RB Johnathan Reese, who first entered the NFL in 2002, was one of three players released by the Bucs on Wednesday
On the verge of opening training camp, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are striving to get all of their 2005 draft picks under contract.
That is actually a two-part task because, in addition to working out contract details with those 12 rookies, the team also has to clear some space on the roster for them. To that end, the team released three players on Wednesday afternoon: cornerback Ukee Dozier, running back Johnathan Reese and defensive tackle Keith Wright.
Dozier is a rookie while Reese and Wright are both first-year players. They are the first three men trimmed from the roster since the team parted ways with cornerback Carlos Campbell, linebacker Richard Glover, tackle Matt Martin, cornerback Dominique Morris and running back Fred Reid exactly one month ago.
Because unsigned rookies do not count against a team's offseason roster limit of 80 players (plus NFL Europe exemptions), the Bucs were able to carry roughly 100 players since the NFL draft. However, as those rookies sign, they begin to count against the limit, which means other players have to be released.
Dozier joined the team immediately after the draft, among a group of undrafted players who signed as free agents on Monday, April 26.
Reese originally entered the NFL as an undrafted free agent with the New York Jets in 2002. He spent much of the next two seasons on the Jets' practice squad, with a brief stint on the active roster. He also had a short turn with the Denver Broncos in 2004. The Buccaneers signed Reese on February 8, 2005.
Wright joined the Bucs last November, spending a few weeks on the practice squad before being promoted to the active roster for the final three games, though he did not appear in any of those games. Wright first entered the NFL as a sixth-round draft pick of the Houston Texans in 2003, and he spent five weeks on the Indianapolis Colts' active roster last year.
The Bucs will bring 91 players to training camp, including 10 on NFLEL exemptions and an 11th, safety Claudius Osei, who is part of the NFL's International Development Practice Squad program.