Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Presented by

Bucs Release Ward, Nunn in Cut to 75

In order to meet Tuesday's roster limit of 75, the Bucs released RB Derrick Ward and WR Terrence Nunn and placed LB Jon Alston on injured reserve


The Tampa Bay Buccaneers released two players on Tuesday: running back Derrick Ward and wide receiver Terrence Nunn.  Combined with the placement of linebacker Jon Alston on injured reserve, those three moves allowed the team to meet the new NFL roster limit of 75 men.

The Buccaneers will finish their preseason schedule in Houston on Thursday night and then on Saturday will be required to further trim their roster to the regular-season limit of 53 players.

While Nunn is a second-year player who has yet to appear in a regular-season NFL game, the release of Ward was obviously noteworthy.  Signed by the Buccaneers as an unrestricted free agent in March of 2009, Ward had played five previous seasons with the New York Giants.  In his one season in Tampa, Ward played in 14 games with one start and rushed for 409 yards and one touchdown on 114 carries.  In announcing the roster moves after practice on Tuesday, Buccaneers Head Coach Raheem Morris said the decision to release Ward was based largely on what the team still has in its running back stable, including Cadillac Williams, Earnest Graham and Kareem Huggins.

"It's more about the resurgence of Mr. Cadillac and Mr. 'Insurance' Graham, where the team is headed, our plan and our direction," said Morris.  "No decision is made lightly around here.  It was just time to make it today.

"It was about everybody's skill level on our football team and how we see our team fitting right now.  We've got Cadillac, who we're all happy to have, and we also have Insurance Graham for us back there.  He's able to carry the ball for us as well.  And also we have our little spark plug in Huggy, and he's able to come in and provide a different look for us.  We look forward to watching those guys run the rest of the preseason."

Graham has taken over the Buccaneers' starting fullback role but he remains a talented ballcarrier as well.  In 2007, after a season-ending knee injury to Williams, Graham emerged as a productive NFL starter, rushing for 898 yards and 10 touchdowns on 222 carries.  He is also a talented passcatcher out of the backfield, as evidenced by his 86 receptions over the last three seasons.

Williams returned from the aforementioned injury and another one suffered at the end of the 2008 season to recapture the starting job in 2009.  His impressive comeback season included 823 yards and four touchdowns on 211 carries and 28 receptions for 217 yards and three more scores.  Williams remains firmly entrenched in the starting role heading into 2010, and Graham's presence gives the Bucs a valuable second weapon in the backfield, even as he continues to help the team as a fullback.

"If you're a fullback or a running back, you sit in the same room, you hear the same information, you do the same ball-carrying drills," said Morris.  [Graham] is versatile; that's the thing that makes Earnest special.  We look forward to expanding his role and letting him play in all those different situations.  He's got some short-yardage stuff for us, some goal-line, and we'll be able to do more of those things for us.  We'll be able to use his versatility a little bit more."

Huggins, who signed with the Buccaneers as an undrafted free agent last season, has also been impressive during the 2010 preseason.  He leads the team with 97 rushing yards and has averaged 5.1 yards per tote.

"Kareem's got to go out there and play," said Morris.  "We look forward to watching him against Houston.  He's well-received in his room.  Those guys all love Kareem.  But he still has to go out there and prove himself every week.  He still has to go out there and prove himself against Houston and we look forward to giving the young man an opportunity to [do so]."

Nunn also entered the NFL as an undrafted free agent in 2009, signing with the New England Patriots, for whom he spent the first half of the season as a member of the practice squad.  The Bucs signed Nunn off that squad to their active roster on November 24 but he did not see any action in the remaining six games.  During the 2010 preseason, Nunn caught two passes for 11 yards and a touchdown.

Tampa Bay's receiving corps has been particularly competitive this summer, thanks in large part to the additions of Mike Williams, Arrelious Benn and Reggie Brown. Still, it is never easy for a coach or a team to part ways with talented football players like Nunn and Ward.

"We've got to pick the best 53 men for our football team and we have to make those decisions," said Morris.  "They're never light, they're never easy ones to come by.  If you spend time being disappointed in anyone for not being able to do something that you want them to do, usually you end up wasting your time.  It's just more about where we're going, our direction."

Alston signed with the team on March 12, 2010 as a free agent after spending the past three seasons with the Oakland Raiders. He originally entered the league as a third-round pick (77th overall) in the 2006 NFL Draft by the St. Louis Rams.

This article has been reproduced in a new format and may be missing content or contain faulty links. Please use the Contact Us link in our site footer to report an issue.

Related Content