CB Torrie Cox was a first alternate to the NFC Pro Bowl squad in 2006
Two highly-valued Tampa Bay Buccaneers defensive backs became unrestricted free agents on Friday. Both were once again Buccaneers by the end of the day.
On Friday evening, the Buccaneers announced that they had signed cornerback Torrie Cox, who had officially hit free agency at midnight. Earlier in the day, the team had a similar announcement regarding cornerback Phillip Buchanon. Cox, a sixth-round draft pick out of Pittsburgh in 2003, will return for a fifth season in Tampa Bay in 2007.
The Buccaneers have thus retained one of their most valuable special teams player as well as an experienced member of the defensive backfield. In 2006, Cox was selected as the first alternate to the "special teams" spot on the NFC's Pro Bowl squad behind Chicago's Brendon Ayanbadejo. He led the Buccaneers last season with 20 kick-coverage tackles while also recording 25 tackles, three passes defensed, one forced fumble and one fumble recovery on defense.
The 5-10, 181-pound Cox has filled numerous roles for the Buccaneers during his three seasons of play (he missed his 2003 rookie campaign due to a knee injury). He has served as the team's extra cornerback in nickel packages, and he has also taken on the kickoff return duties on several occasions. His career totals include 35 tackles, one interception, seven passes defensed, 45 special teams stops and 75 kickoff returns for 1,717 yards (22.9 average).
The 205th player drafted overall in 2003, Cox suffered a knee injury in a preseason game at Miami and spent his rookie season on injured reserve. In 2004, he made the active roster and contributed eight tackles, one interception and six passes defensed. Cox returned that one interception, against San Francisco on November 21, 2004, 55 yards for a touchdown.
In 2005, Cox emerged as one of the team's best special teams players, racking up 19 kick-coverage tackles and also sharing kickoff return duties.
Although the Buccaneers' only completed business on the first day of free agency was the return of two of the their own free agents, the team was quite busy throughout the day. The team hopes it has laid the groundwork for continued roster improvement in the coming weeks and days.
"We continue to explore every avenue to improve our Buccaneer team," said General Manager Bruce Allen.