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According a St. Petersburg Times report, the Detroit Lions have agreed to a two-year contract with Buccaneers free-agent linebacker Jeff Gooch.
Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
Gooch, 27, was highly sought after by the Indianapolis Colts, where former Bucs' head coach Tony Dungy resides, and the St. Louis Rams. A host of other teams also expressed strong interest.
Although he has only 21 career starts in six seasons, Gooch has excelled in special teams for Tampa Bay, and has become one of the more recognized back-ups in the league since joining the Bucs in 1996 as an undrafted free-agent. He played behind All Pro linebacker Derrick Brooks last season, garnering 11 total tackles including .5 sacks.
The 5-foot-11, 225lb Gooch has recorded 123 total tackles in his career, has has forced six fumbles, and tallied 1.5 sacks. He was one of the more physical and faster linebackers available in free-agency.
The signing of Gooch all but eliminates the possibility of Detroit re-signing unresricted free-agent LB Allen Aldridge. Gooch is expected to start immediately, lining up beside middle linebacker Chris Claiborne and flanked by outside linebacker Barrett Green. The trio would give Detroit an extremely athletic and speedy linebacking corps.