury, he might have had a chance of locking up a roster spot. Tampa Bay doesn't have much depth at the linebacker position and McCaslin could have possibly provided it at a much cheaper price than what the Bucs would have to pay a veteran linebacker. But the Bucs likely will place McCaslin on the injured reserve or reach an injury settlement with him, which would allow the Bucs to release him.


TE DAMIAN VAUGHN (6-4, 252) Barcelona Dragons 2-8 record.
This was Vaughn's second season with the Dragons, but he was the team's third-string tight end and saw limited action this spring. Vaughn caught seven passes for 35 yards and no touchdowns.

Outlook Competition at the tight end position is stiff, which doesn't bode well for Vaughn, who was cut by Tampa Bay last year during training camp and is months behind in terms of learning the new offense. The Bucs likely will only keep three tight ends on its 53-man roster and could possibly place one on its practice squad. Tampa Bay is banking on rookie TE Tracey Wistrom and tight ends Todd Yoder and Mike Roberg to compete and fill both of those spots. But if there's an injury or two, Vaughn could slip into the mix.


DE RON WARNER (6-3, 265) Barcelona Dragons 2-8 record.
Warner was Barcelona's starting left defensive end this spring. He led the Dragons' defense in sacks with six and recorded 23 tackles.

Outlook Warner spent the entire 2001 season on Tampa Bay's practice squad, which bodes well for him. Although he had an impressive 2002 NFL Europe campaign, Warner must muster up enough energy to compete for the backup jobs behind RDE Simeon Rice and LDE Marcus Jones. Warner's work will be cut out for him as he will be competing with defensive ends Greg Spires, Chuck Darby, Ellis Wyms and rookies John Stamper and Corey Smith during training camp.


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