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Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Bucs Claim Veteran Punter Lanning

Tampa Bay's advantageous waiver-wire position allowed them to grab former Browns punter Spencer Lanning, who should provide good competition for incumbent Michael Koenen.

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The Tampa Bay Buccaneers didn't change their numbers at punter on Tuesday, but they did alter the dynamics at the position. With the waiver claim of former Cleveland Browns punter Spencer Lanning, the Buccaneers brought in significant competition for incumbent Michael Koenen.

Lanning was waived by the Browns after Cleveland's trade for former San Francisco punter Andy Lee. The Buccaneers once again utilized their pole position on the waiver wire to snare Lanning, and to make room for him on the roster the team released first-year punter Andy Wilder. Wilder, who played his college ball at Northern Arizona, had signed with the Buccaneers on March 20.

The 5-11, 200-pound Lanning spent the last two seasons as Cleveland's punter, posting a gross average of 44.1 yards per punt and a net average of 38.6 yards per punt on 177 kicks. His net average of 39.2 in 2014 ranked 17th in the NFL.

Last year, Koenen posted a gross average of 40.4 and a net of 37.1 on 78 punts. He was also the Buccaneers' kickoff specialist, producing 31 touchbacks on 68 attempts. In 2013, Koenen ranked seventh in the league with a touchback rate of 63.1%.

Lanning, who played his college ball at South Carolina, first entered the NFL as an undrafted free agent with the Chicago Bears in 2011. He spent time over the next two years with the Bears, Cleveland Browns, Jacksonville Jaguars and New York Jets before returning to Cleveland in 2013.

Koenen has handled Tampa Bay's punting duties since signing as an unrestricted free agent in 2011. In the four years since, he has averaged 43.7 gross yards and 38.2 net yards per punt. His gross average ranks second in team history and his net average ranks first.

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