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Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Howell Signs

Safety John Howell, the Bucs’ fourth-round draft pick, becomes the eighth of nine 2001 draftees to come to terms


Safety John Howell, the Bucs' fourth-round draft pick, agreed to a three-year deal on Wednesday

And then there was one.

Rookie safety John Howell, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' fourth-round draft pick in April, signed a three-year contract on Wednesday. As is team policy, terms of the contract were not disclosed.

With Howell's contract work done, the Bucs have just one remaining player not under contract, first-round draft pick Kenyatta Walker. Under NFL rules, unsigned players are not allowed to attend training camp, and Tampa Bay begins camp on Sunday, July 29. However, the Bucs have not experienced an extended holdout from a draft pick since quarterback Trent Dilfer in 1994.

Howell (5-11, 204) has worked primarily at free safety during offseason work with the Buccaneers but is capable of filling either safety spot. At Colorado State, where Howell recorded 233 tackles, nine sacks, 18 tackles for loss and three interceptions in four seasons, the hard-hitting safety played in a defense very similar to what the Buccaneers run.

As a senior last fall, Howell earned all-conference first-team honors in the Mountain West, posting 93 tackles, two interceptions and a team-high five sacks. His outstanding pass-rushing skills had been discovered in his junior year, Howell's first as a starter, when he racked up four sacks along with a career-high 117 tackles.

On Wednesday, Howell participated in the first of three voluntary pre-camp workouts for rookies and first-year players at One Buccaneer Place. He'll report to the nearby University of Tampa campus on Sunday with the rest of the team, and his experiences in his first NFL training camp will be covered in-depth on Howell has agreed to provide a periodic Training Camp Diary for the team's official web site, which will appear in a special 2001 Training Camp section.

The 117th player selected overall in April, Howell is a native of Mullen, Nebraska, where he captured the state wrestling title as a senior.

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