DE/LS Jordan Hicks wisely headed overseas this spring to try out the NFL Europe League, leading to a spot with the Buccaneers
Jordan Hicks wasn't on an NFL team roster this winter, and thus was not one of the several hundred men allocated by the senior circuit to the NFL Europe League this spring. Hicks chose to head overseas anyway, and found a roster spot with the NFLEL's Hamburg Sea Devils.
Hicks, a first-year defensive lineman and long-snapper, performed well enough in Europe this spring to earn a job for the summer. He will report to his second NFL training camp in July after signing with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
The 6-4, 260-pound Hicks first entered the NFL as an undrafted free agent a little over a year ago, signing with the Oakland Raiders shortly after the 2005 draft concluded. He went to camp with the Raiders but did not earn a spot on the 53-man roster.
Hicks was a starting defensive end at Georgetown College in Kentucky, where he finished fifth on the team as a senior with 72 tackles, adding eight sacks. He played two seasons at Georgetown, starting 24 games and amassing 112 tackles and 10 sacks.
He certainly comes from an athletic family, and one that has made the most of the professional options in Europe. Hicks' older brother, Reese, also played at Georgetown College and has spent a season in the NFLEL. An offensive lineman, Reese is currently with Cincinnati after previous stints with Cleveland, Philadelphia and Denver. The Hicks brothers also have a sister, Lindsay, who started for three seasons on Purdue's women's basketball team and has played professionally in Europe. The family hails from Lebanon, Ohio.
Despite having 99 players on the roster already, the Bucs were able to add Hicks to their roster without cutting another man thanks to an NFL Europe exemption. That exemption, one of nine the team will use during camp, was actually earned by wide receiver Jonathan Carter, who was allocated to the league by the Bucs but was injured during the NFLEL's training camp.
Players injured during NFLEL action rehabilitate at a facility in Birmingham, Alabama. Until they recover, the exemptions they earned may be used on other players who were in the NFLEL this spring. When Carter is given a clean bill of health, the Bucs will then have to decide whether to retain him or Hicks.
Hicks gives the Bucs another competitor for the long-snapping job. He handled those duties for the Sea Devils this spring and also played on defense, contributing five tackles and three stops on special teams. Tampa Bay's incumbent long-snapper is 15th-year veteran tight end Dave Moore. The Bucs also signed Texas A&M tight end/long-snapper Boone Stutz as a rookie free agent and have a handful of other veterans, such as guard Jeb Terry, who have tried their hand at the job.
The Bucs will not be able to take 100 players to training camp, of course. With its current array of exemptions, the team will be able to bring 89 hopefuls to Orlando. The 10 players selected in April's draft do not count against the 80-man limit until they have signed contracts with the team, and they may not report to camp until they do so.