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Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Bucs could carry four quarterbacks on roster

arichardson@tampatrib.com
Published:   |   Updated: March 23, 2013 at 08:30 AM
TAMPA -

Bucs coach Raheem Morris may have the same love for quarterbacks as his mentor Jon Gruden.

After originally saying he would only keep three quarterbacks on Tampa Bay's roster this season, Morris is now indicating Byron Leftwich, Luke McCown, Josh Freeman and Josh Johnson could make the team.

"I'm going to keep the best 53 - I've said that from the beginning," Morris said. "Josh Johnson has shown a lot of savvy, a lot of the poise that you want. If Freeman's going to be the leader of your football team, you want to have a young guy like Josh around - a guy who's smart, savvy, can go into a game and get you through it, a guy that's poised, athletic, makes good decisions, a guy who doesn't need many reps to go through it, as we've seen here in these games.

"Is he one of my best 53? Probably."

Johnson was a fifth-round draft pick by Tampa Bay in 2008, but he was inactive for all 16 games last season. He has completed five of nine passes for 36 yards, and he ran 43 yards for a touchdown against Nashville this preseason.

Although placing Johnson on the practice squad is an option, Tampa Bay would have to cut its young quarterback and hope he re-signed with the Bucs. If Johnson was on the practice squad, any team could sign him without compensating the Bucs, so that move is unlikely.

"There are always reservations about (keeping four quarterbacks), because you lose a roster spot, but I've been preaching from the beginning that I've got to keep my best 53 guys on this football team," Morris said. "We have a long-term plan here, and Josh Johnson may be a part of that long-term plan."

Bucs cut four

The Bucs released Jarriett Buie, a former Armwood High and University of South Florida standout defensive end, and three other players Saturday.

In addition to Buie, the Bucs released DB DeAngelo Willingham and G Julius Wilson, and they waived injured WR Kelly Campbell because of a quadriceps injury.

Buie signed with Tampa Bay three months ago as an undrafted free agent. Although he showed flashes of potential, Buie (6-foot-3, 260 pounds) was among Tampa Bay's first cuts. Any of the players could be signed to Tampa Bay's practice squad after final cuts.

The NFL deadline to cut rosters from 80 to 75 players is Sept. 1, and the Bucs must release one more. Final cuts must be made by Sept. 5.

"We have one more roster spot that we have to make (a decision on) by Tuesday," Morris said. "We will kind of figure that out as we go ... It's good for your team to always feel like that, a little bit of an edge."

A day of rest

Morris decided to give his team a day off by canceling today's practice.

The extra day off might help WR Michael Clayton (hamstring), WR Dexter Jackson (ankle) and K Matt Bryant (hamstring). They did not participate in Saturday's practice.

"(We will) get off our feet a little bit, get home, see our family and get around guys," Morris said. "Some guys will come in for treatment. Some guys will get in here and lift."

Anwar S. Richardson

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