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Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Physical RB Hillis gives Bucs depth, versatility

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Published:   |   Updated: July 24, 2013 at 03:10 PM

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TAMPA - Doug Martin is coming off a rookie season in which he made the Pro Bowl, so Tampa Bay Buccaneers coach Greg Schiano feels pretty good about his starting running back.

It's the depth behind Martin, or lack of it, that worries Schiano. That's why the Bucs signed five-year veteran Peyton Hillis just before the start of training camp.

"We have our guys, but we need to create quality depth and competition," Schiano said shortly after welcoming veteran players to training camp on Wednesday. "If we can keep creating competition, the cream is going to rise to the top."

Hillis once was the cream of the crop. In 2010 with the Browns, he ranked sixth in the league with 1,654 total yards from scrimmage (1,654) and third with 13 touchdowns.

The Bucs are excited about the 6-foot-2, 250-pound Hillis' experience and versatility.

"He can be the ball carrier, he can block - he's that bigger kind of back," Schiano said. "And the guy can rush. In 2010 he ran for close to 1,200 yards, so he's done it in this league.

"We just felt like he was a good fit for us right now with our running situation and our fullback situation. He brings some diversity to the position and we needed to create quality depth there."

Hillis joins a training camp battle in which veteran Brian Leonard, second-year pro Michael Smith and rookie Mike James will compete for work behind Martin.

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