North Carolina RB Jacque Lewis is one of 20 players invited to the Bucs' mini-camp on tryout contracts
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers will take the field with 50 players to begin their rookie mini-camp on Friday, a neat trick when the team's class of 2005 draftees and college free agents numbers only 21 men.
That was made possible by the signing of 20 players to tryout contracts on Friday, plus the addition of nine first-year men who were already on Tampa Bay's roster before the draft. With these four groups combined, the Buccaneers will have enough players to run fully functional practices, including team drills.
Veteran players may not participate in this weekend's mini-camp. The Bucs are allowed only one mandatory mini-camp for the entire team and will hold it in late June, at the end of the team's 14-week offseason program.
This one is just for the NFL neophytes, including Cadillac Williams and Tampa Bay's 11 other draft picks from last weekend. The rookies and first-year players will work out once a day during the camp, in the afternoon on Friday and Saturday and in the morning on Sunday.
The 20 players on tryout contracts are not part of the permanent roster unless they are subsequently signed by the team. Last year, offensive lineman Mark Moroz of Wake Forest was signed after his rookie camp tryout but was not on the roster when training camp began. Another player at the camp, receiver Terrance Metcalf, was not immediately signed but joined the Buccaneers this past January and is now competing in the NFL Europe League with the Hamburg Sea Devils.
Two of the 20 players on this year's list are former South Carolina State players like Metcalf: cornerback Sam Reynolds and running back Derek Watson. The list also includes a University of South Florida product, defensive end Craig Kobel, and two quarterbacks who are sure to see plenty of work, Valdosta State's Fabian Walker and Florida Atlantic's Jared Allen.
Here is the complete list of players who will participate in this weekend's mini-camp on tryout contracts:
|6||Jared Allen||QB||Florida Atlantic|
|3||Jeff Babcock||P||Colorado State|
|39||Carlos Campbell||CB||Notre Dame|
|78||Kevin Fischer||G||Florida Atlantic|
|85||Rod Flowers||TE||Tennessee State|
|58||Rich Glover||LB||New Mexico State|
|91||Aaris Johnson||DT||Morgan State|
|94||Craig Kobel||DE||South Florida|
|26||Jacque Lewis||RB||North Carolina|
|93||Phil Mettling||DE||Boston College|
|42||Sam Reynolds||CB||South Carolina State|
|71||Chris Shepherd||T||Florida Atlantic|
|12||Fabian Walker||QB||Valdosta State|
|47||Derek Watson||RB||South Carolina State|
The first-year players who were already on the Bucs' roster and will be in attendance are WR Chris Davis, WR DeAndrew Rubin, WR Kevin Youngblood, S Eli Ward, LB Byron Hardmon, LB Josh Buhl, LS Brian Sawyer, LB Jermaine Taylor and C Scott Jackson.
The nine undrafted free agents signed on Tuesday include RB Fred Reid, CB Dominique Morris, CB Kevin Arbet, LB Matt Grootegoed, CB Ukee Dozier, G Doug Buckles, G/C Jonathan Clinkscale, G/T Leon Robinson and DT Lynn McGruder.
Also, the Buccaneers made one roster move on Friday, releasing third-year tight end Billy Baber. Signed last December 15, Baber appeared in the Bucs' season finale at Arizona and caught one pass for seven yards.