For the second time in the last two weeks, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have looked to the Canadian Football League to add talent to their offseason roster.
On Wednesday, the Buccaneers announced the signing of linebacker Jeff Knox, who played his first two professional seasons with the CFL's Saskatchewan Roughriders. On January 5, the Buccaneers inked wide receiver Derel Walker, formerly of the Edmonton Eskimos. Both were signed to "reserve/future" contracts, which take effect at the start of the NFL's 2017 league season in March.
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Like Walker, Knox put up big numbers in his brief time in Canada. Knox racked up 114 tackles and an interception for the Roughriders in 2015, also adding 10 stops on special teams, and was named a West All-Star. The Roughriders named him the team's Most Outstanding Player for 2015. Last season, he added another 65 tackles, plus one sack and 19 kick-coverage stops. Saskatchewan released Knox this week so that he could pursue an NFL opportunity with the Buccaneers.
Knox played his college ball at California University of Pennsylvania and was a second-team all-conference choice in 2014, his senior campaign. He was not chosen in the 2015 NFL draft and chose to sign with the Roughriders.
As a linebacker from the CFL, Knox could follow in the footsteps of one of the best defenders in team history. Shelton Quarles, now the Buccaneers' director of football operations, played two seasons for the CFL's British Columbia Lions before signing with Tampa Bay in 1997. Quarles went on to earn Pro Bowl honors as a middle linebacker, as well as a Super Bowl ring as a starter for the 2002 squad.