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Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Safety Switch

The Bucs continued to tinker at the safety position on Monday, bringing back familiar face Eric Vance


S Eric Vance played parts of both 1998 and 1999 with the Buccaneers

As final as the 53-man roster cuts seem in the NFL, they are usually not the final stage in team development. Even after a team has shaped its roster to what it feels is satisfactory, the waiver wire can produce some interesting prospects.

That was the case for the Buccaneers on Monday, as a familiar name showed up on the waiver wire. S Eric Vance, who previously played with the Buccaneers in 1998 and '99, was let go Sunday by the San Diego Chargers, and he's now back in the Bay area.

Actually, Vance was allowed to clear waivers by the Buccaneers, a process that was concluded at 4:00 p.m. today. Once he 'made it through waivers' – that is, he wasn't claimed by any of the other 30 NFL teams and thus became a free agent – the Bucs signed him to a two-year contract. He will join the team in time for Wednesday's practice.

To sign Vance, the team released S Lemar Marshall, who himself had come to Tampa as a waiver claim last Wednesday. Marshall was released by Philadelphia on Tuesday in the cutdown to 65 players, awarded to the Bucs as a waiver claim on Wednesday and in uniform for the team by Friday for the preseason finale. Marshall had five tackles in a backup role against the Chiefs.

Vance played in six of the Bucs' eight games last year before suffering a right foot sprain at New Orleans on November 7 and landing on injured reserve. He was waived by the team on December 7 and signed in February by the Chargers, for whom he had spent part of the 1997 on the practice squad. He had two special teams tackles for the Bucs last year.

Vance also played in three games for the Bucs in 1998, starting against Tennessee on November 8 in place of the injured John Lynch. Vance recorded eight tackles in that contest.

The Buccaneers were eager to bring Vance back considering his experience in the team's defensive system. Starting free safety Damien Robinson is just returning from a month-long absence to a hamstring injury, and Robinson's backup, Dexter Jackson, is likely to miss the first two games of the season with an ankle sprain.

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