The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have developed a reputation for career rehabilitation.
Sometimes it works, as in the case of Chris Hovan, who's professional reputation took a hit in his final years in Minnesota.
Sometimes it doesn't, as in the case of David Boston.
Buccaneers GM Bruce Allen said a player's past will never stop the team from investigating them as a possible option for the roster — so long as they understand the ground rules.
"At different times we've give people chances," Allen said. "Some have flourished and some have failed. We lay out our ground rules strictly and openly when we talk to these players, and we like the candid responses that we get."
Ostensibly, the Bucs laid that all out for wide receiver Antonio Bryant, who signed a one-year contract with the Bucs last week.
So is Bryant, in his sixth season, a Hovan or a Boston?
The former Biletnikoff award winner has never been consistently productive in the NFL. His best season came in 2005 in Cleveland, where he caught 69 passes for 1,009 yards and four touchdowns. His previous career high was 44 in 2002, his first year in Dallas after the Cowboys made him a second-round draft pick.
But it was also clear that whoever drafted Bryant was getting a player that had a tendency to get into on-field and off-field problems. And those problems came to a head in San Francisco in 2006, just after Bryant signed a four-year, $14 million deal with the 49ers.
Following a victory over the Seattle Seahawks on November 19, 2006, Bryant was arrested after his Lamborghini was seen speeding faster than 100 mph on Highway 101. He was charged with suspicion of misdemeanor charges of reckless driving, driving under the influence, and resisting arrest. As a result, Bryant was suspended for four games by the NFL. He sat out the final two games of the 2006 season, and was scheduled to sit out the first two games of the 2007 season.
On September 17, 2007, he was reinstated by the league, but was not able to sign with a team, partly because of a failed drug test over the summer. In October 2007 Bryant filed a lawsuit against the NFL to try to get them to stop drug testing him since he is not currently a player, and to drop the failed drug test. In December 2007, the case was resolved without the details being released.
He also reportedly clashed with Niners head coach Mike Nolan.
Bryant did not play at all in 2007 after the Niners released him, and now the Buccaneers are taking another chance on a player with limitless potential — and a police blotter.
Allen seems comfortable with a signing he sees as a low-risk move.
"He is talented and he wanted an opportunity," Allen said. "We had some players our team that played with him and vouched for him. There's no investment in him."
But even Scout.com's Adam Caplan won't discount that Bryant has talent that can be tapped — under the right circumstances.
"He could start off handling a minor role (No. 4 receiver) but if he stays in check, he could really help them," Caplan said.
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.