LB Jeremiah Trotter has four Pro Bowls and nearly 1,200 tackles to his credit, and is still just 30
Derrick Brooks and Jeremiah Trotter performed side by side in the Pro Bowl just 19 months ago, with Cato June making plays for the other team. Now all three will run together on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' practice field.
Rarely does a team get the opportunity to add a 30-year-old four-time Pro Bowler to their roster five days before the regular-season opener. The Buccaneers did just that on Tuesday, signing Trotter two weeks after he was released by the Philadelphia Eagles in a surprise move.
Trotter's addition to the linebacking corps adds depth to a traditional position of excellence for the Buccaneers. The Bucs already had two Pro Bowl linebackers on the roster in Brooks and newcomer June, but it also lost a third this offseason when Shelton Quarles was released. That move pushed promising third-year player Barrett Ruud into the starting spot at middle linebacker. However, prior to the signing of Trotter, the Bucs had only converted outside linebacker Ryan Nece as a backup to Ruud in the middle.
To make room for Trotter on the 53-man roster, the Buccaneers released wide receiver Taye Biddle, who had been claimed off waivers from the Carolina Panthers on Sunday. The Bucs also made one practice squad move, filling their eighth spot with wide receiver Micheal Spurlock.
Trotter is entering his 10th NFL season. He spent seven of the previous nine campaigns with the Eagles, who drafted him in the third round in 1998. During his first four-year stint in Philadelphia, Trotter racked up 361 tackles, nine interceptions, five sacks and four forced fumbles. He was named to the Pro Bowl in 2000 and 2001, then signed with the Washington Redskins the following year.
After two seasons with Washington, Trotter returned to the Eagles in 2004, initially as a special teams performer. However, he quickly reassumed his role in the middle of the Eagles' defense and was in the Pro Bowl again by the end of that season. Trotter combined 80 tackles on defense in half a season of starting with 13 kick-coverage stops. He then started all 15 games in which he played in 2005 and recorded 169 tackles, one sack and one interception. Those efforts sent him back to the all-star game for a fourth time after the 2005 season.
Last season, Trotter started every game and once again led the Eagles in tackles with 161, earning second-alternate status in the Pro Bowl voting. Among his top games was a 14-tackle effort at Raymond James Stadium on October 22 in a 23-21 Eagles loss to the Buccaneers.
In all, Trotter has appeared in 131 NFL games with 116 starts and amassed 1,184 tackles, 12.5 sacks, nine interceptions, 46 passes defensed and eight forced fumbles.
Spurlock (5-11, 200) entered the league as an undrafted free agent with the Arizona Cardinals in 2006 after playing quarterback and running back at Mississippi. He landed on Arizona's practice squad at the beginning of his rookie season and stayed there until the final week, when he was signed to the active roster. In his NFL debut against San Diego, he tied for the team lead with four receptions for 31 yards. Spurlock, 24, hails from Gentry, Mississippi.