Buccaneers sign Stevens

Tampa Bay felt it needed to add some depth at tight end, so they signed former Seahawk Jerramy Stevens after the draft on Sunday night.

Tampa Bay didn't make a move to bolster its depth at tight end until after the NFL Draft. But the move they made certainly made a minor splash.

Buccaneers general manager Bruce Allen announced the signing of former Seattle tight end Jerramy Stevens, putting him in direct competition with Alex Smith and Anthony Becht for playing time at the position.

"He's a big, powerful, speed tight end," Allen said.

While certainly a powerful player, Stevens brings his own character risks to the Bucs. He wore out his welcome with the Seahawks after six seasons with his mouth, off-the-field problems and a penchant for well-publicized dropped passes. Seattle general manager Tim Ruskell, a former Bucs front office person, announced in March that Stevens would not come back.

Last month, Stevens was arrested in Scottsdale, Ariz., for investigation of driving under the influence of marijuana. In 2003 he pled guilty to reckless driving and spent two days in jail. In 2000 he was convicted on a hit-and-run charge after driving into a nursing home while a student at Washington.

On the field, there was Stevens' verbal sparring with Steelers linebacker Joey Porter at Super Bowl XL, a game in which he dropped three passes. And there were last season's actions during a nationally-televised Monday night game, in which he was considered the instigator after Oakland's Tyler Brayton tried to knee Stevens in the groin.

"We had brought him during free agency and we have a good understanding of who he is," Allen said. "We talked (to him) since the incident (in March) and had a serious talk with him today. I think he's a good young man and he is focused on doing things right for us. He understands he has to do things right. One of his best references was Mike Holmgren."

Stevens has caught 130 passes for 1,458 yards and 15 touchdowns in his career. His best year was 2005, as he caught 45 passes during the Seahawks' push toward Super Bowl XL.

Allen didn't seem too worried about Stevens' reputation for dropped passes.

"Maybe it was the quarterback," Allen said, obviously referring to Seattle starter Matt Hasselbeck.


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