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Bucs Sign WR Underwood

Tampa Bay added veteran Tiquan Underwood to its receiving corps on Thursday, seeking to increase competition at a spot that also includes Vincent Jackson, Mike Williams, Arrelious Benn and other promising young players


Head Coach Greg Schiano said the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' roster would remain somewhat fluid in the months leading up to training camp.  On Thursday, it flowed a little bit in each direction, as the Buccaneers signed fourth-year wide receiver Tiquan Underwood and released undrafted rookie defensive tackle Myles Wade.

UPDATE: The Buccaneers have since announced that rookie quarterback Jordan Jefferson has been waived instead and Wade remains with the team.

Underwood agreed to a two-year deal and will now join his third professional team.  He was originally drafted by the Jacksonville Jaguars in the seventh round in 2009 and was most recently a member of the New England Patriots.

The 6-1, 184-pound Underwood played most extensively in 2010, his second year in Jacksonville, appearing in 10 games and catching eight passes for 111 yards.  Overall, he has played 19 NFL games and recorded 11 receptions for 141 yards.

As a rookie, Underwood was released by Jacksonville during the final roster cuts and added to the practice squad, but he spent only a month on that unit before being promoted to the active roster, where he remained the rest of the season, appearing in three games.  He made the 53-man roster again in 2010 but was then released near the end of the following preseason.  The Patriots quickly signed him to their camp roster, waived him again in early September, then re-signed him in November.

Underwood received a little unexpected attention during Super Bowl week, when the Patriots released him the day before their game against the Giants in order to promote defensive end Alex Silvestro.  New England signed him right back the next day but he was waived last Friday.

The Buccaneers let Underwood clear waivers then signed him on Tuesday, reuniting him with his college coach.  Underwood played four seasons at Rutgers under Schiano (2005-08), starting 32 of the 49 games in which he played and racking up 132 catches for 1,931 yards and 16 touchdowns.  After recording a career-best 65 catches for 1,100 yards as a junior in 2007, he was named a team captain for his senior campaign.

Underwood also played extensively on special teams under Schiano and has continued to perform in that capacity in the NFL.

Underwood is the second veteran receiver the Buccaneers have added since the start of free agency in March.  On the first day of the open market, Tampa Bay reeled in the top-rated pass-catcher available, former San Diego Charger Vincent Jackson.  They join incumbent starters Mike Williams and Arrelious Benn as well such promising  young players as Preston Parker, Dezmon Briscoe, Sammie Stroughter and Ed Gant as Schiano and his staff look to heighten competition at every position on the depth chart.

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