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Tampa Bay Buccaneers

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Mark Jones Returns

Another member of the 2004 draft class is back as the team has re-signed WR Mark Jones, a dangerous punt return threat…Bucs also release Larry Brackins, make several practice squad changes


WR Mark Jones spent last season with the Giants but he entered the league as a 2004 draft pick of the Buccaneers

Yet another player from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' draft class has made the team...the 2004 draft class.

On Wednesday, the Bucs made a series of roster moves highlighted by the re-signing of wide receiver Mark Jones. Jones was the first of three seventh-round draft picks made by the team in 2004, and he showed immediate promise as a punt and kick returner. However, the Bucs made him one of their final cuts last summer and he was quickly snapped up on waivers by the New York Giants.

Though he was the Giants' primary punt returner in 2004, averaging 6.7 yards on 34 returns, Jones was waived on September 3. He missed much of the preseason with plantar fasciitis, a foot injury, though he returned for the Giants' final tuneup and returned six punts for 63 yards against New England.

To make room for Jones on the active roster, the Bucs' released a receiver they drafted this year, fifth-rounder Larry Brackins. Brackins had made the team's 53-man squad on Saturday despite seeing only limited action in the preseason due to a lengthy recovery from a hamstring injury suffered earlier in the summer.

Tampa Bay also made several moves regarding its newly-formed practice squad. The team added first-year tackle Drew Strojny, who was a seventh-round draft pick of the Giants in 2004, coincidentally taken just three picks before Jones. Strojny spent most of his rookie season on the Philadelphia Eagles' practice squad and went to camp with the Eagles this summer.

The 6-7, 327-pound Strojny played his college football at Duke, starting 43 of the 46 games in which he played. To make room for Strojny, the Bucs released WR DeAndrew Rubin from the practice squad.

The Bucs' moves at wide receiver still left the team with 16 players on the 53-man roster from the 2004 and 2005 drafts. Jones might be considered the one who got away last year, but his return gives the team a significant option on both punt and kickoff returns, with the former need apparently the most pressing. Rubin handled much of the punt return work during the preseason but did not make the active roster, apparently leaving the job to such veteran receivers as Ike Hilliard and Joey Galloway. A dynamic play-maker at Tennessee, Jones could give the Bucs an immediate boost in the return department.

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