Former Syracuse CB Will Hunter was named to the 2004 All-NFL Europe Team
As predicted, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have remained active in July despite the final vacation being enjoyed by the team's players and coaches. The Bucs' personnel department continues to massage the roster, most recently with the signing of first-year cornerback Will Hunter.
Hunter (5-10, 190) just completed an outstanding season in the NFL Europe League, which he joined in February as a free agent without affiliation with an NFL team. He previously went to camp with the New York Jets last summer after signing as an undrafted free agent out of Syracuse.
The Bucs did not have to make any additional roster moves to accommodate Hunter's addition. For the time being, the new defensive back takes the 80-man roster exemption created by tackle Chris Ziemann, another NFL Europe standout. Ziemann was allocated to the NFLEL by the Buccaneers but was injured during the season and is currently working his way back from that injury.
While Ziemann is recovering, the Bucs are allowed to use his NFLEL exemption on another player from that league who was not already signed with an NFL team. In this case, that's Hunter. The Bucs did the same thing two weeks ago when they picked up linebacker Dustin Cohen, temporarily using the exemption earned by another injured offensive lineman, Kevin Breedlove.
Hunter performed well for the Cologne Centurions and their top-ranked defense this spring, earning one of the two cornerback spots on the 2004 All-NFL Europe League Team. He ranked fourth on the Centurion defense with 32 tackles and second with 11 passes defensed. Hunter also contributed heavily on special teams, making nine kick-coverage stops.
The Jets originally signed Hunter on May 2, 2003, a few days after that spring's NFL Draft. He went to camp with the team and recorded one pass defensed during the preseason but was placed on the physically unable to perform list due to an ankle sprain.
Syracuse used Hunter at several spots during his four collegiate seasons, though he played primarily cornerback as a senior in 2002. In all, he finished his Orange career with 150 tackles, three interceptions, 21 passes defensed, six sacks and three forced fumbles. He won Syracuse's Coach Mac award, recognizing his intensity, focus, effort and attitude.
Hunter hails from Chester, Pennsylvania.
Like the other 31 NFL teams, the Buccaneers are allowed a maximum of 80 players during the offseason and entering training camp. However, teams can and do earn roster exemptions by sending players to Europe. The Bucs allocated six players to the league, but may end up with more than six exemptions, as they are based on the allocates playing time.
Buccaneer players must report to training camp on July 30.