G/C Bryan Anderson (71), the newest addition to a beleaguered offensive line, joined practice Monday afternoon
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers' depleted offensive line has a new hand: second-year guard/center Bryan Anderson.
Anderson arrived at Tampa Bay's training camp in time for the team's Monday afternoon practice, and just before the Bucs were set to pack up and head back to Tampa. Training camp is almost over – the final practice is Wednesday afternoon – but preparations for the 2005 season will continue at One Buccaneer Place and the Bucs will continue to look for new, healthy combinations up front.
The Bucs signed Anderson, a former University of Pittsburgh standout, on Monday and waived tackle Jeff Hatch, who had been signed nine days earlier. Hatch practiced only a few times in camp before succumbing to a lower back strain and missing the last week of action.
Anderson went to camp with the New England Patriots but will finish it in Lake Buena Vista. He was signed by New England on June 28 and released on July 29. He originally entered the NFL as a seventh-round draft pick of the Bears and spent his first two seasons in Chicago.
In 2003, Anderson spent the first 15 weeks on Chicago's practice squad but was signed to the active roster in time for the season finale, only to be named a game day inactive. He started 2004 on the Bears' practice squad as well but was promoted once again and this time saw action in four games.
Anderson is the fourth offensive lineman the team has signed or re-signed since the start of training camp, following Hatch, tackle Sam Lightbody and tackle Todd Steussie. Obviously, those signings have been precipitated by the team's injury woes on the front line, which have, at one time or another, claimed Chris Colmer, Kenyatta Walker, Anthony Davis, Derrick Deese, Ban Buenning, Scott Jackson, Jeb Terry, Matt Stinchcomb and Sean Mahan. On Monday morning, the team was without seven of its linemen for its only practice in pads so far this week.
Most of the injuries, however, have healed or will heal soon, and the Bucs will get by with additions such as Anderson and tireless work from the others.
"That's just the way it goes," said Head Coach Jon Gruden. "Last year we had injuries to other positions. Right now, fortunately, none of these injuries are what we feel are serious. We should be getting these players back sometime soon. We feel good about that, although we've got to fight through it during these dog days right now."