DE Patrick Chukwurah had one sack in nine games last year and was also a strong contributor to special teams
Patrick Chukwurah didn't go to training camp in his second season with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, but he will make it into uniform for the final game of the preseason.
On Thursday, while passing the time in Texas before for their 8:00 p.m. preseason finale against the Houston Texans, the Buccaneers announced that they have re-signed Chukwurah, the veteran defensive end who played in nine games for them last year. The Bucs had most recently released Chukwurah on June 20, about a month before training camp.
Chukwurah will wear jersey number 94 and will almost certainly play in Thursday night's game. The Bucs had an open spot on the 75-man roster – and in the D-line rotation – after trading Marques Douglas to Baltimore on Wednesday. As is the approach of most NFL teams, the Buccaneers rarely play their starters for long in the preseason finale, meaning there will be plenty of snaps to go around for Chukwurah and the rest of the defensive line reserves.
The 6-1, 250-pound pass-rusher is familiar with the Buccaneers defense, having signed with the team as an unrestricted free agent in March of 2007, and thus should be able to step right into the mix. Chukwurah has one solid opportunity to impress the team once again, as the NFL-mandated cutdown to 53 players will occur on Saturday.
Though he struggled with a variety of injuries in his first season as a Buccaneer, Chukwurah appeared in nine games last fall and contributed 12 tackles and one sack. He recorded his single sack in his first regular-season game as a Buccaneer, against Carolina in late September, and finished the regular season with a season-high five-tackle outing against the Panthers. Chukwurah also excelled on special teams and had 10 kick-coverage stops on the year.
Before signing with the Buccaneers, Chukwurah played two seasons (2001-02) with the Minnesota Vikings and four (2003-06) with the Denver Broncos. He posted career highs in tackles (25) and sacks (4.5) in his final season in Denver. Originally a fifth-round draft pick out of Wyoming by the Vikings in 2001, Chukwurah has also played linebacker on occasion during his NFL career.