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Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Bucs Sign Comella, Too

Hard-nosed fullback Greg Comella, who previously cleared paths for Tiki Barber and Eddie George, becomes the second player signed by Tampa Bay on the first day of free agency


FB Greg Comella who played in Super Bowl XXXV in Tampa with the New York Giants, has blocked for several 1,000-yard rushers

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers, acting swiftly as the NFL's 2004 free agency period begins, have signed a second new player, fullback Greg Comella.

Earlier on the first day of the open market, the team inked tight end Dave Moore, who played his first 10 years in Tampa.

Comella most recently played for the Houston Texans in 2003 after one season in Tennessee and four with the New York Giants. His career totals include just 17 carries for 66 yards, but he is the consummate lead blocker and a good receiver out of the backfield, having caught as many as 39 passes in a season. The powerfully-built, 6-1, 248-pound bruiser has also played extensively on special teams.

Comella and Moore appear to be the type of free agent to which General Manager Bruce Allen alluded just before the opening of the market, players who may not be household names but can be valuable pieces in a championship puzzle. Moore, of course, is well-known in Tampa, but Comella played his first six seasons in New York, Tennessee and Houston.

"The people who have expressed an interest are some guys that aren't the household names," said Allen. "They didn't make Pro Football Weekly's All-American Team, but are good, productive players in this league."

Comella is far from unknown in NFL circles. He was the primary lead blocker for two 1,000-yard rushers, the Giants' Tiki Barber in 2000 and the Titans' Eddie George in 2002. In 2000, Comella helped the Giants reach Super Bowl XXXV, played in Tampa, scoring a touchdown in New York's NFC Championship Game victory over Minnesota.

Signed by the Giants as an undrafted free agent in 1998, Comella made the roster but played primarily on special teams as a rookie. In 1999, he led the Giants with 17 special teams tackles and became the starting fullback in December when Charles Way was lost to injury. Comella held the starting job for the following two seasons, providing outstanding blocking for Barber and also contributing 65 receptions for 527 yards and a touchdown.

Comella then signed with the Titans as an unrestricted free agent in 2002 and helped George rack up 1,165 yards. He was released at the end of the preseason last year, however, and claimed off waivers by the Texans. In Houston, Comella played in five games and was inactive for the other 11. In all, Comella has played in 81 NFL games, with 35 starts.

Comella played his college ball at Stanford, though injuries cut short two of his Cardinal seasons. As a senior, he shared the fullback duties with Jon Ritchie, another eventual NFL starter. He hails from Wellesley, Massachusetts and is part of a family of fullbacks; Comella's father, Greg, and brother, John Paul, both played fullback at Boston College while his other brother, Matt, played the same position at Northeastern.

Last season, the Buccaneers used several different players at fullback, thanks in large part to the season-ending neck injury suffered by six-time Pro Bowler Mike Alstott. Third-year man Jameel Cook moved into the starting lineup after Alstott's injury, but second-year prospect Darian Barnes also saw significant playing time. Former Eagle fullback Cecil Martin was signed to the active roster on two different occasions but did not see any action.

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