C/G Sean Mahan (left) has 52 career starts, 36 with the Buccaneers
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers moved quickly on Monday to bolster their offensive line depth, re-signing center/guard Sean Mahan, who has previously started for the team at both of those positions. The move was prompted by the news earlier in the day that starting center Jeff Faine would miss several weeks due to a triceps strain.
The Buccaneers also signed defensive end Tim Crowder, a third-year veteran out of Texas who was released by the Denver Broncos on September 5. To make room for the additions of Mahan and Crowder on the 53-man roster, the Buccaneers waived cornerback Kyle Arrington and defensive end Maurice Evans. The final move of the day was the release of rookie punter A.J. Trapasso from the practice squad.
Mahan was released by the Buccaneers on September 2 but he returns to provide a veteran hand for a unit that has mostly young players in reserve. Mahan could also figure into the plans to replace Faine during his absence, as he has recorded 52 career NFL starts, including 16 at center for the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2007. Other linemen currently on the roster who are considered capable of playing center include second-year man Jeremy Zuttah, the current starter at left guard, and rookies Jonathan Compas and Marc Dile.
Mahan's other 36 starts came in his first stint with the Buccaneers, from 2003-06. A fifth-round draft pick out of Notre Dame, he first moved into the starting lineup midway through his second season when starting center John Wade suffered a season-ending knee injury. Following Wade's return in 2005, Mahan moved to right guard and started 28 games over the next two seasons, including all 16 in '05 when the Buccaneers won the NFC South division title.
After the 2006 season, Mahan left the Buccaneers as an unrestricted free agent to sign with the Steelers. He was reacquired following the 2007 campaign in exchange for a seventh-round draft pick and served in a reserve capacity for the Buccaneers in 2008.
Crowder was a second-round draft pick in 2007 and he put together a fine rookie season for the Broncos, appearing in 13 games with one start and recording 22 tackles, four sacks, one forced fumble and two fumble-recoveries. A linebacker/defensive end in Denver's system, the 6-4, 260-pound Crowder ranked second on the Broncos' defense with his sack total and tied for fifth among all NFL rookies. He also scored on a 50-yard return of a fumble recovery against Pittsburgh on October 21, 2007.
Crowder appeared in six games in 2008 and finished with four tackles. At Texas, he was a four-year starter and a member of the Longhorns' 2005 national championship team. He earned first-team all-conference honors in each of his last two seasons. Crowder hails from Tyler, Texas.
Arrington began the season on the Buccaneers' practice squad, where he also spent most of his 2008 rookie campaign. However, he was activated to the 53-man roster during the week leading up to the Dallas game and saw his first NFL regular-season action on Sunday on special teams. Evans was claimed by the Buccaneers off waivers from the New York Giants on September 5. He was originally an undrafted free agent out of Penn State this past spring.
Trapasso was signed to the Bucs' practice squad in the middle of last week. He originally entered the NFL as an undrafted free agent with the Tennessee Titans and also had a one-day stint as a New York Jet.