Bucs Sign 10 Players To Contracts

January 31 – Tampa Bay signed 10 players to reserve/future contracts on Friday afternoon. Five of the players -- offensive/defensive lineman Kyle Kipps, running back Tony Taylor, wide receiver Antoine Tolliver and safeties Than Merrill and Dwayne Stukes – have had previous stints with the Bucs.

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers signed 10 free agents to reserve/future contracts on Friday afternoon.

Five of the players -- offensive/defensive lineman Kyle Kipps, running back Tony Taylor, wide receiver Antoine Tolliver and safeties Than Merrill and Dwayne Stukes -- have had previous stints with the Buccaneers.

The other five 2003 reserve/future signings were: WR Todd Elstrom, defensive tackle Josh McKibben, cornerback James Rooths, wide receiver Jermaine White and quarterback Greg Zolman.

Kipps, Stukes, Taylor and Toliver were all with the Bucs at some points during the 2002 season. Merrill was Tampa Bay's 2001 seventh round draft pick out of Yale.

Elstrom (6-2, 200) entered the league as an undrafted free agent with the New Orleans Saints after the 2002 draft. A four-year standout at Washington, he was released by the Saints on near the end of the ‘02 preseason.

Kipps (6-4, 261) joined the Bucs last spring as an undrafted defensive end out of LSU but finished training camp as a tight end. The position switch took him back to the spot he played as a freshman and sophomore in college, but he was waived in the final cut-down on September 1.

McKibben (6-2, 285) played his college ball at the University of Central Florida. He signed with Baltimore as an undrafted free agent last spring but was released in late August.

Merrill (6-2, 212) has the most NFL experience of the 10 players signed and is also a former Tampa Bay draft choice. In April of 2001, the Bucs selected Merrill out of Yale in the seventh round but he was later waived in the final cut-down before the regular season. The Chicago Bears claimed Merrill off waivers and he appeared in 15 games in ‘01 but was released just before the 2002 season began.

Rooths (5-11, 210) entered the league in '01 as an undrafted rookie with the New York Jets. Though he failed to make the Jets' active roster coming out of camp in ‘01, Rooths did return to New York after two months on Green Bay's practice squad. Inactive for the last four games of that season, Rooths was then sent NFL Europe, where he was a defensive back and return man for the Scottish Claymores.

Stukes (5-11, 187) spent seven weeks with the Bucs last fall during three different stints on the practice squad. Stukes first entered the NFL as an undrafted free agent with Atlanta in 2000, but he did not make the Falcons' roster as a rookie. Pittsburgh signed Stukes in January of ‘01 and sent him to the NFLEL, where he played both cornerback and safety for the Berlin Thunder.

Taylor (5-9, 191) is also a veteran of the Bucs' 2002 practice squad. He spent eight of the last nine weeks of the season on that unit. He first joined the Bucs on November 19 of last year after splitting the 2001 season between the practice squad and active roster in Dallas.

Toliver (5-10, 178) a top Arena League return man with the Tampa Bay Storm, was on the Bucs' practice squad from December 4 through the end of the season. He first appeared in the NFL in 2000, spending one week on the St. Louis Rams' practice squad.

White (6-6, 214),, who most recently attended training camp for the Montreal Alouettes of the Canadian Football League, will make his NFL debut with the Bucs. White played four collegiate seasons at Kentucky.

Zolman (6-2, 220) signed with the Indianapolis Colts as a undrafted free agent out of Vanderbilt after last year's draft, but he was waived at the end of the preseason. In late December, Zolman spent one week on Green Bay's practice squad.


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