Tampa Bay Buccaneers

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Safety Measures: Bucs Sign Jones

One of the best ball-hawking safeties of the last four seasons, former Eagle Sean Jones is now a Buccaneer after signing with the team as an unrestricted free agent on Tuesday


Only four other safeties in the NFL have had as many interceptions as new Buc Sean Jones over the last four seasons

On Tuesday, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers added a significant amount of competition to their secondary in 2010, signing former Philadelphia Eagles safety Sean Jones.

Jones, who became an unrestricted free agent on March 5, played the 2009 campaign in Philadelphia after spending his first five NFL seasons with the Cleveland Browns. Over the last four years with the Eagles and Browns, he has started 53 games and amassed 16 interceptions, 30 passes defensed, two sacks, and more than 300 tackles.

The 6-1, 228-pound Jones was originally the 59th pick in the 2004 draft, taking in the second round by the Browns. He missed his rookie season due to a preseason knee injury but returned to action in 2005, primarily on special teams. In 2006, he earned a starting role, opened all 16 games for the Browns and led all NFL strong safeties with five interceptions on the season. He also set career highs in '06 in both tackles (111) and passes defensed (11).

Jones remained a starter in 2007 and once again opened every game and paced NFL strong safeties with five interceptions. He missed four games due to injury in 2008 but still started 12 and added another 56 tackles and four interceptions.

During the 2009 offseason, Jones signed a one-year deal with the Eagles as an unrestricted free agent. He started nine games and contributed 61 tackles, two interceptions and a sack. Against the Chicago Bears in Week 11, he intercepted Jay Cutler on the game's final drive to seal the Eagles' 24-20 victory.

The Buccaneers started four different players at the two safety spots in 2009: Tanard Jackson, Sabby Piscitelli, Jermaine Phillips and Will Allen. Phillips was lost after two games, however, due to a thumb injury and is now an unrestricted free agent. Allen started two games and was the Bucs' special teams captain but has now departed for the Pittsburgh Steelers as an unrestricted free agent. Jackson has started all 44 games in which he has played at free safety since he was drafted in the fourth round in 2007, while Piscitelli's 15 starts last year were a new career high.

The Buccaneers have added three players since the start of free agency 11 days ago, including two former Eagles. Wide receiver Reggie Brown, Jones' teammate last year, came over through a trade on March 8, and former Oakland Raiders linebacker Jon Alston was signed as a free agent on March 12.

Since the start of the 2006 season, Jones is tied for fourth among all NFL safeties with his 16 interceptions. That total matches the one posted by Green bay's Nick Collins and trails only Darren Sharper (18), Oshiomogho Atogwe (18) and Ed Reed (24). Jones, Reed, Asante Samuel and Charles Woodson were also the only four players in the NFL to tally at least four interceptions every year from 2006-08.

Jones also owns a reputation as a hard-hitter and a strong run-support safety. In addition, he led the Eagles in special teams tackles last year with 20 despite holding down a starting role for a majority of the season.

At Georgia, Jones played free safety, strong safety and rover and appeared in 37 games with 24 starts. He finished his collegiate career with 250 tackles, seven interceptions, one sack and a school-record four blocked kicks. The 28-year-old Jones hails from Atlanta.

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