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Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Bucs sign ex-USF CB Mike Jenkins

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Published:   |   Updated: March 20, 2014 at 06:29 PM

TAMPA — Pro Bowl cornerback Mike Jenkins completed a unique Tampa Bay hat trick on Thursday.

After playing high school ball at Bradenton Southeast and college ball at the University of South Florida, Jenkins will play pro ball with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Jenkins signed a one-year contract with the Bucs, who expect him to compete with Alterraun Verner and Johnthan Banks for a starter’s job in 2014.

“We are pleased to welcome Mike back home to the Tampa Bay area,” Bucs general manager Jason Licht said in a statement released by the team.

“Mike is someone that we targeted early on in our free agency planning and we are excited to have him in the fold. He is a proven corner who provides us with a valuable veteran presence and we expect him to compete for a starting spot in our defensive backfield.”

Jenkins (5-foot-10, 197 pounds), was a 2008 first-round draft pick (25th overall) of the Dallas Cowboys, five spots after the Bucs chose cornerback Aqib Talib in the same draft.

Jenkins is the 11th player signed by the Bucs since the free agency signing period began March March 11.

He is the second cornerback to sign, joining Verner, but might not be the last. The Bucs also visited with free-agent corner Chris Owens, a five-year NFL veteran who has played for Atlanta, Cleveland and Miami.

Jenkins, meanwhile, spent the first five years of his career with the Cowboys, reaching the Pro Bowl in 2009. He played last season with the Raiders. In 86 career games, he has 63 starts, 226 tackles, 10 interceptions and 49 passes broken up.

He was a first-team All-American at USF in 2007 and a first-team All-Big East selection in 2008.

The signing of Jenkins came three days after he visited the Bucs and a day after coach Lovie Smith said Tampa Bay fans should expect another addition or two before the team rests in free agency.

In addition to Jenkins and Owens, the Bucs also visited this week with former Lakewood High and University of Florida wide receiver Louis Murphy, a five-year NFL veteran who last played for the Giants.

The Bucs are believed to be interested in adding a wide receiver to complement projected starters Vincent Jackson and Mike Williams, and could have some interest in free agent and former Bears wideout Earl Bennett.

rcummings@tampatrib.com

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Twitter: @RCummingsTBO

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