CB Floyd Young, originally a little-known free agent, can now look ahead to his fourth Buccaneer training camp
It must be a Kingsville thing.
Four days after C/G Kevin Dogins re-signed with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the team announced on Tuesday that CB Floyd Young had done the same. Both are products of modestly-sized Texas A&M-Kingsville, both are fourth-year players and both became restricted free agents when the NFL's free agency period began in February.
Both are also success stories as little-known undrafted free agents, Dogins matriculating from Kingsville in 1996 and Young in '97. Like Dogins, Young has accrued three official years of NFL experience and was thus a restricted free agent when his contract expired after the 1999 season. He was free to negotiate with any team prior to April 10, but the Buccaneers retained a right to match any contract by extending a tender offer in February. Young did not sign with any other team and agreed to his one-year tender offer on Tuesday.
Young first joined the Buccaneers in April of 1997, when he signed as a rookie free agent following the NFL draft. Though he was relegated to the practice squad when the '97 season began, he showed consistent poise in practice and learned the Bucs' defense quickly. He was signed to the active roster before the end of September and was soon the team's primary nickel back.
Young remained in that role through the rest of the 1997 regular season, contributing 16 tackles and six passes defensed. He also played nickel back in the first of two Buccaneer playoff games that year, helping to down Detroit in the Wild Card round with two tackles, a pass defensed and a near-block on a Lions' punt attempt that led to an unsuccessful run by the punter.
During the past two seasons, Young has joined Brian Kelly as the Bucs' second wave of cornerbacks, though Kelly, a 1998 second-round pick, has developed into the primary nickel back. Young has continued to contribute on special teams and in spot duty in the defensive backfield, recording nine kick-coverage tackles, one defensive stop and one pass defensed in 17 games in that span.
Young's signing reduces the number of remaining restricted free agents for the Buccaneers to two: CB Ronde Barber and TE Patrick Hape. The team started with seven such free agents in February, but has inked five of them during the month of May: G Frank Middleton on the fifth, QB Scott Milanovich on the eighth, S Damien Robinson on the 15th, Dogins on the 26th and now Young on the 30th.
In addition, two 1999 Buccaneers who are unrestricted free agents, LB Don Davis and T Paul Gruber, have remained close to the team during the offseason. Davis has joined in the team's voluntary summer workouts, signing a waiver to validate his participation, while Gruber continues to work with the team's training staff to rehabilitate the right leg he fractured in last year's regular-season finale. While unsigned players may join the team in spring mini-camps or voluntary workouts, they must be signed in order to participate in training camp. The Bucs' training camp opens July 23.