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Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Bucs Sign Linebacker

In the days before the draft, Tampa Bay bolsters its depth with former Jaguar Edward Thomas, an outside linebacker and strong special teams player


A fine special teams player, Edward Thomas also started four games at WLB for the Jaguars in 2001

Even with preparations for the 2004 NFL Draft in full swing, the busy Tampa Bay Buccaneers couldn't let a week go by without adding to their roster.

On Tuesday, the Bucs announced the signing of free agent linebacker Edward Thomas, who previously played for the Jacksonville Jaguars and San Francisco 49ers. As is team policy, terms of the contract were not disclosed.

Thomas joins his third NFL team after not playing in the league during the 2003 season. He also spent three years (1997-99) in the Canadian Football League with the Montreal Alouettes before signing with the 49ers during the 2000 offseason.

The Bucs have used the offseason to add significant depth to a thin linebacking corps and at the same time improved their special teams personnel. Like previous signees Keith Burns and Jeff Gooch, Thomas has excelled on kick coverage throughout his career.

Thomas (6-1, 228) made the 49ers' active roster in 2000 after coming over from the CFL. After playing in the first two games of the season, he was waived and placed on the practice squad, only to return to the active roster for two more games in October. After the 49ers released him again, Thomas landed on Jacksonville's practice squad, then the active roster for the season's final four games. In those four contests for the Jaguars, he made five special teams stops.

Thomas stuck with the Jaguars in 2001 and played in all 16 games, making four starts at weakside linebacker in place of an injured T.J. Slaughter. Though he had played on special teams only for the season's first nine weeks, Thomas recorded 44 tackles in the final seven games, and also finished with 10 stops on special teams.

In 2002, Thomas played in the Jaguars' first four games, primarily on special teams, before being waived on October 16.

Thomas was a four-year letterman as a collegian at Georgia Southern. As a senior in 1996, he led the team in both tackles (130) and sacks (15) and was named a first-team Division I-AA All-American. He hails from Atlanta, Georgia.

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