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Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Bucs notes: BCS title rivals reunited as rookies

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Published:   |   Updated: March 19, 2013 at 05:19 AM
TAMPA -

Though they spoke several times during the Buccaneers' rookie minicamp, former Alabama safety Mark Barron and former LSU quarterback Jordan Jefferson never got around to discussing the 2012 BCS title game.

That conversation will have to wait for another day that, thanks to the Bucs, likely will come sooner than later.

Impressed with Jefferson's three-day tryout, the Bucs agreed on Sunday to sign him to a contract that will allow him to stick around a while and possibly make the team.

"I thought he made consistent improvement all weekend,'' Bucs coach Greg Schiano said. "Each practice he got better and there is a lot of upside there. We'd like to have a chance to work with him and we'll go from there."

The team also plans to sign several other players brought in for tryouts, Schiano said, including former Largo High standout Leonard Johnson. Those signings are expected to become official today, and some of the signees could knock previously signed undrafted free agents off the roster.

"You go out there and evaluate regardless of what has been done, and that is what we did," Schiano said.

Jefferson, who was 24-8 as LSU's starter, was undrafted because of his poor throwing mechanics, pocket presence and inexperience in a pro style offense. He's grateful for an extended look with the Bucs.

"I was the second-winningest quarterback ever (at LSU), but at the same time, I'm not where I want to be and I know it,'' said Jefferson, whose Tigers lost the BCS title game to Alabama and Barron, the No. 7 overall draft pick.

"So I want to show that I'm a competitor and that I can be a pro-style quarterback."

Try, try again

DB Derrick Roberson has been with five NFL teams entering the league as undrafted free agent in 2007, but was allowed to participate in the rookie minicamp.

With only eight games of NFL experience, including six with Tampa Bay in 2009, Roberson still qualifies as an NFL rookie, though that status finally might change this year.

Roberson, who played for Schiano at Rutgers, is among the tryout players who will be signed to a contract this week.

"I've known Derrick since he was a junior in high school and he loves the game of football,'' Schiano said. "This is the highest level of football in the world, and he's willing to do just about whatever to have the opportunity to play at this level.''

Every picture tells a story

Johnson, among 16 players who signed free-agent contracts last week, was reunited this weekend with Schiano.

"(Schiano) threw a football camp at Jefferson High School and I was there,'' Johnson said. "I was 14, a freshman quarterback and at the end of the camp, Coach Schiano took a picture with each player at the camp.

"I saved that picture and my mom was going through the pictures recently and when she found that one she said, 'Hey look what I found. This is your new head coach.' It was crazy."

Four is enough

Schiano passed on Sunday on the opportunity to hold a fifth on-field workout. Having practiced twice each on Friday and Saturday, he gathered enough information to make evaluations.

"The staff met (Saturday) night and talked it through," Schiano said, "and I think we all agreed we had seen enough."

Roy Cummings

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