The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have signed veteran tight end Keith Heinrich to a contract, according to a league source.
The 6-foot-6, 255-pound Sam Houston State product finished the 2007 season on the Buccaneers practice squad. Heinrich appeared in four games for the Bucs, mostly as a special teams performer. Tampa Bay signed him from the practice squad on Oct. 20 to bolster their depth after Alex Smith's ankle injury.
The Bucs released Heinrich on Dec. 26 and signed him back to the practice squad the same day.
The signing of the five-year veteran may be a signal that the Bucs believe they could lose two tight ends to free agency. Anthony Becht has already informed the Bucs that he'll opt out of his contract, while Jerramy Stevens is an unrestricted free agent.
Heinrich's only real exposure in the regular season came in 2003 with Cleveland when he started three games and caught eight passes for 64 yards and two touchdowns.
Heinrich is the ninth player to sign with the Buccaneers since the end of the postseason. Signings like Heinrich won't count against the Bucs' roster load until March.
The other signings are WR Charlie Spiller, WR Cortez Hankton, TE Daniel Fells, DB Darrell Hunter, DE Marquies Gunn, DB Marcus Hamilton, OG Brian Johnson and OT Dennis Roland.
Matthew Postins covers the Buccaneers for BucsBlitz.com and the Charlotte Sun-Herald in Port Charlotte, Fla. An award-winning member of the Pro Football Writers Association, he appears frequently on Scot Brantley Show from 3-6 p.m. weekdays on WHBO 1470-AM in Tampa-Clearwater.