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Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Sprinter Demps won't join Bucs until late preseason

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Published:   |   Updated: July 22, 2013 at 01:09 PM

TAMPA - It turns out, Olympic sprinter Jeff Demps will be joining the Tampa Bay Buccaneers later rather than sooner.

Demps, a running back/return man acquired by the Bucs in their April trade of running back LeGarrette Blount to the New England Patriots, has accepted an invitation to the IAAF World Championships in Moscow next month, agent Daniel Rose said.

A member of the United States 4x100 meter relay team that won a silver medal at the 2012 Olympic Games, Demps will again be a part of the 4x100 meter team in Moscow, where the final in that race is slated for Aug. 18.

The decision means Demps will not join the Bucs until late in the preseason. That could impact his chances of making the team, but the Bucs have been aware of Demps' plans for the track season and appear willing to wait for his return.

"We've had conversations with the Bucs and they're excited about having Jeff," Rose said last week. "And so it will be interesting to see how it goes. I wish I could give everyone a date certain for when he'll be there but I can't.''

A University of Florida product, Demps played running back and returned kicks during his four seasons with the Gators, averaging 28.8 yards per kick return.

The Bucs' interest in and patience with Demps stems in part from their pedestrian effort in the return game a year ago, when they ranked 19th in the league in punt return average and 30th in in kick return average.

Veteran receiver Tiquan Underwood, second-year receiver Eric Paige, undrafted rookie running back Matt Brown and second-year running back Michael Smith are expected to compete for the return jobs during training camp, which opens on Wednesday.

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