As the Tampa Bay Buccaneers prepare to start their round of 14 organized team activity days next week, only a few loose ends on the roster remain to be tied.
One was taken care of on Tuesday when starting right tackle Jeremy Trueblood re-signed with the team, accepting the one-year tender offer that was extended to him in March.
Trueblood was one of six returning Buccaneers who became a restricted free agent at the beginning of the NFL's free agency period this spring. As an RFA, Trueblood was free to negotiate with other teams; however, by extending the necessary one-year tender, the Bucs retained a right-of-first-refusal on any deal that was signed and were in line for draft-pick compensation if the player moved to another team.
The period for restricted free agents to negotiate with other teams ended one week prior to the 2010 NFL draft in April. After that date, RFAs could deal only with their original teams. The vast majority of such free agents around the league, including Trueblood's Buccaneer teammates Mark Bradley, Barrett Ruud and Maurice Stovall, re-signed by agreeing to their tender offers.
Trueblood's return means the Buccaneers will head into the 2010 season with one of their longest-running starters intact. A second-round pick in the 2006 draft, Trueblood has appeared in 63 of a possible 64 games since his arrival and has started all but three of those contests. In fact, Trueblood's streak of 61 starts is second on the team only to Ronde Barber's run of 167.
The 6-8, 320-pound Trueblood has emerged as a leader on a young offense and along with fellow 2006 draftee guard Davin Joseph has formed a solid right side to the Bucs' front line. Though the team struggled as a whole in 2009, the Buccaneers' 2008 offense racked up 5,456 total yards, the highest single-season total in franchise history. Trueblood also helped Tampa Bay rack up 361 points in '08, the second-highest mark in team annals.
Trueblood and the Bucs' offense showed promise at the end of that 2009 campaign, as well. The team ran for a total of 310 yards in back-to-back December road wins over the Seattle Seahawks and the New Orleans Saints, the latter of which went on to win the Super Bowl.
Trueblood, who turned 27 the day before signing his tender offer, played his college ball at Boston College, where he won second-team all-conference honors. He hails from Indianapolis.