Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Zeier Traded to Atlanta

The Bucs ease their sudden glut at quarterback by shipping Eric Zeier to the Falcons

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QB Eric Zeier - whose chance to start in 1999 was interrupted by injury - arrived in and left Tampa via trade

On Friday, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers claimed former first-round QB Ryan Leaf off waivers from the Chargers in what was considered a rather newsworthy event. On Monday, they one-upped themselves with the signing of Pro Bowl free agent signal-caller Brad Johnson.

So, by Tuesday, it was no surprise when the Bucs dealt seventh-year quarterback Eric Zeier to the Atlanta Falcons for a seventh-round pick in the 2001 draft, which will be held in late April.

The trade ends Zeier's two-year run with the Buccaneers, a stint that could only be graded as 'incomplete', through no real fault of Zeier's. In those two seasons, the former Georgia star appeared in just five games and threw only 58 passes.

This is Zeier's second trade in the last three seasons, as Tampa Bay originally acquired him from Baltimore in 1999 in exchange for a sixth-round pick. In his first season as a Buc, Zeier appeared in just one of the first six games, making a fourth-quarter cameo in the season-opening loss to the New York Giants. However, he was named the team's starter before the seventh game, replacing a struggling Trent Dilfer in a move that Head Coach Tony Dungy announced would be in effect for the remainder of the season.

Unfortunately for Zeier, injury kept him from getting a firm grip on the job. In the process of completing 29 off 44 passes for 256 yards at Detroit in his first start, he suffered a ribcage injury that would keep him on the sideline for the next six weeks. Dilfer came back and took control of the job again with a hot streak, but was lost for the season with a shoulder injury late in November. Zeier was yet to recover, so the job then fell to rookie Shaun King, who was brilliant down the stretch and into the playoffs.

King was thus anointed the starter for 2000, and though he experienced the typical ups and downs of a young hurler in the NFL, he had Dungy's full backing as the Bucs again qualified for the playoffs with a 10-6 record. Zeier threw just three passes in 2000.

Zeier will look for a more significant opportunity with the Falcons. In six seasons, he has played in 26 games, started 12 and completed 301 of 537 passes for 3,520 yards, 16 touchdowns and 15 interceptions.

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