Third-year T Chris Ziemann played eight games with the N.Y. Giants in 2000
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have signed third-year offensive tackle Chris Ziemann, who most recently spent the 2002 season on injured reserve with the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Ziemann also did not play in the league in 2003, but he will get back into action almost immediately. That's because the Bucs have made him their seventh allocated player to the NFL Europe League, which opens its training camp in Tampa on March 1.
At 6-7, Ziemann becomes the tallest player on the Bucs' roster and he has excellent strength to go with his 307-pound frame. He began his NFL career in 2000 as an undrafted free agent out of Michigan, signing with the New York Giants. Ziemann beat the odds to make the Giants' active roster as a rookie and played in eight games for the eventual NFC Champions, appearing exclusively on special teams. He ran into misfortune in practice, however, tearing the ACL in his left knee during a November 1 workout and landing on injured reserve for the remainder of the season.
In 2001, Ziemann was waived on the final cut-down before the regular season but was re-signed to the Giants' practice squad, where he spent the entire season. He then signed with the Jacksonville Jaguars in February of 2002 but spent the following season on IR thanks to another torn ACL in his left knee, again sustained during practice.
Ziemann made 20 career starts for the Wolverines, including eight as a senior (seven at right guard and one at right tackle) in 1999. He came to Michigan as a defensive end but switched to the offensive line during spring practices before his sophomore year. Ziemann hails from Aurora, Illinois.
The Bucs now have seven players allocated to the NFL Europe League for its spring season, including three offensive linemen. G Kevin Breedlove will play for the Rhein Fire and C Ben Claxton will suit up for the Berlin Thunder. The other Buccaneer NFLEL allocates are CB Lynaris Elpheage (Frankfurt Galaxy), K Carlos Martinez (TBA), WR Frank Murphy (Berlin) and DE Corey Smith (Berlin). The NFLEL will hold a three-week joint training camp in the Bay area in March before heading overseas to begin its season.
Ziemann is the 17th free agent signed by the Buccaneers (including the team's own 2003 practice squad players) since the end of last season. For a full list of the team's 2004 transactions, please click here.