New practice squad P A.J. Trapasso had an eventful preseason with the Titans, beginning with a 40-yard touchdown run
A.J. Trapasso has been an NFL player for all of five months, but it's already been an eventful career for the former Ohio State punter. Now his journey will continue in Tampa.
On Thursday, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers signed Trapasso to their practice squad, filling the last spot on that eight-man unit. Trapasso will get an opportunity to impress the Buccaneers, who lost standout veteran punter Josh Bidwell in training camp to a hip ailment. The team has replaced Bidwell on the active roster with veteran Dirk Johnson, who averaged 39.8 yards with a net of 35.0 on 24 preseason punts.
Trapasso made national headlines twice during his preseason with the Tennessee Titans, who signed him as a rookie free agent after the 2009 draft. In his first NFL game, the 2009 Hall of Fame game against the Buffalo Bills, Trapasso executed a terrific fake punt against the Buffalo Bills, switching the ball from his right hand to his left behind his back while he swung his leg, and then dashing 40 yards for the game's first touchdown.
Later in the same game, Trapasso executed another relatively rare play, purposely running into the end zone to take a safety while running out the clock to end the game.
Just three weeks later, Trapasso was on the highlight shows again when he became the first punter to hit the scoreboard hanging over the field at the brand new Cowboys Stadium in Dallas. Trapasso struck the bottom of the massive apparatus with a high kick during warmups, leading to a league-wide discussion over whether the scoreboard was too low.
In between, Trapasso also punted against the Buccaneers when Tampa Bay traveled to Nashville for its own preseason opener. In a 27-20 Titans win, the rookie punted just once for 27 yards. Trapasso finished the preseason with 16 punts for 648 yards, averaging 40.5 yards per punt and achieving a strong 39.0-yard net due to good hang time on his kicks. He dropped four of his 16 punts inside the 20 without suffering a single touchback.
Trapasso was waived by the Titans, who stuck with veteran Craig Hentrich, during the final wave of cuts on September 4, and claimed off waivers by the New York Jets. He was briefly the only punter on the Jets' roster before New York signed veteran Steve Weatherford a day later and released Trapasso.
At Ohio State, the 5-11, 225-pound Trapasso was a Ray Guy Award semifinalist as a senior after averaging 41.4 yards on 58 punts and dropping 21 of his kicks inside the 20. In four seasons with the Buckeyes, he averaged 41.0 yards on 203 punts while also occasionally handling kickoffs. Ten of his 27 career kickoffs at OSU resulted in touchbacks.
The 23-year-old Trapasso hails from Pickerington, Ohio, where as a prep he was also a standout running back, scoring 50 touchdowns in his career.