Tampa Bay Buccaneers

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Bennett Deal Keeps Ball Rolling

The Bucs are halfway done with the signing of their ‘06 draft picks after striking a deal with DE Charles Bennett on Tuesday…Also, WR Larry Brackins and T Todd Williams were released

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Pass-rusher Charles Bennett can now run full speed into training camp

The fourth week of July ends in training camp for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, which means every day brings a new deal.

On Tuesday, the latest deal belonged to seventh-round defensive end Charles Bennett, who agreed to terms two days before the camp's reporting date. He is the fifth of 10 players drafted by the Buccaneers in April to finalize his first NFL contract, leaving half of the pacts still to be completed by Thursday.

In one sense, then, the Buccaneers are halfway done with the rookie contract work. On the other hand, negotiations tend to take a bit longer with the higher-round draftees and the Bucs are still seeking deals for first-round guard Davin Joseph, second-round tackle Jeremy Trueblood, third-round wide receiver Maurice Stovall, fourth-round cornerback Alan Zemaitis and sixth-round tight end T.J. Williams. Still, the team is confident that it will bring its rookie class into camp en masse, and it has a history of success in that regard. The Bucs haven't endured a lengthy rookie holdout since Trent Dilfer in 1994.

The Bucs also released two players on Tuesday: wide receiver Larry Brackins and tackle Todd Williams. Brackins was a fifth-round pick by the team a year ago, a raw project out of Pearl River Community College who spent the entire 2005 season on Tampa Bay's practice squad. Williams, who spent time on the Tennessee Titans' active roster in 2003 and 2004, was signed by the Buccaneers in January.

Earlier in the day on Tuesday, the Buccaneers also announced the re-signing of exclusive rights free agent , a third-year running back. Graham's signing was fully expected, of course, but players are not allowed to report to training camp until they have actually finalized a contract.

The 6-3, 254-pound Bennett had 27.5 career tackles for loss at Clemson and also proved capable of dropping into pass coverage. The speed-rushing end played in 46 games as a Tiger and started 22 of 23 possible contests during his junior and senior seasons. He helped turn Clemson's defense into one of the stingiest in the nation in 2005, and his interception on the final play against South Carolina helped the Tigers preserve a victory. Bennett, the 241st player picked overall in the 2006 draft, hails from Camden, South Carolina.

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