The Tampa Bay Buccaneers announced on Tuesday that they have traded veteran quarterback Byron Leftwich to the Pittsburgh Steelers in exchange for a seventh-round pick in the 2010 NFL Draft.
As a result, the Buccaneers head into this week's draft with a full dozen picks in the seven rounds, tying for the most among all 32 teams. Tampa Bay owns three of the first 42 picks and four of the first 67.
Leftwich signed with the Buccaneers as an unrestricted free agent last April, just weeks before the team selected Kansas State quarterback Josh Freeman in the first round of the 2009 draft. With team management planning to let Freeman learn from the sidelines for most of last season, Leftwich battled holdover Luke McCown for the starting job.
Leftwich won that competition and started the first three games but was replaced by second-year man Josh Johnson after the Bucs' 0-3 start. He was declared the inactive third quarterback for the next seven contests before moving to injured reserve with an elbow ailment for the final six weeks.
Johnson started four games, also losses, before ceding to Freeman. The rookie opened the final nine games, winning three, and heads into the 2010 season as the undisputed starter.
Leftwich returns to the team for which he provided strong backup work in the 2008 season. He played in five games for Pittsburgh in 2008, posting a passer rating of 104.3 on 36 throws. Leftwich helped the Steelers reach Super Bowl XLIII, and though he did not play in the final game he earned a championship ring.
That Super Bowl was played in Raymond James Stadium. If Leftwich makes the Steelers' regular-season roster in 2010, he will make yet another return trip to Tampa, as Pittsburgh is set to visit Raymond James Stadium in Week Three.
Originally a first-round pick of the Jacksonville Jaguars in 2003, Leftwich played his first four seasons in Jacksonville, starting 44 games. He spent his 2007 season with the Atlanta Falcons, starting twice. In his 49 career starts, Leftwich has a win-loss record of 24-25.
Three quarterbacks remain on the Buccaneers' roster heading into this week's draft, as Freeman and Johnson return along with second-year man Rudy Carpenter. The Buccaneers signed Carpenter off the Dallas Cowboys' practice squad in November after placing Leftwich on injured reserve.