TE Dave Moore, who played for the Bucs from 1992-2001, is the club's all-time leader in touchdowns per reception
Dave Moore always had a nose for the end zone at Raymond James Stadium. Maybe that helped him find his way back to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
The Buccaneers opened their 2004 free agency efforts on Wednesday with the immediate signing of Moore, the 12th-year veteran tight end. Moore played the majority of his NFL career with the Buccaneers before spending the last two seasons with the Buffalo Bills.
The Bucs also signed free agent FB Greg Comella on Wednesday.
Moore stands 13th on the Bucs' all-time receptions chart, trailing only Jimmie Giles and Ron Hall among tight ends. Of Moore's 202 career receptions, 179 are from his first stint as a Buccaneer from 1992-2001, the bulk coming in his four years as the full-time starter (1998-2001), during which he averaged 28 grabs per season.
Moore's top receptions season came in 2001, when he hauled in 35 passes for 285 yards and four touchdowns. In all, he has turned his 202 career NFL receptions into 1,997 yards and 28 scores.
In Tampa, Moore was known for his consistent ability to find the end zone, scoring at least three touchdowns every year from 1996-2001. In fact, Moore scored on 13.4% of his receptions as a Buccaneer, the highest rate in team history among all players with at least 50 catches.
Moore's signing marks the Bucs' initial foray into the free agent market, which opened at midnight on Tuesday. The move is perhaps a harbinger of an aggressive offseason approach for the team, which had not made a first-day signing in recent years. It also comes less than a day after the team waived two veteran tight ends, Ken Dilger, the starter for the past two years, and Roland Williams.
Moore (6-2, 250) originally entered the league as a seventh-round draft pick of the Miami Dolphins in 1992. He bounced between Miami's practice squad and active roster as a rookie, appearing in one game for the Dolphins, before the Bucs picked him up as a free agent in late November. He then played in four games with two starts down the stretch for Tampa Bay.
An accomplished long-snapper, Moore remained on the Bucs' roster for two more seasons as a snapper/third tight end before finally gaining significant playing time in 1995. That season, He played in all 16 games and made eight starts, contributing 13 receptions for 102 yards. He made the same number of starts in 1996 but doubled his output to 27 catches for 237 yards, scoring three times.
Tampa Bay drafted TE Tyji Armstrong in the third round in 1992, signed TE Jackie Harris as a free agent in 1994 and drafted TE Harold Bishop in the third round in 1994. Still, Moore held his ground and became the full-time starter in 1998. In addition to being a sturdy blocker, Moore was extremely durable. After an ankle sprain held him out of one game midway through 1994, he appeared in 119 consecutive games to finish out his first stint as a Buccaneer.
In two seasons in Buffalo, Moore played in 29 games, made 11 starts and caught 23 passes for 223 yards and four scores.
Moore, 34, played four seasons at the University of Pittsburgh, recording 89 receptions for 1,023 yards and five touchdowns. He hails from Morristown, New Jersey.